"What these people are trying to do is not right — I don't think any religion will teach to separate the kids from their parents," he said.
Rifqa's family, including her older brother, have told 10TV News that the accusations of honour killings, and the alleged threat to her life, only came after her meetings with Pastor Blake Lorenz, who leads Global Revolution Church in Orlando.
Honour killings are not common place in Sri Lanka. The practise of honour killings has very little to do with religion. Honour killings have been carried out in the past by Hindu's in India and Muslims in Afghanistan. The practise is common place in parts of the Middle East as well. But thankfully it is not tolerated in Sri Lanka. In Iraq, a whole village took part in the stoning of Dua Khali, a 17 year old, stoned to death in public for falling in love with a Sunni Muslim. Dua was killed by people of the Yazidi faith. If the same was to happen in Sri Lanka, neighbours and onlookers would have intervened and called the police.
Honour killings do not exist in Sri Lankan culture, or among Sri Lanka's Muslims, but rebellious 17 year olds are everywhere. Only god knows how many times I fought with my dad and wanted to run away in my teens.
Family members said they would never harm Rifqa. Her older brother, Rilyan, said the accusations of violence came up only after his sister met Lorenz.
You also saw in the video someone is patting her on the back and saying good job," Rilyan said. "She's definitely been told what to do. It's not even her. She's not even making eye contact in the video. What does that tell you?"
The family is originally from Sri Lanka and emigrated in 2000 to seek medical help for Rifqa, who had lost sight in her right eye when she fell and struck a toy airplane on a couch at home.
Rifqa, a high school junior in well-off suburban New Albany, had been questioning her faith for several months, her father said. She attended church with friends from school and later attended services at another church, Xenos Christian Fellowship, a megachurch that emphasizes small groups meeting at home.