Latest Fla. Court Battle Centers Around Teenage Convert

October 13, 2009

Author: Amy Green

Source: Religion News Service

First there was Elian Gonzalez, the Cuban boy torn between two nations. Then there was Terri Schiavo, the brain-damaged woman torn between two families. Now comes Rifqa Bary, the teenage runaway torn between two faiths.

If you’re involved in a high-stakes custody fight, Florida, it seems, is the place to be.

Could Rifqa’s father in Ohio really kill her for leaving Islam to embrace Christianity? Has the 17-year-old read too many fundamentalist Christian Web sites? Or is it all just teen dramatics?

Those are all questions swirling around the 17-year-old Ohio girl who became a Christian several years ago and sought shelter with an Orlando pastor after she feared for her life because, as she says, her father is bound by his Islamic faith to kill her.

Her parents deny the charges, and are now fighting in the courts in both states to bring Rifqa back home. The case has become a cause celebre among conservative Christian groups, Muslim activists and, of course, politicians.