Video: Christian convert fights to stay in America

A teenager who converted to Christianity from Islam and fears an ‘honour killing’ by her Muslim family is fighting against deportation from the USA.

Watch a CBN report on the story

Rifqa Bary hit the headlines in 2009 when she told US media that she would not be safe with her Muslim parents.

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”.

Miss Bary wants to be allowed to stay in the country where she has been since 2000.


However, there is a risk that she may be deported along with her family back to Sri Lanka.

Her parents have previously filed an immigration application for the whole family to stay in the US, but Miss Bary’s lawyer has asked for a court order to allow the teen to apply for her own status.

Miss Bary’s lawyer, Angela Lloyd, wants a judge to sign an order saying the girl cannot be reunited with her parents before she turns 18.

The order would grant her the chance to apply for special immigration status without her parents’ consent.


Miss Bary’s parents are opposed to the order, and the judge who is overseeing the case has postponed her decision until a hearing has taken place. This is due to happen next month.

Miss Bary, who turns 18 in August, is currently still living with a foster family as the Christian convert and her parents attempt to work through their problems using counselling.

But Jim Zorn, a children’s services lawyer, told the judge that Miss Bary believes reconciliation with her parents is impossible.

Miss Bary’s lawyer said the girl had not received a reply to an emotional letter sent to her parents through a counsellor, explaining why their relationship broke down.


Her parents said they wanted to reply to their daughter, but needed assurances that the process was not being interfered with by lawyers.

In August last year Miss Bary explained that she feared an ‘honour killing’. “If I had stayed in Ohio, I wouldn’t be alive”, she said.

She added: “In 150 generations in family, no one has known Jesus. I am the first – imagine the honour in killing me.”

But her father, Mohamed Bary, said: “She is my daughter and I love her.”


An expert on ‘honour killings’, Dr Phyllis Chesler, has claimed that such deaths are not understood by most Americans, including those in law enforcement.

In August Dr Chesler, professor of psychology at City University of New York, said: “Anyone who converts from Islam is considered an apostate, and apostasy is a capital crime”.

Dr Chesler added: “Muslim girls and women are killed for far less.”

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