- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 11, 2002

A circuit court judge in South Dakota has granted temporary custody and a restraining order to the grandparents of a 5-year-old boy who say they don't want the child's natural mother rearing him as a Muslim in Egypt.

"My wife and I are very concerned about Trevor's safety and well-being as Trevor's mother has engaged in some bizarre behavior, including wearing Muslim garb and declaring herself a Muslim," Conrad Rederth, the grandfather, stated in an affidavit.

"I am fearful that Sally will be unable to care for Trevor, as has happened in the past, and that taking Trevor to the Middle East to live with a man she hardly knows is not a safe environment for Trevor."

Judge Rodney Steele of the 3rd Judicial Circuit ruled in favor of the plaintiffs on June 20, confiscating Trevor's passport and stating that "the only way to protect the child" is to prevent his mother from leaving the country with him.

Judge Steele has scheduled a July 22 hearing on extended custody.

Trevor's mother, Sally Rederth Barakat, 29, married Osama Barakat in Egypt on Oct. 2 and converted to Islam in February. The U.S. Embassy certified the marriage in advance.

Mrs. Barakat said she couldn't afford adequate legal representation and that her first attorney "just sat there and didn't do anything" in court.

Moody County police took Trevor into custody after Judge Steele's ruling and turned him over to Mr. Rederth on June 24.

"They don't have children of their own and they don't want Trevor raised as a Muslim," Mrs. Barakat said in a telephone interview, referring to her father and his wife, Julie Rederth.

Mr. Rederth, in his affidavit, said Mrs. Barakat intended to relocate with Trevor to Egypt as soon as possible a claim she vehemently denied.

Mrs. Barakat said her planned trip to Egypt is not permanent and that her husband intends to emigrate to the United States as soon as he finishes a military obligation.

"I am planning to move to Sioux Falls in order to get away from my abusive family," she stated in her own affidavit.

Richard Hill, 56, the boy's biological father, also signed Mr. Rederth's affidavit.

Mrs. Barakat said she never saw Mr. Hill after their courtship and that he rarely paid child support.

In addition, she filed a June 7 protective order against her father, who had been convicted of driving under the influence in South Dakota and an unrelated felony in Minnesota. That order was waived in Judge Steele's ruling.

Mrs. Barakat, who did not know her biological mother, said she never lived with her father for more than six months as a child.

She was raised by her grandmother until age 10. After her grandmother's death, she entered the foster care system and was adopted in Michigan by Pam Hoss, now deceased.

Mrs. Barakat has visitation rights with Trevor until the July 22 hearing.

She said Mr. Rederth has been feeding her son pork, which is forbidden to Muslims, smoking around him and buying him firearms in an effort to spite her new religion.

"They are trying to control my life and I don't know why," she told The Washington Times.

Mrs. Barakat took medication to treat depression and anxiety for three years until last August. She met Mr. Barakat on the Internet and then in Cairo in September.

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