News outlets across the globe have now reported on the arrest of a pregnant woman in Sudan for converting to Christianity. The mother, who was forced to deliver he baby in prison, was sentenced to death for breaking the apostasy laws of Sudan and now awaits her fate in a holding cell as the case has been taken to an appeals court for a final ruling. This case serves as yet another example of the rampant persecution of believers in Jesus Christ that is sweeping the globe.
According to reports:
A judge in Sudan today confirmed the death sentence for “apostasy” (leaving Islam) for a pregnant Christian woman after she refused to recant, sources said.
After her conviction on April 30, Judge Abaas Al Khalifa had given Meriam Yahia Ibrahim 15 days to recant or be executed, with the ultimatum repeated at her hearing on Sunday (May 11). He also confirmed the sentence of 100 lashes for having sex with her husband, considered illicit in Islam because he is a Christian.
“The court has sentenced you to be hanged till you are dead,” Al Khalifa told Ibrahim, who also has a 20-month-old son, after Islamist crowds shouted for the court to punish her.
As other Sudanese convicted of leaving Islam have recanted their new faiths in order to avoid execution, the 27-year-old Ibrahim is the first person to be sentenced to death under Sudan’s apostasy law, according to Amnesty International. (source).
Ibrahim was arrested after someone claiming to be a relative, opened a case against she and her husband, Daniel Wani, in the Halat Kuku Court of Khartoum North. Among the charges were adultery – for marrying Wani, who is a Christian. In the eyes of Sudanese law, Ibrahim, who was born to a Muslim father (who left the home when she was a child), and Christian mother, is a Muslim. This despite the fact that she was raised as a Christian. Thus her marriage to a Christian is considered invalid in the eyes of Sudanese law and she is legally classified as an “adulteress.” Her husband was also charged with proselytizing to a Muslim, which is illegal in Sudan.
Ibrahaim’s brother, Al Samani Al Hadi Mohamed Abdullah, denounced his sister in an interview with CNN. In it, he alleged that Ibrahaim was drugged with a “potion” by her husband which led her to convert to Christianity. And absent a full renunciation of her faith in Jesus Christ, he supports her death sentence.
“It’s one of two; if she repents and returns to our Islamic faith and to the embrace of our family, then we are her family and she is ours,” he said. “But if she refuses she should be executed,” he told CNN.
Abdullah also made it clear that his position was completely in line with Islamic beliefs: He added: “If she dies we will have enforced God’s word. The solution is that she is executed. As we have been ordered by our Prophet, peace be upon him: ‘He who barters his religion you must kill.’ (source).
Refusing To Deny Her Faith
Already the parent of an infant baby, the pregnant Ibrahim was offered a chance to have her charges dropped if she would recant her faith in Jesus Christ. The opportunity to avoid prison time, one hundred lashes and death by hanging was all offered to the young Christian mother, if she would only deny The Lord Jesus Christ. The court sent various Muslim scholars and advisors to try and convert her to Islam. Every attempt failed. “I am a Christian, and I have never been a Muslim,” she told Al Khalifa in court. As a result of her stand for her faith, Sudanese officials forced her to deliver her baby daughter, Maya, in prison, while being shackled to a floor of a prison clinic.
Under Sudanese law, the new mother sentenced to death is permitted two years before execution to breastfeed her child. Additionally, Ibrahim and Wani’s 20-month old son, Martin is also permitted to live with her in her cell until execution. Wani, who was not permitted to see his newborn daughter on the day of her birth, has gone to the international media to share his plight as seen in the video below:
Unlike many other cases of Christian persecution worldwide, this case has garnered a great deal of international media attention. Christian Advocacy group, the American Center for Legal Justice, has started an online petition denouncing this court ruling that has garnered over 371,000 signatures to date. Other groups such as change.org and Amnesty International have also started petitions and letter writing campaigns. On social media a Twitter campaign #savemeriam has been started.
Apostasy and adultery should not even be crimes,” Manar Idriss, Sudan researcher at Amnesty International, told The Telegraph. “It’s a personal choice who to marry and what to believe.
“The human rights situation has been deteriorating for the past few years. It’s an extremely repressive regime, with opposition activists tortured, and the targeting of anyone who dares to defy the regime.”
As an example, Ibrahim’s lawyer, Mohamed Jar Elnabi, has already received threats warning him to drop his appeal and stop representing Ibrahim altogether. United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and British Prime Minister David Cameron have decried the sentencing and demanded Ibrahim’s release. Within Africa, the African Centre of Justice and Peace Studies, the Sudanese Organisation for Development and Rehabilitation, the Sudanese Human Rights Initiative, and the Justice Centre for Advocacy and Legal Consultancy have all expressed their outrage at the sentencing.
Widespread Persecution Predicted In The Bible
Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you. – 1 John 3:13.
Jesus Christ warned His disciples that Christians would face unjust persecution that would increase dramatically as the end times approached. In the book of Luke Chapter 21 Jesus says:
But before all these, they shall lay their hands on you, and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues, and into prisons, being brought before kings and rulers for my name’s sake. And it shall turn to you for a testimony. Settle it therefore in your hearts, not to meditate before what ye shall answer: For I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which all your adversaries shall not be able to gainsay nor resist. And ye shall be betrayed both by parents, and brethren, and kinsfolks, and friends; and some of you shall they cause to be put to death. And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake. – Luke 21:12-17.
This is precisely what is taking place today. And while Ibrahim’s case may seem outrage, it is becoming a much more normal occurrence in many nations all over the world, where rampant violence and oppression of Christians is carried out with no punishment to the perpetrators. Sudan is not even in the top 10 on Persecution Watchlist published by Open Doors, a Christian aid group that works in the most repressive nations to help victims of Christian persecution. So for many other Christians, the situation is even more dire. And why is this taking place? Again the Bible holds the answer: “If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me [Jesus Christ] before [it hated] you.” (John 15:18). It is the sinful nature of society running unchecked that has led to such violent hostility against Christianity and the Bible, particularly in Islamic-run nations where Christianity is either altogether silenced or viciously opposed. Despite these efforts, the Church continues to thrive as believers stand firm in their faith in Jesus Christ.
Pray For This Family
Pray for this young family as they go through this horrific ordeal. Pray that the Appeals Court or the Sudanese Supreme Court will overturn this decision and allow this family to be reunited. Also pray for the health, faith and strength of Meriam Ibrahim as she and her babies live in a sub-standard prison cell. And pray for the Gospel of Jesus Christ to continue to shine in Sudan that even the most violent opponents to Christianity will have their hearts converted. Lord willing, Meriam Ibrahim’s stand, knowing that she could leave behind her toddler and newborn baby for the name of Christ will convict the hearts of Christian brothers and sisters who are not living in restricted, oppressive nations, to become even bolder in their stand and witness for the Gospel.
Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you. – Matthew 5:10-12.
(A further report on the status of the case is below).