Tuesday, Dec. 08, 2009

Religious Runaway

And you thought your teen years were angst-filled. In July, 17-year-old Rifqa Bary ran away from her home near Columbus, Ohio, and bought a bus ticket to Florida so she could live with a Christian pastor whose wife she had met on Facebook. When the couple notified child-welfare authorities several weeks later, Bary claimed that her parents — Muslim immigrants from Sri Lanka — had threatened to make her the victim of an "honor killing" for recently converting to Christianity. Asked by a television interviewer what would happen if she returned home, Bary said her father "would kill [her] or send [her] back to Sri Lanka." While conservative Christians rallied around Bary's plight, the girl's parents said they had never threatened her and just wanted her to come home. Investigators found no credible threat to the girl, who is in the custody of an Ohio children's services agency and refuses to talk to her family.