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Runaway Teen, Christian Convert Rifqa Bary Tells Her Story of Escape and Life after the Headlines

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (September 15, 2014)—In 2009, a national news story broke of a teenage girl named Rifqa Bary, who had fled her Ohio home to find refuge in Florida, claiming her Muslim father had threatened to kill her for refusing to renounce her Christian faith. The media reporting and court case that ensued sparked a firestorm of coverage about Sharia law, parental rights and religious persecution. Now a 22-year-old college student—living in an undisclosed location, still convinced her life is under threat—Bary shares for the first time her own story of that decision to run away, the consequences and the faith that continues to fuel her in Hiding in the Light: Why I Risked Everything to Leave Islam and Follow Jesus (WaterBrook Press, May 5, 2015).

 Upon the discovery of her whereabouts, Bary’s parents fought to have their teenage daughter returned home. A multi-state, high-profile court case began. She became a ward of the state and was placed in foster care. During this tumultuous time, she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. In 2010, Bary became a legal adult and the Sri Lankan native was granted the right to reside in the United States. What became of this young woman? How did the controversy and the court proceedings look from her teen perspective?  Was her decision to flee worth it?  What is her relationship with her family? How does her faith sustain her?

Bary answers these questions and many more in her honest, vulnerable and captivating memoir Hiding in the Light. She shares about her early family life, her life-changing encounter with Jesus, her internal struggles and efforts to hide her faith, and her attempt to escape penalty from her Islamic parents. As passionate today as she was five years ago about her Christian beliefs, Bary has built a new life and is ready to put words to her experience.

 “In the Islamic culture, women do not have a voice. My goal in writing is for my pen to be my voice,” Bary says.

“We are pleased to publish the story of this brave, inspiring young woman, who faced religious persecution and societal pressure with courage in order to whole-heartedly follow her faith,” said Stephen W. Cobb, president and publisher of the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group.

Hiding in the Light will release on Tuesday, May 5, 2015, in the United States and Canada in print and digital formats from WaterBrook Press, a Christian imprint of the Crown Publishing Group and division of Penguin Random House.

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