Dear Friends and Partners,
Sudanese authorities have sentenced a Christian woman to death for apostasy. Meriam Yehya Ibrahim is eight months pregnant and has her toddler son in prison with her because, as a Christian, her husband is not permitted custody.
Because her father is Muslim, Ms. Ibrahim is considered Muslim by Sharia Law even though her father left the family when she was very young and her Christian mother raised her as a Christian. Since Sharia Law does not permit a Muslim woman to marry a non-Muslim, on May 15, 2014 a judge in Khartoum determined Ms. Ibrahim’s marriage to her Christian husband void, consequently sentencing her to flogging for adultery and, when she refused to recant her faith, added the death penalty for apostasy.
The embassies of Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, and the Netherlands in Khartoum have issued a joint statement expressing their concern over the ruling and Ms. Ibrahim’s lawyer has indicated he will appeal. Nevertheless, despite the fact that the country’s provisional constitution guarantees freedom of religion, there is no guarantee that her appeal will be successful or that Sudanese authorities will wait for the result before executing the sentence. In the meantime, conditions in the prison are poor and she is having a difficult pregnancy. She has also reportedly been mistreated and abused and her young son is suffering from the conditions.
After decades of civil war, the mostly Christian and animist South Sudan separated from the north in 2011 leaving the mostly Muslim Sudan to pursue a policy of strict Islamization. The country’s human rights record is abysmal and its president, Omar Al-Bashir, has been indicted for war crimes and crimes against humanity before the International Criminal Court. Sudanese authorities refuse to recognize the outstanding warrant for his arrest.
Under these conditions, it is not clear how much impact international pressure can have on Ms. Ibrahim’s case. However, support within Sudan for extreme Islamic interpretations is strong, meaning international pressure and support for Ms. Ibrahim is critical. Also, while the country may not be sensitive to international opinion, it is a very poor country and may respond to pressure applied through western aid and trade programs.
Please join us in raising our voices on Ms. Ibrahim’s behalf and demanding that her rights be respected. She has demonstrated exceptional strength and courage in standing firm in her beliefs – our voices and those of the international community are now her only hope.
- For Ms. Ibrahim, that she, her son, and her unborn child would be protected against disease and abuse while in prison, that she would have a safe delivery, and that she would continue to have courage, faith, and strength in the midst of this ordeal; pray that all charges would be dropped and that she would be released unconditionally without delay with her son and infant and that in the meantime she would be able to show the love and forgiveness of Christ to her persecutors;
- For Ms. Ibrahim’s husband, that he would not lose faith and hope in the midst of this trial and that he would be protected from Muslim extremists who might want to use this matter to pursue him; pray that he also would be kept from bitterness and be able to show Christ’s love and mercy to those persecuting his wife;
- For the Sudanese authorities, that they would drop all charges and release Ms. Ibrahim and her son immediately without condition and that they would commit to respecting international human rights laws and the religious freedom of all their citizens;
- For the Sudanese people, that they would be able to live together in peace and harmony and accept each other’s differences and that they would be able to enjoy a government that respects the rights of all Sudanese to the benefit and prosperity of the whole country.
The Bible teaches that faith without action is dead, so please take action urgently and write (contact details are included below):
- To the Sudanese embassy in your country, demanding that all charges be dropped and Ms. Ibrahim and her son be released immediately with full recognition of her choice to follow Christianity and guarantees for her safety and that she be given proper medical care to ensure the safe delivery of her child; Sudanese authorities must also stop their flagrant violations of international human rights law and respect the religious freedom of all Sudanese citizens;
- To the Foreign Minister or Secretary of State, thanking them for the statements made to date by representatives of our governments but stating that expressions of concern are not enough; our governments must continue to put all pressure, including through aid and trade programs, on the Sudanese government to drop the charges and release Ms. Ibrahim and her son immediately and to respect international human rights law and the religious freedom of this family and all Sudanese citizens in the future.
Please remember to send us a copy of your correspondence to firstname.lastname@example.org
Remember that the persecuted Christians are dying every day, but they are still smiling. They are in a very deep dark night, but they have the candle of the Lord. The enemy can have a very strong weapon and a very strong army, but we have the Lord Almighty.
“They can kill the dreamer, but they cannot kill the dream” in the Lord’s name.
Be with God and may God be with you.
Rev. Majed El Shafie
President and Founder
One Free World International
El Shafie Ministries
Mr. Osman Abufatima Adam
Chargé d’Affaires a.i.
Embassy of the Republic of The Sudan
354 Stewart Street
Ottawa, ON K1N 6K8
Tel: (613) 235-4000; Fax: (613) 235-6880
The Honourable John Baird
Minister for Foreign Affairs
Foreign Affairs Canada
125 Sussex Drive
Ottawa, ON K1A 0G2
Tel.: (613) 996-0984; Fax: (613) 996-9880
In the United States
Mr. Elhafiz Eisa Abdalla Adam
Chargé d’Affaires a.i.
Embassy of the Republic of The Sudan
2210 Massachusetts Ave.
Washington DC 20008
Tel.: (202) 338-8565; Fax: (202) 667-2406
Secretary John Kerry
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street NW
Washington, DC 20520
Tel.: (202) 647-4000 (Main switchboard)