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Religious Liberty Prayer Bulletin | RLPB 261 | Wed 21 May 2014
SUDAN: CHRISTIAN WOMAN FACES DEATH FOR APOSTASY
by Elizabeth Kendal
On Thursday 15 May a court in Khartoum, Sudan, convicted Meriam Yehya Ibrahim Ishag (27) of apostasy and sentenced her to death by hanging. Having deemed her marriage to a Christian man null and void, the court also found Meriam guilty of adultery, for which she was sentenced to 100 lashes. The court ruled that Meriam, who is 8 months pregnant, should receive the 100 lashes once she has recovered from giving birth. She will be hanged in two years' time after she has weaned her infant. Meriam and her first-born son, Martin Ibrahim (now 20 months), have been in Omdurman Federal Women's Prison since 17 February. Daniel Wani, Meriam's husband and Martin's father, is a South Sudanese American citizen. He is deeply concerned about the conditions under which Meriam will give birth. Daniel's appeals to the US Embassy in Khartoum went unheeded for far too long.
Some sources say that Meriam was raised as a Christian by an Ethiopian Christian mother and, as such, never apostasised because she was never a Muslim. Others say Meriam was raised Muslim by a Muslim mother from a Muslim tribe, but then disappeared for several years before turning up again professing Christ and married to a Christian man. The details however are irrelevant as every human being - no matter how or where they were raised and irrespective of their occupation or status - must be free to seek after God.
One detail that is consistent though is that Meriam's father is Muslim. In Islam, religion is a state matter, as distinct from a faith matter. Sharia Law (Islamic law) mandates that children inherit the religion of their father. Consequently, any child born to a Muslim man is regarded as Muslim from birth and leaving Islam is forbidden. Sharia mandates that a Muslim woman cannot marry a Christian man unless he first converts to Islam to ensure the children are born Muslim. Anyone who says the rulings in Khartoum are contrary to Islam is either misinformed or is wanting to misinform. Islam underpins not only these rulings, but many thousands of honour killings committed annually, along with the impunity afforded the killers. [For a full explanation see Religious Liberty Monitoring: 'Khartoum's rulings are totally consistent with Islam', 21 May 2014.]
Concerned somewhat by the extensive international outcry, the authorities in Khartoum have opened an escape hatch, letting it be known that the ruling is not final and can yet be appealed. However, the reality is, even if Meriam is acquitted on appeal or is eventually released on compassionate grounds, this family will remain gravely imperilled just as they are gravely imperilled right now. They are at risk from those who would spare no effort to take Islamic law into their own hands, restoring Islam's honour and eradicating fitna (temptation, strife, chaos). This family needs to be rescued out of Sudan.
PLEASE PRAY SPECIFICALLY THAT GOD -
* the giver of life (Isaiah 42:5), will intervene in power to preserve the lives of Daniel, Meriam, little Martin and the new baby.
* the creator of families, will intervene in mercy and faithfulness to protect and preserve this faithful Christian family. '... they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.' (Matthew 19:6 ESV)
* the Redeemer, will redeem this suffering - and all the suffering caused by Islam - by using it for his ultimate purpose: to bring down false religion so that God alone (the only Saviour) will be exalted. (See Isaiah 2:12-18.); may momentum continue against the unreasonableness and inhumanity of Islam.
SUMMARY TO USE IN BULLETINS UNABLE TO RUN THE WHOLE ARTICLE
SUDANESE CHRISTIAN WOMAN FACES DEATH FOR APOSTASY
Professing Christians, Daniel Wani, a South Sudanese US citizen, and Meriam Ibrahim were married in Khartoum, Sudan, in 2012. However, according to Islam, Meriam is a Muslim because her father is a Muslim. As it is illegal for a Muslim woman to marry a Christian man, in September 2013 officials in Khartoum deemed Daniel's and Meriam's marriage void. Accordingly she was charged with adultery and sentenced to 100 lashes. When she protested that she was a Christian, she was charged with apostasy (leaving Islam). She was found guilty on 15 May and sentenced to hang. The case has attracted international condemnation. This family - Daniel, Meriam, Martin (aged 20 months) and the baby due very soon - are gravely imperilled. They need to be rescued out of Sudan. Please pray.
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This RLPB was written by Elizabeth Kendal, an international religious liberty analyst and advocate. Elizabeth is Adjunct Research Fellow in the Centre for the Study of Islam and Other Faiths at the Melbourne School of Theology. She is Director of Advocacy for Christian Faith & Freedom based in Canberra, Australia.
RLPBs are issued as a ministry of the Evangelical Alliance in Australia.
Elizabeth Kendal is the author of 'Turn Back the Battle: Isaiah speaks to Christians today'
(Deror Books, Dec. 2012) http://turnbackthebattle.com/thebook.html
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