updated 8/21/2009 6:16:58 AM ET 2009-08-21T10:16:58

The fate of a 17-year-old girl who ran away from her Ohio home because she says she feared punishment for converting from Islam to Christianity could be decided in an Orlando courtroom.

An Orlando judge will hear arguments Friday about whether 17-year-old Rifqa Bary should stay in state custody in Florida or be returned to her family in Columbus, Ohio.

The teenager disappeared last month and police used phone and computer records to track her to the Rev. Blake Lorenz, pastor of Orlando, Fla.-based Global Revolution Church, who she had met through an online Facebook prayer group.

The girl's family members, who originally are from Sri Lanka, say they have never threatened to harm her.

More on: Islam | Christianity

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