CHARLOTTE, N.C., May 21, 2014 — Last Thursday, a judge in Sudan sentenced a pregnant Christian woman to hang for converting from Islam to Christianity. Under Sharia law, converting to another religion, or apostasy, is punishable by death.
It is a story that would be debated on multiple levels if anyone were paying attention. It has not received much coverage, but it should.
Though not nearly as dramatic as the kidnapping of 300 Nigerian schoolgirls, the incident does carry the same impact in demonstrating the glaring inhumanity of Islamic jihad. It also shows how it is possible to deal with such problems through awareness of human rights instead of military action.
Meriam Yahia Ibrahim Ishag (27) was also sentenced to 100 lashes for committing adultery. Ishag is married to an American Christian from New Hampshire, but under Sharia law as interpreted in Sudan, a Muslim woman cannot marry a non-Muslim man. Such relationships are considered adulterous.
Ishag was born to a Muslim father and convicted under Sharia law, which has been in effect in Sudan since 1983. The only thing preventing her from being lashed and put to death immediately is the infinite Islamic “compassion” for her unborn child.
Said Judge Abbas Mohammed Al-Khalifa as he sentenced Ishag, “We gave you three days to recant, but you insist on not retuning to Islam. I sentence you to be hanged.” Cut and dried. End of story.
According to reports from the U.S. State Department, the United States is “deeply disturbed” by the sentence.
Mark Simmonda, Britain’s Minister for Africa, was more vocal. He issued a statement saying, “This barbaric sentence highlights the stark divide between the practices of the Sudanese courts and the country’s international human rights obligations.”
Mark Steyn discussed this story this week when he substituted for Rush Limbaugh on his radio program, and this is where his wisdom enters the picture. Even though Ishag is Sudanese, she is now married to an American, which means that she will eventually become an American citizen. What it really amounts to is nothing more than paperwork.
International law may be complicated to the extreme, but as Steyn sees it, the Obama administration has frequently by-passed other legalities in order to get around congress, so why not do something similar in this case?
It is fine to issue harsh verbal rebukes, but these carry no more weight than the hash-tag diplomacy by Michelle Obama and other celebrities for the Nigerian kidnappings.
If we stand by and do nothing we are, in essence, doing precisely what we did in Benghazi when we said it was impossible to get there in time to provide assistance. Maybe so, but Americans have always used every resource to succeed rather than yield to defeat.
Making Merian Ishag an American citizen would change the entire perspective of the judgment in Sudan. Putting the paperwork through on a fast-track would not require military action and it would also serve to highlight the barbaric inhumanity of Sharia law.
It would further instill positive emotions within the American people that government can act when it wants to.
The kidnapping of 300 schoolgirls may get more attention by sheer virtue of scale, but the root of the problem is the same regardless of whether it is one person or 300. Injustice is injustice no matter what the numbers may be, and this is one instance where something could be done, or, at the very least, attempted.
International barriers may get in the way. Steyn’s solution might be simplistic, but it also has foundations in common sense, compassion and basic human rights and that should be enough to overcome the red-tape.
At the very least the media should be telling this story, and the government should be making every effort to use the strength of the United States to prevail over Islamic inhumanity.
Mark Steyn may not sell as many books as Rush Limbaugh, but he certainly gave us plenty to think about.
Bob Taylor has been traveling the world for more than 30 years as a writer and award winning television producer focusing on international events, people and cultures around the globe. Taylor is founder of The Magellan Travel Club (www.MagellanTravelClub.com).
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