Aljazeera: Apostasy – a term one would normally associate with times past – has recently seen a surge in its use and application.
Sudan has had its fair share of controversies over the past years from “trousergate” to the “blasphemous teddy bear“, but the latest case has upped the ante. A Sudanese court found Mariam Yahia Ibrahim, a pregnant Christian mother, guilty of apostasy and adultery and sentenced her to lashings and death, unless she renounces Christianity and reverts back to Islam.
Mariam was born to a Christian Orthodox mother and a Muslim father, who abandoned the family when she was six years old, whereon Mariam was brought up by her mother as a Christian. Three years ago she married a fellow Christian man. They have an 18-months-old son together, but their marriage has been deemed illegal under Sudanese law. The eight-months-pregnant medical doctor was sentenced last week in a Khartoum court to 100 lashings for committing adultery and death by hanging for marrying a non-Muslim, but was given a four-day grace period in which to recant her faith, repent and potentially be saved from death. That grace period ended and Mariam refused to repent.
The outcry over the case has naturally been ferocious, with both local and international rights groups and movements, governments and the media condemning the sentence and calling for the immediate release of Mariam. Amnesty International stated that Mariam is a “prisoner of conscience” and that “Adultery and apostasy are acts which should not be considered crimes at all. It is flagrant breach of international human rights law.” The Sudanese youth movement Sudan Change Now issued a statement denouncing the case as a violation of her human and civil rights, an invasion of her privacy and reflects the ruling regime’s continuing “crimes of social discrimination against women, social groups, and [the] religious sects to which Mariam belongs.”
Additional Reading and Viewing