A 17-year-old Christian who ran away from her Muslim family in Ohio says she is in danger of an ‘honour killing’ if she goes home.
Rifqa Bary has been allowed to stay with a foster family in Florida pending a further hearing.
Miss Bary spoke to an American news channel explaining why she was so afraid to go home.
She said: “If I had stayed in Ohio, I wouldn’t be alive”.
She added: “In 150 generations in family, no one has known Jesus. I am the first – imagine the honour in killing me.”
She claimed that her father “would kill me or send me back to Sri Lanka” where, she said, “they have asylums where they put people like me.”
Her parents have denied the allegations. Her father, Mohamed Bary, said: “She is my daughter and I love her.
“I love her and want her to come home.”
Miss Bary ran away from home in July and went to stay with a church pastor and his wife in Florida.
Police used phone and computer records to trace the girl to the church.
An Orlando lawyer who claims to represent Miss Bary has submitted a legal petition requesting that she be kept in Florida.
He said she “is in imminent threat of harm from the extreme radical Muslim community in her hometown of Columbus.”
But Craig McCarthy, one of the attorneys representing her family, said: “There is a vast, vast difference between not being pleased that your child has not chosen your faith and wanting to kill your child”.
Miss Bary is now with a foster family in Florida and says she wants to stay with them until she is 18.
A judge ruled on Friday that Miss Bary can stay with the family until 3 September when another hearing will take place.
In 2008, two sisters from the Dallas area were murdered, allegedly by their Egyptian-born Muslim father. Relatives say he was enraged that his daughters, 18 and 17 years old, were dating non-Muslim boys.
‘Honour killings’ are usually prompted when an individual is perceived to have brought shame on their family. This could include converting to Christianity.
According to the BBC up to 4,000 ‘honour killings’ were committed in Pakistan alone between 2000 and 2004.
Most of the crimes have been perpetrated on women.
Police believe there may be up to twelve such killings every year in Britain.