An Ohio teenager says she ran away from home to Florida because her family threatened to kill her for converting from Islam to Christianity, local media reported.
Rifqa Bary, 17, testified Monday at a custody hearing in Orlando that she’d recently changed religions and is worried her relatives will do something drastic, according to WFTV in Orlando and Central Florida News 13.
“They have to kill me because I’m a Christian. It’s an honor (issue),” the girl told WFTV.
Such threats are common, even in the United States, her attorney, Rosa Gonzalez, told News 13.
“She says her life is in danger and she could be killed in an honor killing,” Gonzalez said after the hearing — which was held because the teenager’s parents are trying to regain custody of her.
Rifqa, a non-citizen whose parents are from Sri Lanka, has for several weeks been staying with an Orlando couple who are pastors of a new Christian church there. She met them on a Facebook prayer group.
Her father denied his daughter’s allegations to NBC 4 in Orlando, saying he never threatened to kill his daughter because she rejected Islam.
He was in Florida for a court hearing, but was reportedly traveling back to Ohio Tuesday.
The Florida Department of Children and Families currently has custody of her, but ultimately, Ohio authorities will decide where the teen should live.
Thanks to J.T. Hundley for this one.