By Adrienne S. Gaines
Christian ministers close to an Ohio teen who ran away to Florida claiming her Muslim parents threatened to kill her for converting from Islam say they have no doubt that Rifqa Bary’s allegations are true—despite claims in court Thursday that a Florida police investigation found no evidence to support her fears.
Roger Weeden, an attorney for Bary’s mother, said a Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) report indicates there is “no evidence out there whatsoever” to corroborate Bary’s allegations.
Weeden was prevented from saying anything more because the report has been sealed for 10 days while the attorneys review its findings. He received the report in the middle of Thursday’s hearing along with the other attorneys in the case.
Jamal Jivanjee, a convert from Islam himself who befriended Bary when he was a college pastor in Ohio, defended the teen on Friday, saying the 17-year-old feared for her life not only because of her parents’ strict religious views but also because she had experienced years of abuse.
“There are reasons that Rifqa feared for her life,” he told Charisma
. “She has gone through tremendous abuse most of her life, and that’s what she’s stating now. I don’t know what evidence there is for it, but I think at some point Rifqa’s own testimony ought to be somewhat valid. This is a reputable girl.”