It looks like the Rifqa Bary saga will soon be shifting to Ohio:
A runaway teen who said her father threatened to kill her for converting from Islam to Christianity will be returned to Ohio once her immigration status has been clarified, a Florida judge ruled Tuesday.
The ruling was a victory for parents Mohamed and Aysha Bary, who had requested that their daughter’s custody be transferred to Ohio while other issues in the case are settled. The teen’s attorney, John Stemburger, who leads a Christian advocacy organization, opposed the move.
Seventeen-year-old Rifqa Bary left her family in Columbus, Ohio, in July and took refuge in the home of a minister in Orlando, Florida. The girl was later moved into foster care after she said in an affidavit that her Muslim father had threatened her after finding out about her conversion. Her father has denied the allegation.
In Tuesday’s ruling, Judge Daniel Dawson said it was in Bary’s best interest for her emergency custody continue in Ohio.
The transfer will not happen until the teen’s immigration status is determined, however, the judge said.
Attorneys for the parents, who are from Sri Lanka, said required immigration documents will be submitted to the court within two weeks. A status hearing has been set for October 23 in case the paperwork has not been filed.
And because seemingly no development in this saga can unfold without Bary’s supporters using it as an opportunity to spread a new round of unconfirmed rumors, that is exactly what looks to be happening once again:
The Florida pastor who helped a 17-year old girl who fled from her home, fearing her Muslim parents would kill her for converting to Christianity, told MyFoxOrlando.com that he is hopeful the runaway will be able to stay in Florida even though a judge ruled she must return to Ohio.
“We expected Ohio would get jurisdiction… that’s just the legal way it is,” Paster Blake Lorenz told MyFoxOrlando.com. “But we are excited there is still a possibility she could stay in Florida, if the legal documents are not presented with her immigration. So you never know…maybe they don’t have them.”
Before the girl gets sent back, Florida Judge Daniel Dawson said he needs immigration papers proving her status in the U.S. and proof from the state of Florida that she can continue her virtual schooling and receive credit in Ohio.
Lorenz claims he and his wife have been operating under the belief that Bary’s parents may not be able to produce the required documents.
Bary’s family came from Sri Lanka, and Lorenz said Rifqa did not think they would look for her for fear their immigration status would be revealed. They eventually did report her as missing, and Lorenz has since felt pressure from law enforcement and some segments of the public.
“My impression is they are not here legally anymore,” Lorenz told MyFoxOrlando.com. “Originally, they were, this is all second hand. Rifqa told us they were not legal anymore… Meaning they didn’t update their papers and they were afraid they’d be deported.”
Just because seemingly everything Bary has told Lorenz up to this point appears to have been false and unconfirmed, I guess that doesn’t mean he’s going to stop blindly passing her allegations on to the press.