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Christian Women to Hang for Apostasy in Sudan

Yet another example of the extraordinary barbarism of reactionary Islamic law, this time in the Sudan where a woman has been sentenced to death by hanging for apostasy after converting to Christianity and marrying a Christian man, both of which are forbidden under that nation’s version of Sharia law.

A Sudanese judge on Thursday sentenced a Christian woman to hang for apostasy, despite appeals by Western embassies that freedom of religion should be respected.

“We gave you three days to recant but you insist on not returning to Islam. I sentence you to be hanged to death,” Judge Abbas Mohammed Al-Khalifa told the woman, addressing her by a Muslim name, Adraf Al-Hadi Mohammed Abdullah.

Her Christian name is Mariam Yahya Ibrahim.

She was charged with apostasy as well as adultery for marrying a Christian man, something prohibited for Muslim women to do and which makes the marriage void.

Students at Khartoum University have been protesting against this brutal oppression, prompting the government to simply shut down the university. Welcome to the 14th century. The Center for Inquiry put out a press release protesting these horrific actions:

In a message to the Sudanese government, the Center for Inquiry demands all charges be dropped against Meriam Yeyha Ibrahim Ishag, a 27-year-old Christian woman, eight months pregnant, who has been sentenced to 100 lashes and death by hanging for marrying a Christian man.

In its letter to Sudan’s UN ambassador, H.E. Hassan Hamid Hassan, the Center for Inquiry (CFI), a secular humanist advocacy organization, states, “Meriam is being punished for nothing more than changing her mind in regards to religion, and marrying a man who belongs to a religion different than that of her family — both which are universally protected human rights.”

“This kind of violent oppression by Sudan against one of its citizens is abhorrent,” said Michael De Dora, CFI’s United Nations representative. “Religious belief must never be coerced and free expression must never be punished, through threat of imprisonment, violence, or any other means. This cannot go unanswered, and the world will not stand for it.”

CFI reminds Sudan that it is a signatory to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which strictly forbids this kind of persecution or coercion in terms of religious belief, and the right to marry whom one chooses.

“By prosecuting Meriam and sentencing her to death, Sudan is in clear violation of the ICCPR,” writes CFI. “We call upon the Republic of the Sudan to honor its treaty promises, immediately free Meriam Yeyha Ibrahim Ishag, and end all legal proceedings against her.”

We must continue to work to build a world where such barbarism is only a memory.

Comments

  1. countryboy says

    From what I read she was never Muslim in the first place. Her Muslim father abandoned them very early and she was raised by her Christian mother. The idea that the children of a Muslim father are automaticly Muslim just adds to the barbarity.

  2. jameshanley says

    @countryboy,

    Not that I disagree, but part of Muslim theology is the idea that because Allah is the only God, we are actually all born Muslim.

  3. matty1 says

    @2 That explains why some people who became Muslims as adults insist on calling themselves reverts instead of converts.

  4. laurentweppe says

    a woman has been sentenced to death by hanging for apostasy after converting to Christianity and marrying a Christian man

    In other words: the state forbids exogamy, and hides behind holy texts to justify its fucked up policy.

  5. ianken says

    Sudan has a long tradition if using apostasy as a political tool. This is essentially a way to distract the masses from their corrupt government and appeal to hard line conservative tribal groups. Islam is the excuse and like Christians that use the Bible to justify their barbarity, the folks have probably never actually read the Koran and know icky what their imams tell them through the filter if tribal ignorance.

  6. Artor says

    Jeez, Ed! Why are you always bashing on Christianity! I bet you’d never dare to say anything critical of Muslims, for fear that they’ll cut your head off!

    Sorry, I got here before Modus, and thought I’d give it a try. Not enough random caps?

  7. says

    The situation is ripe for trolling: if an apostate converts to catholicism, the gomers would be flailing at eachother in no time at all.

  8. karmacat says

    If your religion can’t tolerate any competition then you must not be very certain of your religion. But as ianken says, it probably distracts from sudan’s real problems. A little like the GOP and Benghazi

  9. sc_770d159609e0f8deaa72849e3731a29d says

    in the Sudan …a woman has been sentenced to death by hanging for apostasy after converting to Christianity and marrying a Christian man, both of which are forbidden under that nation’s version of Sharia law.

    I don’t think you’ll find any version of sharia [sharia is law based on the Koran] that doesn’t forbid it and impose death on people who do it.

  10. imthegenieicandoanything says

    Until moderate Muslims start an effective movement ending the entire notion of apostasy being a crime, they really don’t get any points from me as being “moderate” at all. It’s such a simple and obvious form of barbarity (yep, I’ll go there on this issue!) and extremity in the religion that is essentially unknown in all other forms of institutional superstition.
    And most will not – even in Britain, a Guardian survey (as I recall – hoping my memory isn’t wrong) showed a majority approved of death as a penalty.

    That kind of Muslim isn’t one who should expect ANY respect. Ever.

  11. Taz says

    But as ianken says, it probably distracts from sudan’s real problems.

    Right, because most other Islamic countries don’t have such laws. Except, of course, for most of them.

  12. says

    Seems to me that those who feel that people who convert away from Islam need to be executed must believe therefore in the fundamental philosophical shortcomings of Islam. They are essentially saying that Islam cannot survive on the lessons that it teaches but instead needs the death penalty to keep it’s adherents from strawing.

    What a sad opinion they have of their religion.

  13. grendelsfather says

    @iamthegenie #14

    People with religious beliefs cannot influence this debate. Once you decide to unhinge belief from objective reality, then all beliefs are equal. Whether or not Allah wants to you to kill apostates is not up for debate. You just kinda have to know,

  14. laurentweppe says

    @14, 15, 16, 17….

    Funny how a kangaroo court put in place by a notoriously corrupt failed state can inspire you such universal conclusions:
    It’s almost like you’re not giving a flying fuck about Mariam Yahya Ibrahim’s fate and are just using her story as an excuse to wave your dicks and proclaim your inherent moral and intellectual superiority against these religious rubes

  15. says

    You do kind of have to admire her for sticking to her principles, though.

    If somebody threatened to kill me for being an atheist, I think I’d call myself whatever Marklar they wanted me to faster than that streak of yellow could run down my leg.

  16. laurentweppe says

    If somebody threatened to kill me for being an atheist, I think I’d call myself whatever Marklar they wanted me to faster than that streak of yellow could run down my leg.

    Which is pretty much what happened in Spain: they forced the Jews and Muslims under their rule to convert to christianity…. Then invoked the fact that the conversion was forced to proclaim the new converts untrustworthy and used that as an excuse to despoil and banish people on ethnic ground.

    If somebody threatened to kill you for being an atheist, chances are he would find excuses to fuck you up even if you crawled at his feet.

  17. Taz says

    @18 – I stated that most Islamic countries have laws against apostasy. Are you disputing that? It’s almost as though “you’re not giving a flying fuck about Mariam Yahya Ibrahim’s fate” and are just rushing to a knee-jerk defense of Islam, as you always do. You want to be a died-in-the-wool religious apologist? Fine. But it does not give you the moral high ground. Far from it.

  18. StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return! says

    This is why Islam is evil. Undeniably, brutally, unethically horrifically evil.

  19. StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return! says

    Also this is why with any decent human with a heart and a brain needs to oppose the ideology that is Islam and do whatever they can to stop it.

    This and 9-11, the murder of Lee Rigby, the Boston marathon bombings , the Bali bombings, Hamas firing rockets at Israeli civilians and so many other appalling realities that too many commenters on FTB prefer to look away from and just not see, think about or really register.

  20. matty1 says

    While Islam is the name of an abhorrent ideology it is also the name of a somewhat vague cultural identity shared by large numbers of people, many of whom are as appalled at atrocities as we are. Does it really help to defeat the worst to tell those people that their only choice is to give up their identity or support atrocities?

    Moderate or liberal Islam may be bullshit but if it is bullshit that saves lives I’ll take that trade.

  21. StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return! says

    @ 24. matty1 : If it saves lives I would too.

    You know what I want from Muslims?

    That the terrorism, jihads and fatwahs end.

    That they stop killing people and start behaving rationally and reasonably and not murderously towards those that anger or upset them.

    Westerners allow women to drive cars and go outside without male jailers, sorry relatives guarding em?

    Y’know what that’s perfectly flippin’ okay so get used to it. It ain’t a bad thing.

    Alcohol is fucken great thing – don’t knock it till you’ve tried it or even afterwards. Hell, da word itself is derived from Arabic or summin’ so .. let people be. let ‘em drink, do whatever if it ain’t hurting you.

    Someone writes a book or draws a cartoon or makes a crappy movie aimed at shit stirring you. Okay. Write a bad review against it. Boycott it, argue against it, whatevs. Don’t think that a movie /book /cartoon / whatever that offends you means you get to try and riot and kill people and threaten detah aginst tehauthors.

    That’s going too fucking far! (& I should know I’ve been there! ;-) )

    You don’t get to do that sort of shit. Its wrong.

    Israel exists. Too bad for you. The Palestinians had their chances ever since and before 1948 to have a peaceful state of their own and they blew every chance offered. Turned down every peace and started every war. just let it be. Israel exists, it ain’t going away. You ain’t getting driving the Jews into the sea and thus grabbing that tiny fragment of a past Ottoman Islamic empire back and your migrants from Syria and Egypt are just gonna hafta resettle elsewhere or live in a Jewish nation and accept its rules.

    Women are allowed to get educated. It ain’t an excuse to murder or kidnap and enslave them. Speaking of which I know Arabs have a very long terrible tradition of enslaving people but that shit is wrong. You can’t do that these days.

    Same with Female Genital Mutilation, (dis)honour killings and acid attacks and that sorta shit whether its a sacred part of your fouled up culture or not. Its fucking WRONG.

    So is killing and persecuting LGBTQI folks or denying they even exist in places like Iran. (hello Imadinnerjacket!)

    But most of all the terrorism, the jihads, the fatwahs – stop em now and forever.

    That’s all I want, that’s my fucken polite request STOP this sorta shit and behave like decent humans who treat others with respect and compassion.

    And yeah, don’t fucking brutally whip and then murder a woman because she wants out of your shithouse nasty religion that at least in large part condones and encourages the sorta shit that’s all mentioned above here.

    That too much to fucking ask!?

  22. matty1 says

    Not at all just ask the people who do it rather than acting as if everyone who calls themselves Muslim is the same.

  23. laurentweppe says

    Not at all just ask the people who do it rather than acting as if everyone who calls themselves Muslim is the same.

    You know you’re talking to a guy who, in the past, drunkenly confessed his unadulterated genocidal fantasies. No amount of argumentation is ever going to stop people with a boner for murder nor people who fancy themselves as inherently superior because bloodlust and narcissistic self-righteousness just feel too damn good to be renounced.

  24. eric says

    Matty1

    Does it really help to defeat the worst to tell those people that their only choice is to give up their identity or support atrocities?

    If you allow “its my identity” to be a viable justification for continuing horrible pratices, then the people who support those practices will clain every single one of them is part of their identity.

    So, IMO there are two messages we should try and communicate when someone claims some abhorrent practice is important to their culture/part of their identity/makes them what they are, a ‘carrot’ message and a ‘stick’ message. The carrot message is to point out people like them who get along without the practice. That shows that their culture can survive the change relatively intact. There ARE muslims that do without the burkha, without FGM, without polygamy. There ARE healthy muslim communities where women become educated, drive cars, and so on. The goal here is to show that if they fear losing their cultural identity, that fear is largely misplaced. But you must also communicate the ‘stick’ message, which is someone claiming slavery or other human rights abuses are part of their cultural identity will not stop us from rejecting it and trying to change it. And if that stick message upsets them, you can console them with this: we are treating their beliefs with the exact same respect we treat our own. We didn’t buy the cultural identity excuse from our own people in the 1860s, and we aren’t buying it from other people now.

  25. Aaron says

    Not a single mention of Benghazi in this entire article. Clearly biased reporting.

  26. laurentweppe says

    I stated that most Islamic countries have laws against apostasy. Are you disputing that?

    I’m most certainly not denying it: I’m saying that you’re using it as an excuse to wallow in the loathsome vice that is cultural determinism.

  27. says

    Also this is why with any decent human with a heart and a brain needs to oppose the ideology that is Islam and do whatever they can to stop it.

    Including killing Muslims?

    Because, like, that would mean…..killing people for their belief that killing people for their beliefs is okay.

    Which would sort of prove them right.

    I don’t think you’ve thought this through very far.

  28. Taz says

    I’m saying that you’re using it as an excuse to wallow in the loathsome vice that is cultural determinism.

    And where exactly did I do that?

  29. timpayne says

    Laurentweppe @ 27

    Dorothy Parker was soused most of the time, but still the keenest cultural commentator of the 20th century. All these legitimate criticisms of Islamic societies, and you dismiss them as drunken rants or self righteousness? I’m pretty sure I can see who the smug fucking tool is here.

    But here’s a question. Obviously, we in the West don’t have a perfect scorecard on human rights. Which Muslim nation would you say we should emulate? Just name the one we could use as our beacon towards enlightenment.

  30. Mobius says

    From what I read on the Friendly Atheist, the woman is an apostate only by a stretch of the imagination. Her father is/was Muslim but she was raised as a Christian. But apparently in the view of the Sudanese court, Muslim is an inheritable trait.

  31. laurentweppe says

    All these legitimate criticisms of Islamic societies, and you dismiss them as drunken rants or self righteousness?

    Why, yes, Stevor has never been able to produce anything better than drunken self-righteous rants. And a non-negligible chunk of the commentariat around here (coughSLCcough) keep themselves informed about the abuses committed by the fundies only because it fuels their sense of inherent superiority.

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