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Meriam Ibrahim: What You Need to Know About Sudan and Apostasy

Posted by addisethiopia on May 20, 2014

Give them the punishment they so richly deserve! Measure it out in proportion to their wickedness. Pay them back for all their evil deeds! Give them a taste of what they have done to others. For they do not understand the LORD’s actions, or the way he carries out justice. The LORD will permanently demolish them.[Psalm 28:4-5]
 
GennetGehanemEsatThe case of Meriam Ibrahim, the pregnant Christian Sudanese women sentenced to death for ‘apostasy’ (leaving Islam), has sent shockwaves around the global community. But how common is this sort of case? Meriam Ibrahim was arrested on 17 February 2014, after Sudanese authorities found out she had married a Christian man. The court told Mrs Ibrahim she had until May 15 to convert to Islam, but she refused and the sentence was upheld. She remains imprisoned, along with her 20 month-old son, and her family reports she has not been allowed to receive visitors nor to access medical treatment. Her lawyers have filed an appeal which could take several months. So what is likely to happen? Will international intervention make a difference? And what does the wider religious and political landscape look like in Sudan? Here’s an overview of the key facts and analysis surrounding the case which has gripped the world’s attention.
 
Is there proof that Meriam Ibrahim has always been a Christian, does that matter?
 
Mrs Ibrahim was born in Western Sudan to a Sudanese Muslim father and an Ethiopian Orthodox mother. Her father left the family when she was six years old and she was subsequently brought up as a Christian by her mother. Although she is a life-long practising Christian, under Sudanese law Mrs Ibrahim is considered a Muslim because her father is a Muslim. Under Shari’a law in Sudan, Muslim women cannot marry non-Muslim men, so as she is considered to be a Muslim, her marriage is considered to be invalid. She is on a separate charge of adultery, in addition to apostasy.
 
Mrs Ibrahim testified in court on 4 March that she is a Christian, producing her marriage certificate, where she is classified as Christian, as proof of her religion. Three potential witnesses from western Sudan who went to the hearing to testify of Mrs Ibrahim’s lifelong adherence to Christianity were prevented from giving evidence.
 
It should not matter whether Mrs Ibrahim has always been a Christian or whether she has left Islam to become a Christian – her right to freedom of religion or belief is protected under the interim Sudanese constitution, as well as under international conventions to which Sudan is party, that include the right to adopt a belief of one’s choice. This is a non-derogable human right.
 
She’s allowed to give birth – what will happen to the child and her toddler if she is put to death?
 
It is difficult to predict. The children will be seen as Muslim because their mother is considered to be Muslim, therefore it is unlikely that the state would allow Muslim children to be raised by their non-Muslim father. The children would be treated as wards of the state, or could be placed with estranged Muslim relatives from her father’s side of the family.
 
What does apostasy mean? How is it proven? Is it a common offence in Sudan?
 
Apostasy refers to the act of renouncing a religion. According to strict interpretations of Shari’a law, apostasy from Islam is an offence punishable by death. In Sudan, Shari’a law is one of the sources of law under the constitution. Furthermore, apostasy is codified as a criminal offence in article 126 of the country’s Penal Code. This means that a person can be charged, convicted and sentenced in a court of law, as has happened to Meriam, for this religious offence.
 
What’s the religious breakdown of Sudan? How free are its Christians? What is the religious landscape in Sudan and where are the tension points?
 
Over 97% of those living in Sudan are Muslim. Under the regime of President al Bashir, an Islamist, Christians and religious minorities have been consistently harassed. Both blasphemy and apostasy are illegal, with the latter carrying the ultimate penalty of death. Christians are prohibited from holding open air meetings, and violence against those identifying themselves as Christian is common.
 
The challenges faced by religious minorities have existed for decades; successive governments have been hostile to religious and ethnic minorities, particularly since the Shari’a declaration of 1983. Decades of discrimination and violence played a decisive role in causing the South (which contains large Christian, animist and non-Arab communities) to separate from the predominantly Muslim and Arabised North. President al-Bashir repeatedly stated that following southern independence, Sudan would become an Islamic state with a new Shari’a-based constitution, which is in the process of being drafted in an opaque and non-inclusive manner.
 
Since the 2011 secession of South Sudan, religious minorities have experienced even greater hardship, hostility, and isolation. In particular, since December 2012, Christian Solidarity Worldwide has noted an increase in detentions, interrogations and deportations of Christians, as well as the confiscation and destruction of churches and church properties.
 
Do lots of people get put to death for apostasy? Are there other cases like this in Sudan which the international community doesn’t know about?
 
If the sentence is carried out, Mrs Ibrahim will become the first person to be executed for apostasy under the 1991 penal code, prompting concerns that the charge may then be used increasingly against anyone who converts from Islam.
 
There have been other cases where people have been charged with apostasy, which have not received international attention because often individuals recant their new faith before the sentence is confirmed.
 
What is the international community doing? And how influential are they likely to be?
 
A number of countries have spoken out strongly on Meriam’s case, including the UK, Canada and the US. The UK government summoned the Sudanese Ambassador to the Foreign Office on the matter and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights has also spoken out, reminding Sudan of its obligations under international law. The more the international concern, especially from African and Middle Eastern countries and key Sudanese allies, the greater the likelihood that condemnation will make a difference. The Sudanese government has already been forced to issue a statement on Meriam’s case, which means they are paying attention to the growing chorus of criticism.
 
You can add your voice by writing to the Sudanese embassy.
 
Source
 
Pregnant Sudanese Woman To Give Birth Before Being Killed For Christianity
 
CrucifyingAs she awaits her death sentence, Meriam is currently living in a tiny Sudanese prison cell with her son, Martin. The court has declared that Meriam will be able to carry her second baby to term, give birth, and nurse the baby before she is whipped 100 times and then killed.
 
Should parents be alarmed if their crying baby turns blue? Dr. Sears explains what can cause a baby’s skin to turn blue, and when it…
 
Meriam’s son is with her in prison only because he is considered a Muslim, which means his Christian father is not legally allowed to care for or raise him. Everything about this horrible situation is absolutely absurd.
Daniel Wani, Meriam’s husband and the father of her children, was allowed to see his wife and son for the first time on Monday, May 19, since her sentencing.
 
That’s when he saw that she was shackled at the ankles inside her cell, and that her legs were swollen. According to Daniel, she could give birth at any time as she is due at June
 
Daniel is devastated about his wife’s sentencing and requested that he be able to bring her to the Sudan hospital where she gave birth to their first child, but his request was denied.
 
I’m so frustrated. I don’t know what to do,” Daniel told CNN in a heartbreaking interview after his wife’s sentencing. “I’m just praying.”
 
Our thoughts and prayers are also with Meriam and her family, especially her unborn baby. Hopefully, government officials will step up and get involved and work to save Meriam and her son, Martin.
 
Source
 
8 Months Pregnant, She is Being Shackled While Awaiting Death for Rejecting Islam
 
News reports out today indicate the Christian woman sentenced to death in Sudan for rejecting Islam is being shackled by Sudanese officials despite the fact she is eight-months pregnant. The Islamic court is waiting until Meriam Ibrahim, 26, gives birth before carrying out the sentence but she is reportedly held in chains until then.
 
In addition, a statement from several attorneys associated with the Sudanese high court was released Monday, calling for an appeal of Ibrahim’s death sentence.
 
The [Sudanese] government is afraid of the international attention,” Ramirez said. “They are paying attention and this [statement] is a sign of that.”
 
Ibrahim and Wani were married in a formal ceremony in 2011 and have an 18-month-old son, Martin, who is with her in jail. The couple operates several businesses, including a farm, south of Khartoum, the country’s capital.
 
Wani fled to the United States as a child to escape the civil war in southern Sudan, but later returned. He is not permitted to have custody of his son because the boy is considered Muslim and cannot be raised by a Christian man.
 
Ibrahim was convicted under the Islamist-run government of apostasy (the crime of renouncing or insulting Islam) punishable by death in some Muslim-majority countries. According to news reports, lawyers representing her told Amnesty International that religious clerics in court had asked the 27-year-old Thursday if she would recant her faith, but she told them: “I am a Christian.”
 
Hours after a Sudanese court sentenced his pregnant wife to death when she refused to recant her Christian faith.
 
The death sentence issued to a woman who refused to renounce Christianity for Islam in Sudan is an “egregious violation of basic human rights,” Congressman Chris Smith (NJ-04), Chairman of the House congressional panel that oversees U.S. policy in Africa, said previously.
 
This is an affront to religious freedom everywhere,” Smith said. “The refusal of the government of Sudan to allow religious freedom was one of the reasons for Sudan’s long civil war. The U.S. and the rest of the international community must demand Sudan reverse this sentence immediately.”
 
Mrs. Ibrahim’s willingness to stand-up for her faith—even in the face of death—is a true mark of uncommon courage and bravery,” Smith said. “This case in Sudan mirrors a similar incident 18 months ago in Nigeria in which Boko Haram shot Habila Adamu, who refused to renounce Christianity just like Mrs. Ibrahim.”
 
Adamu, shot in the head and left for dead, was the only adult male Christian in his village to survive that November 2012 attack. He lived to travel to Washington to give riveting testimony before a congressional hearing Smith held in November 2013: “They asked me, ‘Are you ready to die as a Christian?’ he testified, “and I told them, ‘I am ready,’ but before I closed my mouth, they have fired.”
 
Source
 
Islamic Bloc Silent on Apostasy Death Sentence for Christian Mother in Sudan
 
NoNoNoThe sentencing to death of a pregnant Sudanese Christian mother convicted of “apostasy” has drawn sharp condemnation from a number of Western countries – but no word from the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), a number of whose member-states have apostasy laws on their books.
 
At least 21 OIC members have laws at a national or state level penalizing apostasy, or leaving Islam. Eleven are Arab states, including Sudan and Saudi Arabia, while the rest are in Asia (Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Malaysia, Maldives, Brunei) and Africa (Mauritania, Nigeria, Somalia, Comoros).
 
The OIC, the 57-member Islamic bloc whose Saudi-based secretariat regularly issues statements on matters of concern relating to the Muslim world, has been silent on the case so far.
 
Five years ago the OIC’s International Islamic Fiqh Academy, which issues global religious edicts on the OIC’s behalf, met to discuss contentious issues including that of apostasy, but scholars at the conference disagreed over ruling out the death penalty for offenders.
 
The meeting issued a fatwa that affirmed support for the traditional view of apostasy while at the same time invoking conditional religious freedom.
 
Avowed apostasy constitutes a danger to the unity of the Muslim community and to the Muslims’ belief. It also encourages non-Muslims or hypocrites to use it as a means whereby to cast doubts,” it said. “A person who does so deserves to be punished for apostasy, which is only to be meted out by the judiciary. This is to ward off the danger posed by such a person and to protect society and keep it safe. This ruling does by no means contradict religious freedom that is ensured by Islam for whosoever respects religious sensitivities and the society’s values and general order.”
 
The fatwa did not spell out the punishment for an unrepentant apostate.
 
Three days to repent
 
Several Islamic states impose the death penalty for apostasy.
 
Article 146 of Sudan’s criminal code says that a Muslim who renounces Islam must be put to death unless he or she recants within three days.
 
Mauritania’s criminal code also provides for a three-day period of reflection and repentance for any Muslim found guilty of apostasy. “If he does not repent within this time limit, he is to be condemned to death as an apostate and his property will be confiscated by the Treasury,” it says.
 
Saudi Arabia placed apostasy on a par with rape, murder and drug trafficking as offenses punishable by death.
 
Iran’s treatment of apostates drew international attention with the case of Youcef Nadarkhani, a pastor sentenced to death for apostasy more than a decade after his conversion. After a lengthy legal battle he was eventually acquitted in September 2012.
 
In Afghanistan, a Christian convert named Abdul Rahman was sentenced to death in 2006 for apostasy, but after the U.S. and other Western members of the coalition forces there brought pressure to bear on the Karzai administration, he was freed and allowed to seek asylum abroad.
 
Five years later another Afghan convert to Christianity, Said Musa, found himself in a similar plight. Again, international condemnation saw him freed and able to leave the country.
 
Just last month Brunei, a small sultanate in Southeast Asia, became the latest OIC state to introduce the death penalty for apostasy, among other shari’a-based punishments including stoning for adultery and limb amputation for theft.
 
Kill him’
 
Scholars defending the death-for-apostasy view point to the Islamic canonical tradition called the Hadith, which does contain references to execution for apostasy, including one in which Mohammed commands, “Any [Muslim] person who has changed his religion, kill him.”
 
That view still carries significant support in some Muslims countries, opinion surveys indicate.
 
A Pew Research poll in 2010 found large majorities in Jordan (86 percent), Egypt (84 percent) and Pakistan (76 percent) voiced support for the death penalty for apostates from Islam.
 
Source
 
Saudi Arabia: Filipino Maid Disfigured with Boiling Water for not Bringing Coffee on Time
 

maid-abused-boiling-water

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