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Judge Clears Mich. Woman in Son’s Death

January 19, 2005

DEARBORN, Mich. (AP) _ A Muslim woman was cleared of responsibility for her 2-year-old son’s death in 1985, which had led authorities to take away the family’s three other children, who were then adopted by a Christian couple.

The children, now ages 22, 21 and 18, have been trained to be Christian missionaries and taught that Muslims can never enter heaven, their birth father says.

Ruling in a lawsuit filed by the parents, Wayne County Circuit Judge Edward Thomas on Tuesday ordered that Samier Amer’s death certificate be changed to say he died of an accident, not a homicide. The suit sought only to change the death certificate, not monetary damages.

The family says Samier had a rare brittle bone disorder and died after falling in the bathtub and fracturing his skull.

``I think now God has spoken, `` said the mother, Rehab Amer of Dearborn. ``I did not kill my son. My son cried from the grave for justice.″

The state took the children into protective custody after the state Department of Social Services accused Amer and her husband, Ahmed, both Lebanese immigrants, of abuse.

Rehab Amer was charged with second-degree murder. Even after she was acquitted, the welfare department refused to return the surviving children to their parents. Ahmed Amer wasn’t charged.

In 1989, the couple lost parental rights to the children, who were adopted in 1990 by a Pentecostal Christian couple.

The Amers say the adoptive parents taught the children that Muslims cannot enter heaven because they do not believe that Jesus is God.

The Amers have spoken to their children in recent years and heard that ``we’re all going to hell,″ Ahmed Amer said.

He said their oldest, whom they had named Mohammed, is now 22 and name Adam. The 21-year-old twin sister of the boy who died, originally called Sueheir, is now Suzanne, while their 18-year-old sister, born Zinabe, is now named Rochelle. The youngest, born after her brother died, was taken into state custody shortly after her birth.

Adoptive mother Essie Stamper of Clarkston said she understands the suffering that the case caused.

``I think the Amers are beautiful people,″ Stamper told The Detroit News. ``We’ve had them over to the house. They’ve visited with the children. I don’t personally believe that the woman ever hurt her child, because they really treasure these children when they come to see them. The children were never taught that the parent murdered their brother, never.″

Asked how the children view the case and their birth parents, she the Detroit Free Press: ``All of my kids are adults now, and they’ll believe what they want to believe.″

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