Center for Security Policy | Sep 16, 2009
By John D. Guandolo
[Note: John D. Guandolo is a 12 ½ year veteran of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. At the request of the Center for Security Policy, he prepared an assessment of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement’s (FDLE) investigation of the Ohio-based parents of former Muslim Rifqa Bary, the 17-year old apostate from Islam who has sought refuge in the state of Florida. The FDLE report is provided here, and is available as searchable text for the first time, below his analysis. The significant errors and omissions that Mr. Guandolo and other experts have found in this FDLE investigation show a failure in FDLE’s professional responsibility in handling the Rifqa Bary case. Governor Crist and FDLE management need to get new investigators on the job, start over, and this time do it right. A life may be at stake due to FDLE negligence– and willful blindness– in conducting this investigation.]
John D. Guandolo:
Response to FDLE Investigative Report on Rifqa Bary Matter
Upon my review of the report filed by the FDLE regarding the Rifqa Bary Matter in Florida, I offer my professional opinion.
1. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) Investigative Summary OR-73-1741 encapsulates the investigation into allegations made by Fathima Rifqa Bary (hereafter referred to as “Rifqa Bary”) that she is or may be in physical danger from her father, Mohamed Bary, or others. Point 4 on page 2 of the report states Rifqa Bary believes her life to be in danger from an “honor killing” by her family or others, which she states is in accordance with Islamic Law. The report finds: “Ms. Bary’s concern that she may be killed because of her conversion from Islam to Christianity remains a subjective and speculative concern…” and concludes there is no conspiracy to commit violence against her. The investigators in this matter offer this opinion void of any knowable facts.
In fact, a due diligence review would reveal the existence of authoritative Islamic Law texts officially translated into English. This review would further reveal Islamic Law – which is real law – has requirements and rules as to how to deal with those who leave Islam [eg The Classic Manual of Islamic Sacred Law, “Umdat al-Salik” also known as “Reliance of the Traveller” – publicly available]. If it can be shown (1) there is a requirement in Islamic Law for killing Ms. Bary as a publicly declared apostate from Islam, (2) that her parents adhere to Islamic Law, and (3) that she did, in fact, leave Islam and convert to Christianity, then the FDLE has a professional responsibility to include these facts in this report, and investigate this matter fully. There is nothing subjective about this – these are all ascertainable facts. I would hope the Florida State’s Attorney’s Office has done their due diligence on this matter and is aware of this
2. Mr. Bary’s comments to the Investigators claiming there is “absolutely not” any concept of Honor Killings under Islamic Law can also be comparatively and factually reviewed against Islamic Law. There are, in fact, rules and requirements as to how apostates should be handled within the context of Islamic Law, and these facts must be reviewed by FDLE if a professional and factual report is to be completed.
3. It was noted that the Executive Director of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) -Columbus (Ohio) and the Staff Attorney for CAIR were present during the interview of Mr. Bary by FDLE Investigators. Absent from the FDLE report was any mention that CAIR is a known Muslim Brotherhood entity and an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation (HLF) trial – the largest terrorism financing trial in U.S. history – revealing HLF as a Hamas/Muslim Brotherhood front in the United States. All defendants in this case were found guilty in November 2008 and are serving long prison terms. These facts about CAIR were testified to at trial, and accepted as legally true. They are irrefutable – the documents demonstrating these facts were stipulated to by the defense. The Muslim Brotherhood’s (MB) creed is “Allah is our goal; the Messenger is our guide: the Koran is our constitution; Jihad is our means; and martyrdom in the way of Allah is our inspiration,” and their stated objective in America is a “Civilization-Jihad” to destroy the United States from within, and the MB exists to implement Islamic Law here in the United States.
All of these facts are relevant for two critical reasons. First, these material facts should be made known to the State Attorney’s Office and any Judges involved in this case as a matter of course. Secondly, when representatives from an organization that is objectively known to be hostile towards to the United States and unindicted co-conspirator in the largest terrorism financing trial in U.S. history, are allowed to be present during a law enforcement interview of someone, it raises questions as to why they were allowed to be present at the interview at all.
These facts further demand an objective look to determine if the Muslim Brotherhood itself has a position on Islamic Law and Apostasy. One of the MB’s two stated objectives is to implement Islamic Law in North America (and across the globe), and it is known they call for adherence to Islamic Law wherever Muslim communities exist. The Classic Manual of Islamic Sacred Law: Reliance of the Traveller is approved as valid Islamic Law by the International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT), a known Muslim Brotherhood entity, as proven in the HLF trial.
In Reliance of the Traveller, Investigators will find specific legal doctrine on how apostates are to be treated under Islamic Law. Furthermore, the Muslim Brotherhood has a history of officially addressing the issue of Apostasy. In 1984, Ismail R. Al-Faruki , the Founder of IIIT, stated: “That is why Islamic Law has treated people who have converted out of Islam as political traitors…[Islam] must deal with the traitors when convicted after due process of law either with banishment, life imprisonment, or capital punishment…but once their conversion is proclaimed, they must be dealt with as traitors to the state.”
Apostasy is also specifically addressed in Peace and the Limits of War, published by IIIT and written by Louay Safi, the former Executive Director of IIIT, Malaysia, the Association of Muslim Social Scientists (a proven Muslim Brotherhood entity), and the Executive Director of the Islamic Society of North America’s (ISNA) Leadership Development Council. ISNA was proven to be a Muslim Brotherhood entity and is also an unindicted co-conspirator in the largest terrorism financing trial in U.S. history – HLF. The book is also approved by the Secretary General of ISNA. In it, Mr. Safi notes that individual apostates cannot be killed for a “quiet desertion of personal Islamic duties,” but can be put to death as “just punishment” when the apostate deserts Islam publicly (p. 31).
4. This is a statement of facts regarding this matter:
- There are requirements in Islamic Law regarding someone who deserts Islam
- The Muslim Brotherhood’s objective is the implementation of Islamic Law in the United States
- Rifqa Bary has left Islam and become a Christian
- Rifqa Bary has made statements to FDLE officials and others that her parents have threatened to kill her because she has left Islam
- The Bary’s appear to be adherent to Islamic Law
- The Bary’s appear at an interview with two Muslim Brotherhood representatives doing business as CAIR, a group known to be hostile towards the United States which is also an unindicted co-conspirator in the largest terrorism financing trial in U.S. history
- The Muslim Brotherhood supports the killing of Muslims who publicly leave Islam
5. It is my professional opinion that sufficient Probable Cause exists to believe that Ms Bary’s concerns for her personal safety are based in a realistic and factual understanding of her situation, and, therefore, a further criminal investigation is warranted.
John D. Guandolo is a 12 ½ year veteran of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Florida_Department of Law Enforcement
Pursuant to a request for investigative assistance, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement conducted an investigation into allegations by juvenile female Fathima Rifqa Bary that she is or may be in physical danger from her father, Mohamed Bary or others. FDLE’s authority regarding criminal investigations is dictated by Florida Statute 943, as follows:
943.04 Criminal Justice Investigations and Forensic Science Program; creation; investigative, forensic, and related authority.-
2)(a) … the department may investigate violations of any of the criminal laws of the state, and shall have authority to bear arms, make arrests and apply for, serve and execute search warrants, arrest warrants, capias, and other process of the court. FDLE has conducted numerous interviews and inquiries as part of this investigation, and is documenting the substance of those interviews as part of the FDLE case file. This document will serve as an Investigative Summary regarding FDLE’s findings in this matter.
On August 24, 2009, FDLE conducted an interview of Fathima Rifqa Bary. At that time, she made the following allegations:
1. Ms. Bary alleged she was the victim of an Assault by her father during an incident when her father threatened to strike her with a laptop computer in June 2009.
The investigative efforts by FDLE did not identify an assault having occurred against Ms. Bary in the state of Florida. Investigation of this allegation indicated it occurred in the state of Ohio, for which FDLE has no jurisdiction. Checks with Ohio law enforcement agencies revealed no derogatory information on Mr. Bary based on this allegation.
2. Ms. Bary alleged she was the victim of an Aggravated Assault by her father during the above mentioned incident when she alleges her father said “I will kill you, tell me the truth”.
The investigative efforts by FDLE did not identify an aggravated assault occurring against Ms. Bary in the state of Florida. Investigation of this allegation indicated it occurred in the state of Ohio, for which FDLE has no jurisdiction. Checks with
Ohio law enforcement agencies revealed no derogatory information on Mr. Bary based on this allegation.
3. Ms. Bary alleged she was the victim of long term child abuse by her father. Ms. Bary alleged her father struck her regularly and provided the following examples in support of her allegation: Ms. Bary advised she was struck in the face in the family car and she was struck in the face for interrupting a conversation.
The investigative efforts by FDLE did not identify any evidence of child abuse having occurred against Ms. Bary in the state of Florida. Investigation of this allegation indicated the incidents occurred outside the state of Florida, for which FDLE has no jurisdiction. Checks with other law enforcement agencies revealed no derogatory information on Mr. Bary based on this allegation.
Should Ohio determine an investigation into the above allegations in their jurisdiction is warranted, FDLE stands ready to assist the state of Ohio in any way possible.
4. Ms. Bary alleged she will become the victim of an “honor killing” by her family or unknown persons due to her conversion from Islam to Christianity.
This allegation by Ms. Bary is based on her belief or understanding of the Islamic faith and/or Islamic law and custom. Ms. Bary stated that she believes Islamic law dictates she must be put to death for her abandonment of the Islamic faith which she refers to as apostasy. Ms. Bary has not articulated who would commit such a killing, other than her father (as listed above in allegation two), or where it would occur. Other than her father, she does not identify any specific individual who have verbally or physically threatened her with death. No credible reports of threats toward Ms Bary have been received in the states of Florida or Ohio.
The Islamic community was not investigated. An investigation into any person, religious or social organization without a specific identifiable criminal predicate is inappropriate. Investigators checked with the local, state and federal law enforcement communities in the Columbus, Ohio and Orlando, Florida areas and have not been made aware of any identifiable threat to Ms. Bary or the Bary family regarding this allegation. At the time of this report, FDLE has received no information from law enforcement agencies of threats toward Ms. Bary or the Bary family, nor has FDLE developed any derogatory information on the Bary family. The FDLE cannot further evaluate the potential for a threat to Ms. Bary given the lack of specific information. FDLE has not been able to establish that a crime has occurred in the states of Florida or Ohio, or will occur in the states of Florida or Ohio in relation to the allegations by Ms. Bary. FDLE is mindful of the rights of all individuals associated with this investigation and has remained focused on specific allegations of criminal activity as presented by Ms. Bary. Ms. Bary’s concern that she may be killed because of her conversion from Islam to Christianity remains a subjective and speculative concern in that FDLE’s inquiry to date has failed to reveal any evidence ofa conspiracy to commit, solicitation to commit, attempt or other efforts to commit any such action or other violence against her.
The following is a summation of the investigative activities conducted by FDLE:
On Monday, August 24, 2009, Special Agents of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) and a Child Protective Investigator of the State of Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) conducted a sworn taped interview with Fathima Rifqa Bary, a juvenile. During the interview, Ms. Bary admitted to having run away from her home in Westerville, Ohio on July 20, 2009 and to having travelled by Greyhound bus to Orlando, Florida. Ms. Bary stated that she ran away from home due to her fear that her recent conversion from the Islamic faith to Christianity would result in violence or death.
Ms. Bary stated that in approximately June 2009 she learned that a friend of her father had notified her father of Ms. Bary’s Facebook page which had information about her religious conversion. She stated her father confronted her in her bedroom, grabbed the laptop computer from her and threatened her with it during a conversation about the issue. During the exchange of words, Ms. Bary alleged her father lifted the laptop computer and reared it back as if to strike her with it, saying “I will kill you, tell me the truth”. Ms. Bary stated she thought her father would strike her with the computer, but he did not.
In an interview with FDLE on August 27, 2009, Mr. Bary denied having threatened his daughter. He stated that in June, when he confronted his daughter in her bedroom regarding Christianity, he grabbed the laptop computer she was working on. He stated that he lifted it to throw the computer and decided not to, that he had invested too much money in it to break it.
In an interview on August 28, 2009, Mr. Brian Williams, an associate ofMs. Bary’s, told FDLE that he told Columbus police (CPD report #090609442) that Ms. Bary had told him about her father threatening her with the laptop computer and about her mother finding Christian materials in her room in July 2009. Williams told CPD that he knew Ms. Bary would reach a runaway point.
During continuation of the interview with Ms. Bary, she stated throughout her childhood and into adolescence she was the victim of physical abuse by her father. She stated that on one occasion during her childhood, her father struck her in the face when she was in the family car en route to Mosque. She stated that she was wearing the traditional Islamic Hijab, a headscarf worn by Muslim women, and that she slumped down in the car in order to not be seen by others. Ms. Bary stated that her father struck her in the face apparently for showing embarrassment of her Islamic religion and customs. She also stated that her father struck her in the face when she was a young child for having interrupted a conversation between her parents. Ms. Bary said the last time she was a victim of abuse was when she was in middle school.
On August 27,2009, Mr. Bary was interviewed by FDLE. When asked about corporal or other punishment Mr. Bary stated that his daughter seldom was punished and when necessary, a scolding or denial of privileges was the norm. He denied ever striking her.
On August 27, 2009, FDLE agents interviewed Mrs. Bary regarding corporal punishment of her daughter. Mrs. Bary advised that usually a stern scolding was all that was required to correct her daughter.
On August 27, 2009, Rilvan Bary, Ms. Bary’s older brother, was interviewed by FDLE.
Rilvan Bary stated he knew of no corporal punishment toward Ms. Bary, and of no incidents ofphysical abuse by their parents.
On August 27, 2009, FDLE checked with New Albany Middle School, New Albany, Ohio, for records of abuse as outlined by Ms. Bary. Mr. Jeff Warner, Director of Communications for the Plain Local School District in New Albany, stated that the district had already conducted searches of their records due to public and press interest in the case, and had found no evidence of any reporting of abuse or suspected abuse. He stated that Ohio is a mandatory abuse reporting state, so any suspected abuse had to be reported by law.
In another incident, Ms. Bary stated that a high school teacher, Ms. Debbie Crump, had offered to house her in the event that she (Ms. Bary) needed to escape repercussions from her family due to her Christian religious beliefs.
On August 31, 2009, FDLE spoke with high school teacher Ms. Debbie Crump by telephone. Ms. Crump stated that she was not aware of any danger toward Ms. Bary regarding her conversion to Christianity. She said that she made an offer to Ms. Bary to stay at her residence because Rilvan Bary was having parties at the Bary residence when the parents were out of town. Alcohol was allegedly being consumed by Rilvan’s guests and Ms. Crump was concerned for Ms. Bary’s safety in that environment.
In continuation of her interview, Ms. Bary stated that she was in fear of being killed for her “apostasy” or conversion from the Islamic faith to Christianity, which she characterized as a violation punishable by death in Islam. She referred to the act as an “honor killing.” She did not articulate who would carry out the killing, but suggested that her father, male blood relative or unknown individuals in the Islamic community would be required to commit the killing.
On August 27, 2009, Mr. Bary was asked if there was any Islamic punishment for conversion from Islam to Christianity. Mr. Bary answered “absolutely not” and “there is no such thing as honor killing.” An attorney present at the time, Mr. Romin Iqbal, characterized the concept as cultural and tribal, not related directly to the Islamic religious practice.
Ms. Bary discussed her upbringing and stated that she had been a cheerleader at New Albany High School. When asked if her father approved of her cheerleading she stated that her father had no real idea what the concept or activities involved in cheerleading were, and allowed it. She stated that she always wore sweatpants or other coverings to hide the short skirt of the cheerleading outfit from him. She stated her father had never been to an event in which she performed as a cheerleader. Furthermore, she stated the family had no photos of her cheering or team photos as would appear in a yearbook.
On August 27, 2009, Mr. Bary stated to FDLE that he knew about his daughter’s cheerleading activities. He said that she had asked her mother for permission to cheer and was denied. Ms. Bary then asked Mr. Bary for his approval and he subsequently allowed her participation.. Mr. Bary stated that he drove her to cheerleading practice occasionally during the week He said he had never seen her perform due to his work commitments.
On August 27, 2009, Rilvan Bary told FDLE that his parents seemed to be supportive of his sister’s cheerleading activities.
When FDLE and other investigators visited the Bary household on August 27, 2009, several photos of Ms. Bary dressed in her cheerleading uniform were prominently displayed in the family living room.
Ms. Bary stated she had made her conversion to Christianity over a period of years, but in June 2009 was baptized in Ohio by Brian Williams, a 21 year old associate. She stated that several of her associates at the House of Prayer in Columbus knew of her concerns and fears of being killed for her apostasy to Islam.
On August 27, 2009, FDLE interviewed three people at the House of Prayer in Columbus Ohio. All knew of Ms. Bary and were familiar with her Facebook page which listed her concerns over leaving the Islamic faith. The interviewees stated they did not know Ms. Bary well and did not discuss her situation directly with her.
Ms. Bary was asked how she came to Orlando. She stated that she had hitchhiked from a neighbor’s house to the Columbus, Ohio Greyhound bus station on July 20, 2009. She stated she had arranged for a ticket through Christian associates she had met on the Facebook social networking page. She stated she traveled to Orlando, was met by the Law family and eventually taken in by the Lorenz family.
On August 28, 2009, Mr. Williams confirmed that he had picked Ms. Bary up at the Hopson’s residence on July 20, 2009 and drove her to the Columbus Greyhound station for her trip to Florida. He further stated that she had preplanned locations around the country, including a location in Georgia, Jacksonville, Florida and Orlando, Florida, with Orlando being her primary planned sanctuary. Mr. Williams referred to the preplanning locations as Ms. Bary’s “fire drills “.
On August 31,2009, DCF investigators told FDLE that when they first spoke to Ms. Bary about travelling to Florida, she told them she had used money saved from her job to purchase the ticket. FDLE’s investigation has revealed that the ticket was purchased in Orlando under a fictitious name and provided to Ms. Bary. During her interview, Ms. Bary acknowledged that it was her signature on the ticket. FDLE has maintained a copy of this ticket for this case file.
On August 27, 2009, FDLE and DCF conducted an investigation in the greater Columbus, Ohio area in an attempt to verify Ms. Bary’s allegations of criminal activity.
FDLE/DCF Investigators were accompanied to the Bary residence by Sgt. John Hurst of the Columbus P.D. Child Abuse Squad. The residence is located in an apartment complex.
Mr. Babak Darvish, Executive Director of the Council for American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), Columbus and Mr. Romin Iqbal, Staff Attorney for CAIR OHIO were present.
Investigators interviewed Mr. Bary in a voluntary noncustodial setting. Mr. Bary was cooperative and asked to be able to tell his side of the story. Mr. Bary volunteered that he learned of his daughter’s conversion to Christianity in early 2009. He stated that because she is still under age and living in his home he believed she should continue to study and practice Islam. However if she were to return from Florida, Ms. Bary would be allowed to study Christianity. Mr. Bary further stated that at the time she becomes an adult, she would be free to worship as she pleased. Mr. Bary denied having threatened his daughter. He stated that in June when he confronted his daughter in her bedroom regarding Christianity, he grabbed the laptop computer she was working on. He stated that he lifted it to throw the computer and decided not to as he had invested too much money in it to break it.
When asked about corporal or other punishment, Mr. Bary stated that his daughter seldom was punished and when necessary, a scolding or denial of privileges was the norm. He denied ever striking her.
Mr. and Mrs. Bary said that several years before, when Ms. Bary was in middle school, she wanted to babysit and created posters for advertisement. He stated that his daughter listed herself as a Christian and that Mr. and Mrs. Bary questioned her about the reference. He stated she never really answered the reference.
Mr. Bary stated that he knew about his daughter’s cheerleading. He said that she had asked her mother for permission to cheer and was denied. Mr. Bary advised he ultimately gave her permission to participate. Mr. Bary stated that he drove Ms. Bary to cheerleading practice occasionally during the week. He advised he had never seen her perform due to his work commitments.
Mr. Bary stated that about a year ago, his son Rilvan told him that Ms. Bary was carrying a bible to school and that she was speaking with students about Christianity. Mr. Bary stated that he told Ms. Bary not to discuss religion in school as it was against the rules.
On August 27, 2009, FDLE agents interviewed Mrs. Bary in furtherance of this investigation. Mrs. Bary stated that her daughter had changed significantly in recent months, paying less attention to her younger brother and the family in favor of other activities including late night computer use and telephone calls on her cell phone. Mrs. Bary denied any knowledge of physical abuse of her daughter. Mrs. Bary stated that it was her husband’s belief that their daughter should study and learn Islam first, but could study other religions also.
On August 27,2009, Rilvan Bary, Ms. Bary’s older brother was interviewed by FDLE.
Rilvan Bary stated he knew of no corporal punishment toward Ms. Bary and of no incidents of physical abuse. He stated that his own situation within the residence was that he was a part-time resident who had gotten an apartment with friends but spent a lot of time at home. He knew of his sister’s religious conversion through his friends at school.
He was asked by Ms. Bary to keep it quiet from her parents. He stated he noticed a change in her behavior and said that she had changed her group of friends to a much older group. Rilvan Bary stated that his circle of friends was predominantly American
Christians and that he had suffered no ill treatment for his associations. He admitted to being less than devout with his Muslim religious studies. Rilvan Bary stated his father did not force him to practice it although his father does pray five times daily. Rilvan Bary stated that his parents seemed to be supportive of his sister’s cheerleading activities.
On August 28, 2009, Brian Williams contacted FDLE via telephone. Williams advised that he knew Ms. Bary and that he had baptized her in June 2009. Williams stated he had previously advised Columbus police (CPD report #090609442) that Ms. Bary had told him about her father threatening her with the laptop computer and about her mother finding the Christian materials in July 2009. Williams stated he told CPD that he knew Ms. Bary would reach a runaway point.
FDLE’s investigation has not developed any information which supports an allegation of criminal activity in the state of Florida. Furthermore, our investigation has provided no clear evidence of criminal activity in other states which may be supportive of the above allegations. FDLE is prepared to assist the state of Ohio or any other entity in furtherance of investigative matters which may pertain to their areas of jurisdiction.