Meriam Ibrahim gave birth to her daughter while her legs were shackled to the floor. The young Sudanese mother, who also raised her son in her prison cell, gave birth while waiting execution for committing apostasy from Islam by becoming a Christian. A Sudanese high court delivered the sentence when Ibrahim refused to denounce her Christian faith.
But after the case sparked international outrage, the Sudanese court appears to have reversed its decision. According to the official state news agency in Sudan, Ibrahim is to be freed:
Ms Ibrahim’s Christian American husband Daniel Wani was notified earlier this month that the appeals court in Sudan was deliberating the case, though the government had previously promised she would be released.
Sudan’s SUNA news agency said today: “The appeal court ordered the release of Mariam Yahya and the cancellation of the (previous) court ruling.” . . .
If the verdict had not been overturned, she would have faced a punishment of 100 lashes and execution by hanging.
As Elise Hilton recently noted, “this may seem like an aberration, an isolated throwback to more barbaric times, but according to Pew Research, one-quarter of the world’s countries have blasphemy and apostasy laws.”
A new analysis by the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life finds that as of 2011 nearly half of the countries and territories in the world (47%) have laws or policies that penalize blasphemy, apostasy (abandoning one’s faith) or defamation (disparagement or criticism of particular religions or religion in general). Of the 198 countries studied, 32 (16%) have anti-blasphemy laws, 20 (10%) have laws penalizing apostasy and 87 (44%) have laws against the defamation of religion, including hate speech against members of religious groups.
In The Universal Hunger for Liberty, statesman and award-winning author Michael Novak sets forth a new model for facing this very challenge-and for healing a still violently fractured world.We will only succeed in building a more harmonious world order, Novak argues.