Teen Convert’s Parents Back Out of Agreement

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Adrienne S. Gaines

The parents of teen convert Rifqa Bary have
withdrawn their consent to allow their daughter to remain in foster care,
possibly until she turns 18 in August, and seek to resolve their conflict
through counseling.

Mohamed and Aysha Bary filed a motion in
Franklin County Juvenile Court Thursday, asking that the Jan. 19 agreement be
thrown out “because of misrepresentation and fraudulent inducement,” the Columbus

Rifqa Bary, 17, ran away to Florida in July,
saying her Muslim parents threatened to harm her for converting to
Christianity. She spent nearly three weeks with Florida pastors Blake and
Beverly Lorenz before being placed in Florida foster care. She was transferred
to Franklin County Children Services in Ohio in November.

According to the motion filed by their
attorney, Omar Tarazi, the couple say their daughter is being expoited by Christian supporters and take issue with the fact that she has been
allowed to talk with the Lorenzes, who have been under investigation for their
role in helping the teen get to Florida. They say the contact may hinder
changes for reunification the counseling was meant to promote.

In the filing, the couple also objects to her
being allowed to attend “the very church that targeted her in the first
place,” though the congregation is not named.

The Post-Dispatch reported that Bary’s
parents also object to their daughter’s attorney sending a “happy
birthday, Daddy” card to Blake Lorenz on Rifqa Bary’s behalf.

A Christian source close to the teen said
Rifqa Bary has been approached about a book deal, a move he called “downright
disgusting.” In an email update to supporters Jamal Jivanjee said Rifqa Bary is “in the fight of her life” and “needs to be defended not exploited.”

According to Thursday’s court filing, the
teen has not talked with her parents yet. Because of a gag order, none of the
parties nor their attorneys can comment on the case.

A hearing is scheduled for Feb. 16.

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