News / Africa

Sudanese Woman Sentenced to Hang for Refusing to Renounce Christianity

Christian worshippers pray during Christmas mass at a Church in Khartoum, Sudan, Dec. 25, 2013.
Christian worshippers pray during Christmas mass at a Church in Khartoum, Sudan, Dec. 25, 2013.
A court in Sudan has sentenced a pregnant woman to death for refusing to renounce her Christian faith.

Mariam Yahya Ibrahim, 27, who is already the mother to a 20-month-old son, was convicted of apostasy on Monday and given three days to abandon her faith.

Her lawyer, Mohamed Abdel Nabi, said the judge hearing the case asked her, "Where do you stand on being an apostate?"

"She answered, 'I’m not an apostate, your honor; because I was never a Muslim. I grew up a Christian.’ Then the judge announced, ‘you are sentenced to death by hanging,'" Nabi told South Sudan in Focus.

Mariam's husband, who is from South Sudan and holds a U.S. passport, confirmed that his wife was raised a Christian.

"She is from Darfur in western Sudan," Daniel Wani said.

"Her mother is from Ethiopia and she grew up with her mother. That's why she is a Christian, since she was young, you know,” he said.

Wani said he was prevented by the authorities from attending his wife’s appeal hearing but said he will continue to fight to save her life.
 

Death sentence not final


Sudan’s information minister, Ahmed Bilal, said that the the death sentence against Mariam was not final. 

Even Sudan's Grand Mufti, the highest religious authority in the country, was opposed to the harsh sentence against the young woman, Bilal said.

According to Bilal, Grand Mufti Isam Ahmed Elbashir said Mariam should have been given more time to decide whether or not she wanted to convert to Islam.

The U.S. State Department said it was  "deeply disturbed" by the sentence of death by hanging imposed on Mariam but understood that the sentence was open to appeal.

"We continue to call upon the Government of Sudan to respect the right to freedom of religion, a right which is enshrined in Sudan’s own 2005 Interim Constitution as well as international human rights law," State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said in a statment.

Several embassies in Khartoum have also voiced concern over the harsh sentence against the young woman, who has also been sentenced to be flogged for adultery.

The Sudanese authorities insist that Mariam is Muslim, because her father is Muslim. Sudanese law prohibits marriage between a Muslim and a non-Muslim, and Mariam's husband is Christian.

Amnesty International called the ruling "abhorrent" and a flagrant breach of international human rights law.  The rights group called for Mariam's immediate and unconditional release.

 
Nabeel Biajo contributed to this report.

You May Like

Video Obama to Send 3,000 Troops to Liberia in Ebola Fight

At Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, President says US will take leadership role for a global response to deadly Ebola virus that is ravaging West Africa More

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

Muslims in Kunming say that they condemn the violence, it is not a reflection of the true beliefs of their faith More

Humanitarian Aid, Equipment Blocked in Cameroon

Move is seen as a developing supply crisis in West Africa More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments page of 2
    Next 
by: Ron from: florida usa
May 30, 2014 12:02 PM
God in his 10 commandments mandated that "Thou shalt not kill".
As a Christian should I support killing Muslims if they refuse to convert to Christianity? Not at all, no way!! God may very well not forgive anyone that kills in his name.


by: What about Gods Love
May 20, 2014 10:51 AM
what kind of God would want someone especially a woman with child beaten for their faith, they are sadly deceived, and will face God's judgment themselves he is a loving God we all have a right to choose.


by: Mercy from: U.S.
May 17, 2014 11:06 AM
Please respect human life more than your religion. If you are a father, and a husband you love to be with your family. Please let the father be with his son.
My prayers to the family at difficult time.


by: lorraine
May 16, 2014 6:14 AM
who do these stupid little ignorant men in court in this god forsaken country ( you don't see any women in picture here allowed to contribute to decisions) think they are. what gives them the right to such decisions to condemn women like they do. Thank God we are who we are by the nature of birth and we weren't born under the rule of ignorant authorities in Sudan.

What makes these people who they are - is there anything more cruel than the words of an indistinct little man lacking worldly knowledge sentencing a woman to death. Is this little man married with children. How does he treat his wife and disturbingly if there are (and god forbid if there are) offspring of the condemned gender. From Adam and Eve - how did human beings like this little judge get a place on this planet


by: Dwelling Glory from: London
May 16, 2014 2:41 AM
I mean this total delusion! This is pure evil and really pure Evil! And the funny thing these Muslim ppl want to force us to accept their in our countries but yet they persecute and kill Christians in their countries. I mean I really do not understand this religion.


by: Roy Riddle from: Topeka KS
May 15, 2014 10:18 PM
This is not the face of the Muslim faith. This is not a religious issue. This is a human issue. Every man, woman and child has the capacity to exude love, compassion and mercy. Every man, woman and child has the capacity for selfishness, bitterness and hatred. Choosing either set of values can be culturally defined. But, not always. Cultures are dynamic. Values are dynamic. The struggles the world faces today are the same struggles that have played out since the history of man. Until the world of men changes to allow a universal brotherhood which values selflisness, compassion and love, nation will rise against nation. Until the heart of man is no longer conflicted, there will be human atrocity. When you and I come to a place where we recognize a self evident truth, that all men are created equal, we change the culture. We change the world regardless of religious or national faith.

In Response

by: craig
May 16, 2014 2:30 PM
"This is not the face of the Muslim faith. This is not a religious issue."

Assertion does not make it so. The judges openly state that this is a religious issue, and their knowledge of the Muslim faith, the societal context, and this case are all greater than yours. I am tired of decadent utopian Westerners repeatedly trying to lull us with 'oh no, the Islamists don't really mean all that'.

"When you and I come to a place where we recognize a self evident truth, that all men are created equal, we change the culture.

But it's *not* a self-evident truth that all men are created equal. Jefferson took liberties in writing that in the Declaration, because empirical observation will tell you that men are unequal in all sorts of ways. Most of us are not Einstein, Usain Bolt, Yo-Yo Ma, or Mother Teresa. The claim that men are created equal only makes sense as a relative claim, that we all possess the same standing relative to a creator that has revealed this equality. In other words, it is a specifically Christian doctrine, given by revelation and not attainable through reason.

We don't see that because we live off the residue of Christian civilization and don't know it any more than fish know they're in water. Without a belief in God, the claim that all men are created equal is not an 'is' but an 'ought' -- not a statement of fact, but a moral sentiment with nothing solid shoring it up.


by: Apophis from: Indiana
May 15, 2014 9:02 PM
Just one more reason why all religion needs to be banned. Keep your spirituality...lose religion. Religion is evil.


by: Rod Cullins
May 15, 2014 8:44 PM
I don't care what anyone says: THIS is the face of Islam. Fact.


by: robotgiskard from: San Francisco
May 15, 2014 8:41 PM
There is a huge difference between Islam and Christianity: one demands obedience and the other allows choice.


by: Unlicensed Dremel from: USA
May 15, 2014 8:36 PM
Religion of peace strikes again!

Comments page of 2
    Next 

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Communityi
X
September 16, 2014 2:06 PM
Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.
Video

Video Washington DC Mural Artists Help Beautify City

Like many cities, Washington has a graffiti problem. Buildings and homes, especially in low-income neighborhoods, are often targets of illegal artwork. But as we hear from VOA’s Julie Taboh, officials in the nation's capital have come up with an innovative program that uses the talents of local artists to beautify the city.
Video

Video US Muslim Leaders Condemn Islamic State

Leaders of America's Muslim community are condemning the violent extremism of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. Muslim leaders say militants are exploiting their faith in a failed effort to justify violent extremism. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Americans' Reaction Mixed on Obama Strategy for Islamic State Militants

President Barack Obama’s televised speech on how the United States plans to “degrade and destroy” the group known as the Islamic State reached a prime-time audience of millions. And it came as Americans appear more willing to embrace a bolder, tougher approach to foreign policy. VOA producer Katherine Gypson and reporter Jeff Seldin have this report from Washington.
Video

Video Authorities Allege LA Fashion Industry-Cartel Ties

U.S. officials say they have broken up crime rings that funneled tens of millions of dollars from Mexican drug cartels through fashion businesses in Los Angeles. Mike O'Sullivan reports that authorities announced nine arrests, as 1,000 law enforcement agents fanned out through the city on Wednesday.
Video

Video Bedouin Woman Runs Successful Business in Palestinian City

A Bedouin woman is breaking social taboos by running a successful vacation resort in the Palestinian town of Jericho. Bedouins are a sub-group of Arabs known for their semi-nomadic lifestyle. Zlatica Hoke says the resort in the West Bank's Jordan Valley is a model of success for women in the region.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid