Christian Convert Allowed to Stay in FL for Now

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An Ohio teen who ran away to Florida in fear of her family after converting from Islam to Chritianity will be allowed to stay in the state for now.

A Florida judge ruled, Friday, that 17-year-old Rifqa Bary can stay in foster care there until another hearing on her case is held Sept. 3.

Bary says that if she's forced to return to her family in Ohio, she could be the victim of an honor killing, and if she's sent back to her native country of Sri Lanka she could face abuse and death as an infidel.

"This is just not some threat," the 17-year-old warned with tears in her eyes.  "This is truth. This is reality."

Bary has been a Christian for four years, but fled from Ohio a few months ago, claiming physical threats from her family because she left Islam. 

Rev. Canon Julian Dobbs of the Convocation of Anglicans in North America says situations like Bary's happen all over the world under Islamic Sharia law. Click play for his comments to CBN News. 

Also, click here for more insight on this story.

She took a bus to Florida where she was taken in by the family of an evangelical pastor. Now, her Muslim family wants her back.

The next step will be whether Bary might be emancipated from her family.

CBN News spoke with family law expert Lynne Marie Kohm for more insight.

"According to the code, can she show clear evidence of emancipation? Probably, unless the court rules her father's testimony cancels her's out." Kohm expalined. "They're going to have to show more things about her testimony that she's fearing for her life. The second thing [is whether] she's mature enough."

"The third thing is going to be the clincher," Kohm continued. "Can she support herself or does she need parents and guardians to support her?"

If Bary is sent back to Ohio, it's a done deal since Ohio does not have an emancipation statute like Florida.

Officials at the Ohio Department of Family Services have already said publicly that they intend to reunite the family if she is returned to Ohio.

Bary's father says she will not be harmed if she comes home.

Police in Ohio question the teen's claim of being in danger. A Columbus sergeant says her father comes across as a loving, caring father who's worried about his daughter.    

Yet Bary's father reportedly attends a mosque that some have tied to radicals.

*Originally published August 21, 2009

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