claiming they threatened to kill her is facing a new battle.
Rifqa Bary, 17, has been diagnosed with an aggressive form
of uterine cancer, according to her friend, Jamal Jivanjee, a Florida-based
minister who talked with the teen Monday.
He said Bary has had two surgeries and is scheduled to
undergo a third procedure Thursday. In an e-mail sent Monday morning, Jivanjee
called on her supporters to fast and pray for the teen, saying her situation is
Bary is expected to undergo several rounds of chemotherapy
after healing from Thursday’s surgery, Jivanjee said. He added that doctors
won’t know what stage the cancer is in until after the procedure.
“Rifqa is in desperate need of an army of supporters to know
about what is occurring regarding her situation, and to pray for her healing,”
wrote Jivanjee, who also converted to Christianity from Islam and befriended
Bary when he and his family lived in Columbus, Ohio. ” I am a strong believer
in the power of prayer because I am convinced that God sovereignly works out
His victories, and accomplishes justice through the prayers of people.”
Bary ran away
from Ohio to Florida last summer, saying her parents threatened to kill her after
learning she had converted to Christianity. Her parents have denied the
allegations, and a Florida law enforcement investigation did not support her
The teen has been in foster care in Ohio since October and is still
embroiled in a court case over whether she will be returned to her parents, who
immigrated to the U.S. from Sri Lanka. Bary and her
family attend counseling sessions separately, but reconciliation seems unlikely
in the near future.
Bary turns 18 on Aug. 10, but court documents show she is in
the country illegally, and Jivanjee worries that she could be deported when she
becomes a legal adult. It is feared that if Bary is returned to Sri Lanka she
will be harmed or killed by Muslim extremists. Jivanjee hopes Bary will be
granted asylum if her immigration status is not resolved before her birthday.
Bary’s attorneys last month sought an order that would allow
her to apply for special immigration status, but a juvenile court judge
declined to issue the order without first holding a hearing. An attorney for Bary’s parents said the couple has filed an immigration
application for the whole family, the Associated Press reported.
Jivanjee said Bary believes God has a plan for her and that
she will be healed. “But she felt like she needed people to be aware and
praying for her,” he told Charisma.