Apostasy case in Sudan creating pressure

By June 9, 2014
(Photo Omar al Bashir, courtesy Voice of the Martyrs Canada)

(Photo Omar al Bashir, courtesy Voice of the Martyrs Canada)

Sudan (MNN) — Lawyers for Sudan’s Meriam Ibrahim have not publicly noted a court date on her apostasy appeal.

According to the Voice of the Martyrs Canada, 27-year-old Ibrahim, is in custody with her 20-month-old son and her newborn baby girl, convicted for both apostasy and adultery. Sudan’s Islamic Sharia law considers her marriage an adulterous relationship because her spouse is a non-Muslim. For the “adultery” verdict, a Sharia judge sentenced her to 100 lashes.

She also maintains that her Muslim father left when she was young and that she was raised a Christian by her Ethiopian mother. However, according to Sharia law, children must follow their father’s religion. Ibrahim’s refusal to recant her faith and convert to Islam earned her the apostasy conviction and death sentence (May 11).  She’s been pressured to recant her faith but refuses to do so.

(Wedding photo of Meriam Ibrahim and Daniel Wani, courtesy Daniel Wani)

(Wedding photo of Meriam Ibrahim and Daniel Wani, courtesy Daniel Wani)

Although U.S. President Barack Obama has been silent on Ibrahim’s plight, leaders from Germany, Britain are calling for a halt to the execution. This week, five Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) lodged a formal complaint with the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR) against Sudan.

Is her incarceration legal? Voice of the Martyrs Canada spokesman Greg Musselman says, technically, “They don’t have a real leg to stand on,” however, Sudanese President Omar Bashir, an Islamist who seized power in a 1989 military coup, has implemented Islam more strictly now that the non-Muslim south is gone. That gave rise to “a concerted effort by the government in Khartoum to rid the North of Christianity.” VOMC also notes that the sentence cannot be carried out until at least after two years later since she is a breastfeeding mother. Her son’s custody would then be granted to the government.

As a fear tactic, the apostasy threat works, says Musselman. “It sends a pretty strong message to Christians in Sudan: ‘You’d better leave, or you’d better convert to Islam.'” In fact, some members of the small Christian minority in Sudan are going underground, says Musselman. “We work in that part of the world. We know of churches that have been destroyed, people who have been injured, and people who have been forced away. We need to be praying for the strength of the Church in Sudan. It is an Islamic country and it appears to be getting even more militant.”

Others, “It always has two kinds of effects: it will cause some to be stronger and more diligent in their faith in Christ, and others, it will cause fear, depending on how mature they are.” At this point, “Christians have had to live in that part of the country, in that part of the world, very cautiously, in how they share the Gospel, who they tell, especially if they come from Muslim backgrounds.”

The other appeal was filed by Ibrahim’s husband on the annulment of their marriage. There are petitions circulating calling for Ibrahim’s release and refugee status. Several campaigns have been mounted to put pressure on the Khartoum government. While that’s necessary and good, Musselman reminds us, “It always comes back to prayer, which is the number one thing we do: we need to be praying for Meriam, and also that would help us to be praying for our brothers and sisters in Sudan.”

(Map courtesy Voice of the Martyrs Canada)

(Map courtesy Voice of the Martyrs Canada)

Please bring this shocking and heartbreaking case to the Lord in prayer, asking Him to powerfully intervene. May the charges against Meriam be dropped so that she may return home with her husband and child. In the meanwhile, ask God to be especially near to Meriam and her children during their time in prison. Ask, too, that the Lord will grant peace to Daniel and other concerned family members so they may rest in the knowledge that He is very mindful of their plight and promises to lovingly hold the family in the palms of His hands (Isaiah 49:15-16).


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