As Rifqa Bary Turns 18, Her Parents Speak Out

Today is Rifqa Bary’s eighteenth birthday, which means that she is officially an adult and that her long legal saga has finally come to an end.

It also means that the gag order binding all parties has been lifted and while Rifqa so far hasn’t made a statement and little is known about her plans for the future other than that she “looks forward to preaching the word to all the nations,” her parents are speaking out, revealing that Rifqa sent them letters, videos, and cards and also blasting Florida Gov. Charlie Crist and the Religious Right activists who turned this family’s saga into a political and religious circus: 

Her father and mother today disclosed that their daughter two weeks ago sent them a video, along with candy and music, saying she loved them.

She also has sent them letters. In one, she thanked them for helping her be a successful student. She graduated recently from a Columbus-area high school, her father said, and was valedictorian.

“‘I’m here because of you guys,’ ” her father said she wrote them.

In the statement, her parents also lambasted Florida Gov. Charlie Crist, saying he turned what should have been a routine case into a circus.

“It was his statements and abuse of his office by putting improper influence on the Florida courts that turned our case from a private family law issue into a media circus. He is responsible for setting the stage for months of wasted time and taxpayer money in Florida and Ohio and all because he wanted to shore up his extreme right-wing base of support for his U.S. Senate run. Gov. Crist should be ashamed of himself for all the harm he has caused our family.”

They said their daughter has been a pawn by people focused on “xenophobia and religious bigotry.”

So while this part of Rifqa’s saga has come to an end, it is probably safe to assume that her professional career as a Religious Right hero is just getting underway.