Acton Institute Powerblog

Sudan to Free Meriam Ibrahim, a Woman Given Death Sentence for Apostasy

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v2-MIMeriam 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.

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Joe Carter Joe Carter is a Senior Editor at the Acton Institute. Joe also serves as an editor at the The Gospel Coalition, a communications specialist for the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, and as an adjunct professor of journalism at Patrick Henry College. He is the editor of the NIV Lifehacks Bible and co-author of How to Argue like Jesus: Learning Persuasion from History's Greatest Communicator (Crossway).


  • JohnStefanyszyn

    Which ‘god’ are people really praising for the freedom of Meriam?
    Which ‘god’ did people turn to to influence her release?

    Is it not freedom of rights, freedom of religions?
    …..this “god of fortresses”?

    This FREEDOM does not show preference for nor discriminate against any ‘god /belief’…for in its eyes all ‘gods / beliefs’ are equal.

    This FREEDOM also dictates that it is RIGHT (a right) to be free to worship ANY ‘god’.

    But the Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the One Creator, said that we are to worship ONLY the One Creator and Him Alone to serve in obedience and love, love for Him First and love for the fellowman.

    Soon, very soon, the Lord and King Christ Jesus will return to rule the earth in power according to the Will of the One God and NOT according to man’s first love for “his self-freedom”, for his desire to serve and magnify oneself (XES).

    …and there will be weeping and clenching of teeth when man’s freedom will be no more…when man’s freedom of all religions will be no more…for there is Only One Creator God, whose identity is defined by His Son Jesus Christ.