On these pages, I have recently written about the plight of Meriam Ibrahim Yahia, who was sentenced by a court in Sudan to death by hanging for “apostasy” and for 100 lashes for her “adultery.” Unlike most definitions of adultery, the Sudanese court found her to be an adulteress for having married a Christian husband, who is also an American citizen. In recent weeks, with her ankles shackled in chains, Meriam gave birth to a little girl, Maya.
Meriam’s ordeal began last year when members of her biological father’s family, people she hadn’t seen in many years, tracked her down, and accused her of adultery and apostasy. Although she produced a marriage certificate to a Christian man, the court found her marriage invalid since her biological father was a Moslem. However, Meriam’s father had abandoned her and her mother when she was a young child. She had been raised as a Christian, and never practiced Islam. However, under Sharia law, a daughter of a Moslem is a Moslem by birth and may not marry a Christian man, despite her upbringing or her personal convictions as an adult. Further, under Sharia law, Moslem men are free to marry Christian women, though the opposite is not true for women. Meriam Ibrahim, a successful businesswoman, is a physician. It was reported that her biological father’s family only found her after hearing about her success. By filing these complaints against her, her father’s family believes they can secure her assets, business, and children after she is hung.
During this nightmare, she was asked to deny her faith in the Lord Jesus Christ three times, and three times she has refused. Now, Meriam, Martin, her toddler American son, and Maya, her newborn American daughter, lie in a bug and filth-infested Sudanese prison cell, a victim in the real Islamic war on women. Section 38 of the Constitution of the Republic of Sudan guarantees “every person . . . the right to the freedom of religious creed and worship, and to declare his/her religion or creed and manifest the same . . . no person shall be coerced to adopt such faith, that he/she does not believe in.” Even under Sudanese law, the national constitution trumps other enacted laws, such as the Criminal Code, under which Meriam was convicted. Further, Sudan is a signatory to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (“ICCPR”). The ICCPR is a major treaty on human rights, and not merely a suggestion. Article 18(1) of the ICCPR provides, “Everyone shall have the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. This right shall include freedom to have or to adopt a religion or belief of his choice . . .” Despite these laws, the Honorable Judge Abbas al Khalifa found a “legal basis” to convict Meriam for adultery and apostasy, based on her proclamation of her Christian faith. Although pressured during her court hearings to recant Christianity, Meriam stood firm in her faith and has refused to do so.
As you can well imagine, Meriam’s American husband, Daniel, is distraught over the situation, and is not allowed custody of his children because under Sharia law, the children are considered to be Moslems. Daniel, an American citizen, confers U.S. citizenship to his children at birth. However, last week when Daniel again visited to the U.S. consulate in Khartoum to obtain that recognition, in a reprehensible display of obstruction and contrary to mandates of U.S. immigration law, American consular officials demanded that Daniel present the results of a DNA test. (Of course, getting blood samples from the children sitting in prison pose their own practical problems to comply with the consulate’s edict.) So now two American children are in a Sudanese prison with their “apostate” mother, and the American consulate is demanding that DNA test be conducted. (Just begin to imagine the umbrage to an American policy demanding DNA tests for the children of all illegal aliens or persons applying for legal immigration status before any government benefits be provided?) Please use your voice to demand that your Congressman and Senators call the Department of State to protest this outrageous requirement and issue the U.S. passports to these two U.S. citizen children. The U.S. consulate should also immediately issue to Meriam an emergency travel document known as “Significant Public Benefit Parole” so that upon her release, she can immediately board a flight out of Sudan. In addition to writing to our government officials to demand justice for Meriam and her family, please write to Meriam at the following address:
Dr. Meriam Yahia
Omdurman Prison for Women
P.O. Box 65
Omdurman, Republic of Sudan
In your letter or card, please assure Meriam of your prayers and support, congratulate her on Maya’s birth, and praise her for her courage and testimony for Christ. I am certain that Meriam will be greatly encouraged to know that Christians everywhere are praying for her. In Hebrews 13:3, we read, “Remember the prisoners as if chained with them—those who are mistreated—since you yourselves are in the body also.”