"I don't know if you know about honor killings? But this faith—you guys don't understand, Islam is very different than you guys think." So avows runaway apostate Rifqa Bary, the focus of a so-called dependency battle that is expanding into a national debate on the conflict between Islamic mores and American freedom.
The 17-year-old had been practicing Christianity in secret for four years when she fled her home in central Ohio in July, fearing for her life after her parents discovered her defection. The Sri Lankan Bary family has been in the U.S. since 2000.
The girl, describing her parents as "devout Muslims," can be seen on WFTV's website telling her story to one of the station's reporters. She speaks from the Florida home of Blake and Beverly Lorenz, a pastor couple with the Global Revolution Church who took her in.
"They have to kill me," Miss Bary says. "My blood is now halal, which means that because I'm now a Christian—I'm from a Muslim background—it's an honor. If they love God more than me, they have to do this. I'm fighting for my life, you guys don't understand." The juxtaposition of American teen lingo with medieval precepts is a chilling confirmation that a long-understood reality in Europe is only now dawning on American minds. "You guys talk about religious freedom? No—I don't have that...I don't want to die."
At Thursday's hearing before a packed Orlando courtroom, Judge Daniel Dawson rejected pleas from Mohamed and Aysha Bary to send their daughter back to Ohio, confirming she will remain in Florida pending investigation, with another hearing scheduled for Sept. 29.