Muslim Parents of Runaway Teen Convert Reject Deal

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By Aaron J. Leichman, Christian Post Reporter
January 29, 2010|11:58 pm

The Muslim parents of a teenage girl who ran away from home because she feared they would kill her for converting to Christianity have withdrawn their consent to a deal that would allow their daughter to remain free from them.

Though the plan to allow 17-year-old Rifqa Bary to stay in a foster home under state custody until she turns 18 was approved last Tuesday, Jan. 19, a motion filed this past Thursday by the attorney of Mohamed and Aysha Bary states that Bary’s parents “now believe the entire deal should be thrown out because of misrepresentation and fraudulent inducement."

Though the Franklin County Children Services promised it would protect Bary from the people who helped her run away and are trying to exploit her, she's allowed to talk to them, the motion stated.

Bary is reportedly being allowed to attend "the very church that targeted her in the first place,” it added, suggesting that she’s attending Global Revolution Church, the church of Pastors Blake and Beverly Lorenz in Orlando.

Since last August, Bary has been involved in a legal battle with her parents, who she ran away from the month before by boarding a Greyhound bus bound for Orlando, where she was taken in by the Lorenzes.

Bary claims that her father had said, "If you have this Jesus in your heart, you are dead to me!" and also added some time later, "I will kill you!"

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Bary’s father, Mohamed Bary, however, has vehemently denied ever threatening to kill his daughter for converting to Christianity and accuses the Lorenzes of “brainwashing” his daughter into believing she was in danger of an "honor killing."

The evangelical pastor couple, who Bary met through a Facebook prayer group, meanwhile, have denied having knowingly broke the law by hiding the Muslim-turned-Christian girl from Ohio.

Bary reportedly told them that her parents would not report her missing – a believable claim as the Barys emigrated from Sri Lanka, where women who stray from strict cultural upbringings are often accused of bringing dishonor upon the family and are cast out or even killed.

To their surprise, however, Bary was reported missing by her parents, who have been trying to regain custody of her.

Since last year, Bary has been living in foster homes – first in Florida and later in Ohio, where judges from both states eventually agreed jurisdiction in the custody case belonged.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement, which completed investigation into the Lorenzes’ role in Bary’s case, has yet to come to a decision on whether the pastor couple will be charged with any wrongdoing.

All parties are under a gag order and cannot comment on the case.

 

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