ORLANDO - New developments in the Rifqa Bary case revealed that the teen's parents attend a mosque in Ohio that has major ties to terrorist activities, Bary's attorney announced Monday.
Bary ran away from home after she said her parents threatened to kill her for converting from Islam to Christianity.
Click play to watch the CBN News report followed by analysis from CBN News Terrorism Analyst Erick Stakelbeck.
The attorney for 17-year-old Rifqa Bary filed court documents Monday, citing strong ties between the Bary's mosque, the Noor Islamic Cultural Center in Columbus, Ohio, and radical Islamic activities.
Click here for further analysis of the Rifqa Bary case by CBN News Senior Reporter George Thomas.
He said there is clear evidence that these people are devout Muslims and their threats to take their own daughter's life for becoming a believer in Jesus should be taken seriously.
"The Noor Islamic Center has extensive ties to terrorist activities," said John Stemberger, president and general counsel of Florida Family Policy Council. "Their current CEO is a member of the Muslim Brotherhood. You may not have heard of them, but they're responsible for birthing every terrorist organization including Al Qaeda. So this is the grandfather of Al Qaeda."
The leader of the mosque disputed the charges.
For now, Rifqa is living with a foster family at an undisclosed location in Florida. But she keeps in touch with Pastors Blake and Beverly Lorenz, who first took her in when she told them she had to flee Ohio or end up the victim of an honor killing just as she said others have.
"They were killed by their dads," Rifqa said. "This is not just some threat. This is reality. This is truth."
Rifqa's father denied the threats and said he wants his daughter to come home. A call to her mother's attorney was not returned.
"She's doing really well," Pastor Blake Lorenz said. "She's excited that she can express her Christianity now she does not have to hide it."
Pastor Beverly Lorenz described Rifqa's faith.
"Is she scared? Maybe just with everything going on," Lorenz said. "But she has faith in Jesus, that He is going to take her to the next level."
Rifqa's Secret Faith
Jamal Javanee is a former Muslim who became a believer in Jesus when he was 18 years old. He and Rifqa became friends in Ohio where Rifqa told him how she could never let her parents know about her Christianity.
"She said very clearly that her life would be over the minute her parents found out she was a Christian." Jamal said.
Jamal remembered Rifqa praying and worshipping in secret.
"She said, 'I get up in the middle of the night when nobody sees. I go into my bathroom. I shut the door and read the scriptures and I just cry out to God and that is what sustains me. He meets with me. And when He meets with me, it's okay. Everything is fine,'" Jamal added.
Hope for Others
But Jamal said Rifqa knows this story is not just about her but about giving hope to other Muslim girls around the world.
"Rifqa is a symbol of hope," he said. "There is freedom, you don't have to live this way."
Stemberger said he told Rifqa often that the case is about her and what is in her best interest.
"She turns to me and says, 'No Mr. Stemberger, this case is not about me. This case is about thousands of other people like me all over the world,'" Stemberger said. "And she says, ' That's why I want my story known. So we can stop this in the future. This is why I want my story told.'"
Bary's attorney said this case is far from over and Rifqa's life is still in jeopardy. The 17-year-old will be at the Orlando Juvenile Justice Center on Thursday, where her future, including whether or not she gets to stay here in Florida, could be determined.
*Originally published September 1, 2009