The Orlando Sentinel writes:
The girl, who turned 17 on Monday, is at the center of a custody dispute in Orlando, where she sought help from a family she barely knew — a pastor and his wife [the Lorenzes] willing to take in a teen who feared her own [Muslim] family's retribution because she converted to Christianity....
The girl appeared before a crowded courtroom full of lawyers and spectators on Monday when an Orange Circuit Court Judge ordered her into Department of Children and Families emergency custody....
Her dispute with her family became news several weeks ago when the girl ran away from her home in Columbus, Ohio.... The teen told the Lorenzes she feared her family would hurt her, kill her or send her back to Sri Lanka, Beverly Lorenz said....
Reached by a Sentinel reporter by phone, the girl's mother said little. "Yes, of course" her daughter would be safe should a judge eventually order her back there, she said.
And her father would not harm his daughter if she wanted to be a Christian, the woman said....
An attorney representing the girl's mother said the parents were allowing Bary to explore her Christianity. The parents claimed that their daughter was not afraid until she made contact with Pastor Blake Lorenz in Orlando....
It seems to me the law is clear: If a judge finds that there is real danger of serious violence from the parents — whether stemming from religious tensions or anything else — then the minor may indeed be placed into state custody and from there into a foster home. Naturally a judge can't just presume this based on generalizations about Islamic attitudes towards apostasy: There would have to be credible evidence of specific threats, or actual instances of physical abuse, and the judge would presumably listen to the child, the parents, and any other witnesses, and decide, difficult as the she said/they said factual question might be.
Thanks to Religion Clause for the pointer.
Related Posts (on one page):
- 17-Year-Old Who Converted from Islam to Christianity, and Ran Away from Home
- Police Report in Case of 17-Year-Old Girl Who Converted to Christianity and Doesn't Want to Return to Her Muslim Family:
- Rifqa Bary case update:
- Speaking of Asylum for Converts to Christianity:
- Some Thoughts on How Asylum Claims Based on Fear of Religious Persecution Are Treated,
- Miami Is Worth a Mass?