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Court Documents Claim Rifqa Bary Refusing Chemo after Faith-Healing Event

From the Columbus Dispatch:

Christian convert Rifqa Bary is refusing chemotherapy for cancer because she believes that she was cured at a faith-healing event, according to a motion in Franklin County Juvenile Court.

Rifqa was to undergo a year of chemotherapy after her cancer was surgically removed, the document filed by her parents states. But Rifqa, who is in foster care, was taken to a faith-healing event in Youngstown a couple of weeks ago by Franklin County Children Services, without her parents’ consent, according to the document.

…It’s unclear whether she is cancer-free at the moment. The Barys’ attorney, Omar Tarazi, said in a motion that Rifqa will need a hysterectomy if the cancer returns.

The Barys want to force chemotherapy and are concerned that their daughter could die without treatment, Tarazi wrote.

Bary’s illness was announced when she was hospitalized in May; her Muslim parents’ concern was vilified by the likes of Pamela Geller as an attempt to sabotage her treatment. As I noted at the time, the neo-Pentecostal pastors around Bary have been telling her that she has a special prophetic role to play in the world, and that God has given her supernatural powers of healing. According to Charisma:

[Jamal] Jivanjee said Bary believes God has a plan for her and that she will be healed. “But she felt like she needed people to be aware and praying for her,” he told Charisma

Jivanjee announced Bary’s illness on Facebook, although from a comment left on this blog it seems that another pastor close to Bary, Brian Williams, disagreed with his decision to do so. However, Williams also followed Jivanjee’s posting with the claim that Bary had been healed. Various posters have left messages for Jivanjee on Facebook asking for an update on her health – Jivanjee has not responded to those requests, although in May he told Geller that “Chemotherapy treatments are expected in the near future”.

Bary’s lawyers are seeking to normalise her immigration status as she approaches her eighteenth birthday next week. Continued access to medical services has been given as one reason why this is urgent.

UPDATE: The AP has an update. The judge has declined to enforce medical treatment without consent; also:

A letter from Bary’s doctor recommending the 45 weeks of chemotherapy indicates she is cancer free for now according to available imaging technology, Bary’s attorney, Kort Gatterdam, told the judge.

…Rifqa Bary stopped the treatment after becoming sick and in consultation with her doctor, Gatterdam said. He disputed the faith healer allegation, saying Bary had attended a prayer conference after which she continued with surgeries and other treatment.

“Rifqa’s not saying she’ll never do the treatment again, that she’ll never do chemo,” Gatterdam said. “She’ll continue working with her doctor.”

One Response

  1. The Court ruled that Rifqa does not have to undergo chemo. I can only imagine the pain of her family.

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