Meriam Yahya Ibrahim was sentenced to death in Sudan for the crime of “apostasy”, or leaving the Muslim faith to become a Christian. This sentence was the inevitable result of Sudan instituting Sharia law as the law of their land. Today, Ibrahim was ordered released by an appeals court. That was the result of tireless work by hundreds of thousands who signed petitions to free her.
This cause transcended liberal and conservative circles: organizations dedicated to prisoners like Be Heard Project and Amnesty International, to conservative groups such as the ACLJ, to liberal sites like change.org; even the White House petition had over 53,000 signatures. Such an outrageous injustice (to those who don’t follow Sharia law) attracted maximum worldwide attention.
Ibrahim never embraced Islam, was brought up as a Christian, and married an American citizen, Daniel Wani, also a Christian. Her two young children, one an infant she gave birth to in prison, are American citizens. Yet in Sharia law, her Christianity itself is a crime, because her father was a Muslim. That crime is punishable by death.
In 2011, Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir announced Sudan’s adherence to Sharia law.
In a 12 Oct 2011 speech to university students in Khartoum, President al-Bashir stated: “Ninety-eight percent of the people are Muslims and the new constitution will reflect this. The official religion will be Islam and Islamic law the main source [of the constitution]. We call it a Muslim state.”
Ibrahim’s cause only left one American group with a cold reaction: the Obama administration. The best that the leaders of the free world could muster was a three-paragraph, 187 word, limp-wristed statement published on June 12.
I urge the Sudanese judiciary and government to respect Ms. [Ibrahim] Ishag’s fundamental right to freedom of religion. I also urge Sudan to repeal its laws that are inconsistent with its 2005 Interim Constitution, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Such actions would help to demonstrate to the Sudanese people that their government intends to respect their fundamental freedoms and universal human rights.
Except that the Sudanese people want Sharia law, which is inconsistent with all those other mumbo jumbo declarations, covenants, and international universal rights. The Arab spring, you know, freed them to follow a democratic path, and this is the result.
Last Thursday, the US Congress weighed in.
On June 19, 2013, thirty eight Congressmen signed a letter [published on Voice of the Martyrs, persecution.org] to Secretary of State John Kerry. This effort was spear-headed by two Republican Congressmen: Trent Franks and Frank Wolf. Thirty one Republicans and only seven Democrats signed this letter. Shame on the Democratic Party! Here is an African woman who is exercising her freedom of religion—a value that we in the West, particularly in America, hold dear.
Today, we celebrate a victory of light over darkness: shining the intense light of truth on a system which holds death dear freed a mother to be with her children and out of a cell. Though she is no longer a prisoner, she is still in grave danger, and staying at “an unknown house to stay at for her protection and security” according to her lawyer, Mohaned Mostafa.
Now, we must keep up the pressure to get her home. Laurie Ann Jalbert, founder of Passion for Jesus Ministries, reminds us that the journey is not over until Meriam is safe in the United States with her family. Let’s all pray for God’s protection for her, and let’s not let up until her safety is assured.