Traditional Islam is so cool because it really sticks with the old ways, and that’s quaint. But it should be allowed to do this only in a museum where it might be safely kept away from actual people.

Fathima Rifqa Bary is the 17-year-old girl who converted from Islam to Christianity. She packed up her things and ran away to Florida because she feared an honor killing — her own family members killing her because of what she had done.

Her parents say they just want her back safely, but reports say that her mother said Fathima was “dead to her”. The girl also said her father threatened to kill her after learning she had been baptized

Technically, I think she’d be OK if she just “converted” to atheism, but I’m not sure.

The Friendly Atheist has this story covered.


  1. #1 Ian
    August 24, 2009

    So she abandoned her old god, but has so little faith in her new god’s ability to protect her from those who would unilaterally act in the stead of her old god that she ran away? OK. Got it.

  2. #2 Betsy
    August 24, 2009

    Not from what I understand. Apostates are apostates. It being Christianity just makes it that much worse.

  3. #3 Ian
    August 24, 2009

    Don’t be too quick to take radical Christian pastors at face value. Richard Bartholomew points out some holes in the story.

  4. #4 Pierce R. Butler
    August 24, 2009

    This looks more like a case of a rebellious teenager being exploited by a predatory preacher who hooked up with her online – follow the link provided by Ian @ # 3, and read the comments as well.

  5. #5 Monado, FCD
    August 24, 2009

    No, no, no, you’re supposed to kill apostates for all other choices, including “none of the above.” Just as the old testament telly you you’re supposed to kill uppity children–right next to where you’re supposed to punish gay men, but some time after you’re supposed to stone adulterers such as many still extant priests and politicians. These people are just more fundamental than your fundamentalists.

  6. #6 Anne Gilbert
    August 24, 2009

    I read about this story in the local newspaper on Friday(I think). Apparently the parents did not say they would kill her, though I’m sure they might have felt like it, as many parents of teenagers do. The whole thing sounds like a lot less than it’s being made out to be.
    Anne G

  7. #7 travc
    August 24, 2009

    Do all ‘special revelation’ religions eventually devolve into viewing the laws of the book as being applicable at all times?

    Plenty of Muslims viewed the strictures and laws as being situation specific… yeah, ‘from God’, but ‘from God to the prophet to help lead his people at a certain time and place through certain difficulties’. I’m not talking about some modern interp either… it appears that the ‘liberal’ interp was the norm from the start until quite recently. The fact that the Koran is quite complicated and often vague probably helped Islam avoid falling into literalism and fundamentalism longer than most religions. (There is a bit about the vagueness being intentional and open to interpretation actually in the Koran.)

    Anyway, in this respect, Islam was better that Judaism and Christianity (which is basically just an atomic reform of Judaism).

  8. #8 MadScientist
    August 25, 2009

    Betsy’s got it right. Apostasy is still rewarded with a stoning; the crime is not in choosing another religion (after all mohammedanism is one of 3 major abrahamic religions) but in leaving mohammed. Christians supposedly worship the same god – so they didn’t really abandon their god, they abandoned their god’s dog mohammed.