Thursday, June 5, 2014

Christian physician in Egypt faces death for her faith

Excerpted from “Only a court can release Sudanese Christian woman on death row,” CNN. May 31, 2014 — Mariam Yahya Ibrahim was condemned to die by hanging after she declined to profess she is a Muslim, the religion of her father. Sharia law considers her a Muslim and does not recognize her marriage to a Christian. She is unlikely to change her mind despite giving birth in prison, says her husband Daniel Wani, who also is a Christian. Some Western media outlets have reported that Ibrahim would be released in a few days, but her husband said that only the appeals court could free his wife.

Technically, the president of Sudan cannot pardon her, so the judiciary might be the only way out for the government, which is coming under increased international pressure to release Ibrahim. The court convicted her of apostasy and adultery two weeks ago. At the time, she was eight months pregnant. She gave birth to a baby girl this week at a Khartoum prison, where she’s detained with Martin, her 20-month-old son.

Despite languishing in prison with two infants, she’s holding firm to her beliefs, according to her husband. “There is pressure on her from Muslim religious leaders that she should return to the faith,” Wani told CNN. “She said, ‘How can I return when I never was a Muslim?’”

Wani said his wife is a practicing Christian, more so than him. “I know my wife. She’s committed.” His wife, he said, was raised a Christian by her mother, an Ethiopian Orthodox, after her Muslim father deserted the family when Ibrahim was 6.


Dr. Amy GivlerFamily Physician and Women in Medicine and Dentistry (WIMD) Chair Amy Givler, MD: “Forced faith is an oxymoron – if faith does not come from inner conviction, then it is not faith at all.

“Meriam Yahya Ibrahim, a fellow physician, has shown tremendous courage in not denying her Christian faith. This week, the Sudanese appeals court could rule on her case. Over the weekend, a Sudanese official stated she would be freed within days, but this was denied by the spokesman for the Sudanese foreign ministry. Growing international pressure is calling for Sudan to dismiss the case and free Dr. Ibrahim from prison, along with her newborn daughter and 21-month-old son.

“If not freed, Dr. Ibrahim faces 100 lashes within a few weeks (for the adultery charge) and death by hanging (for the apostasy charge). Ideally, as Islamic law allows, she would have two years to care for her infant before her death, but I am concerned whether, in prison, she will receive the nourishment needed to continue to breastfeed her daughter.

“Of course, being freed from prison doesn’t guarantee Meriam’s safety in a country where many Muslims, including family members, would feel justified in killing a woman whom they perceive as apostate. Refugee status in the U.S. could be authorized by President Obama, or her visa application (filed years ago after she married her U.S. citizen husband) could be expedited by Secretary of State Kerry.

“If there is the political will to do so, tremendous pressure from the U.S. could be placed on the Sudanese government, which receives around one-fourth of its budget from foreign aid. The U.S. gives the largest share of this, mostly through the U.N. ($216 million) for humanitarian aid, as well as $11 million in direct aid to Sudan’s government.”

Urge Your member of Congress to support resolution calling for release of imprisoned Sudanese Christian Meriam Ibrahim
Urge Secretary of State Kerry to work to bring Meriam Ibrahim to the U.S.

Press release from Senator Roy Blunt

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