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Christian Convert Runaway From Muslim Family Turns 18

Rifqa Bary

Rifqa Bary in court in March 2010. Jay LaPrete/AP hide caption

itoggle caption Jay LaPrete/AP

Remember the story of the young woman, Rifqa Bary, who fled her Muslim family which she claimed was abusive to her because she had converted to Christianity?

The case made national headlines when Bary fled to Florida to, she said, escape punishment from her family in Ohio for her conversion.

Bary was returned to Ohio and placed with a foster family. On Tuesday, she turned 18, meaning she was no longer a ward of the state but on her own.

An excerpt of the Columbus Dispatch's report of the scene Tuesday morning in Magistrate Mary Goodrich's courtroom:

Neither Rifqa, smiling and accepting "Happy birthday" wishes from Goodrich, nor her parents, solemnly sitting across the room, chose to speak during the court hearing.

The story reported further that Bary's lawyer said the young woman wants to become a Christian evangelist.

"She has suffered so much, and there have been so many traumatic events at this time," attorney Angela Lloyd said. "She's just not ready to make a statement..."

... "She looks forward to 'preaching the word to all the nations,' " Lloyd said. "And those are her words."

She's "trying to be Rifqa Bary, the Christian evangelist who's ready to go out and change the world."

Bary's parents issued a statement which reflected the pain of their family's situation and concern for their daughter health. She reportedly has cancer. It's a fairly powerful statement at the end of the Columbus Dispatch story so click on the link to read it.

It is a statement of parental love, one that may remind many people of the New Testament parable of the prodigal son.

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