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Muslims question coverage of runaway case

Aug. 31, 2009 at 12:22 PM

ORLANDO, Fla., Aug. 31 (UPI) -- Some Muslims in Orlando, Fla., say the portrayal of the ongoing case involving a runaway daughter could be detrimental to the Muslim community.

Imam Tariq Rasheed, head of the Islamic Center of Orlando, said there is concern in the Muslim community the alleged death threat made to Ohio runaway Fathima Rifqa Bary by her father could negatively portray the Islamic religion, the Orlando (Fla.) Sentinel said Monday.

"We feel frustrated because this is a family problem of a certain family, and the way it has been portrayed is defaming Islam and giving a way, way negative picture of our religion," Rasheed said.

Bary, 17, left her home in Columbus in July after an alleged death threat from her father involving her conversion to Christianity, the newspaper said. She traveled to Orlando to live with the family of a pastor she had met online, prompting a legal battle for custody of the teen.

Bary's attorney insists the teen would face the possibility of death if she was forced to return to her family.

"My concern is she is literally a dead girl if she is sent back to Ohio. It's only a matter of time until she disappears into the night," attorney John Stemberger told the Sentinel.

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