Rifqa Bary Supporters Gather, Hearing Scheduled

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COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Rifqa Bary's custody battle is now in the hands of the Columbus, Ohio, court system. She will make her first court appearance there next month.
The 17-year-old ran away from home after her Muslim parents discovered she had become a Christian.
Her story has gained international attention, and on Monday, supporters filled the Columbus court house square to make sure it is not forgotten.

More than 100 people filled the square outside the Columbus Juvenile Court to show support for Rifqa Bary, whom most have never met.

Nonie Darwish traveled from Los Angeles.

What will be Bary's next legal move? Click play for more with CBN News Anchor/Reporter Efrem Graham, who is covering the story in Ohio.

"Rifqa has awakened a lot of us who left Islam and became Christians," said Darwish, a former Muslims United member. "We are going to see more and more Rifqa Barys if we don't do something about it."

Many former Muslims in the crowd want the world to know Rifqa's fears are real.

Nabeel Quershi has faced it personally since becoming a Christian in 2005.

"It was even a few months before I received my first death threat," Quershi said. "And it wasn't an anonymous one either. It was on my car. So I knew someone didn't want me alive. And they knew where I live and I was worried."

Rifqa's friend Jamal Jivanjee said he is praying for the city of Columbus.

"I just pray that we would wake, get out of bed," he said.

Jivanjee is among the few who know Rifqa and her story firsthand. 

He met her when he and his family lived in Columbus, and it is her testimony that motivated him to push for the rally even after the day's court hearing was cancelled. 

Now that Rifqa Bary's legal battle will play out in a Columbus court, supporters say they want to make sure the spotlight is never taken off her case.

"We are going to be back," said James Lafferty of Virginia Anti-Sharia Task Force. "This is not a one shot deal. We are going to continue to watch her case. Just to make sure she is protected."

They are prepared to return to rally outside the court three days before Christmas, when Rifqa Bary's next court hearing is scheduled.

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CBN News
Efrem Graham

Efrem Graham

News Anchor & Reporter

Efrem Graham is an award-winning journalist, who comes to CBN News from the ABC owned and operated station in Toledo, Ohio.  He received his master's degree from the Columbia University Journalism School. He also holds a bachelor's degree in English Literature from the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey.  Follow Efrem on Twitter @EfremGraham and "like" him at Facebook.com/EfremGrahamCBN.