Lawyer who represented Rifqa Bary’s parents sues Pamela Geller

A former lawyer for the Muslim parents of a girl who ran away from home after converting to Christianity says in a $10 million federal lawsuit that a blogger and a former attorney for the girl defamed him by alleging he has contacts with terrorists and criminals.

Attorney Omar Tarazi is seeking $10 million in a lawsuit filed Friday in U.S. District Court in Columbus to compensate him for damage he alleges was done to his reputation.

Tarazi represented the parents of Rifqa Bary, a Christian teenager who fled to Florida, saying she feared harm from her Muslim mother and father. Bary was returned to Ohio last year and placed in foster care while a juvenile court judge tried unsuccessfully to reunite Bary and her parents.

Bary left the custody of Franklin County children services when she turned 18 last month. Police investigations in Ohio and Florida found no evidence she would be harmed.

Bary, who emigrated from Sri Lanka with her family when she was 5, was an illegal immigrant until last week when she gained her green card, her attorney, Kort Gatterdam, said Tuesday.

In his lawsuit, Tarazi said blogger Pamela Oshry wrongly linked him to Hamas, considered a terrorist group by the U.S. government. He said she also falsely said he was appointed to represent Bary’s parents by the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

CAIR is a Washington-based Islamic advocacy group. Oshry, who typically goes by the name Pamela Geller, repeatedly refers to Tarazi on her website, Atlas Shrugs, as a lawyer appointed or selected by CAIR. Her website also includes links to sites alleging CAIR is a terrorist front.

Miami Herald, 7 September 2010