Christian Meriam Ibrahim death sentence overturned in Sudan, prisoner freed

Meriam Ibrahim and Daniel Wani | Courtesy Gabriel Wani
Meriam Ibrahim and Daniel Wani | Courtesy Gabriel Wani

CHARLOTTE, NC June 23, 2014 – It doesn’t happen very often, but when it does it is time to celebrate a Christian victory over Sharia law.

Meriam Ibrahim, a 27-year old Sudanese Christian woman who was senteced to death for apostasy, has been freed by an appellate court in Khartoum. Ibrahim was accused by her brother of renouncing Islam and converting to Christianity.

Meriam was also scheduled to receive 100 lashes for committing “zena” which is having sex with a non-Muslim man. Both charges were dropped following a worldwide protest campaign against the original ruling.

Like so many stories that emerge from the Muslim world, nothing is ever black or white but always maddening indistinguishable shades of gray. Meriam Ibrahim should never have been brought to trial in the first place because she has never been a Muslim and, therefore, could not possibly convert to Christianity.

Though Meriam’s father was a Muslim, he deserted the family when she was very young. Despite being raised as a Christian by her mother, Ibrahim’s brother turned her in last year for “dishonoring the family” because he claimed his sister had renounced Islam and then married a Christian.

Meriam’s husband, Daniel Wani, is a naturalized U.S. citizen who is confined to a wheelchair because he suffers from muscular dystrophy. Wani is a biochemist and also a Christian.

Ms. Ibrahim was arrested in February and shackled to the floor in a Sudanese prison. Her toddler son was imprisoned with her. She was convicted of apostasy on May 15 of this year and sentenced to be hanged two years after she gave birth to her second child.

Twelve days after refusing to become a Muslim, Ibrahim gave birth to a baby girl while in prison.

Her sentence included 100 lashes for having sex with a non-Muslim man even though he is her husband and she is not. and has never claimed to be, a Muslim. By law however, children must follow their father’s religion.
Upon her release, Ms. Ibrahim, her husband and two children were immediately taken to an undisclosed location for their safety. One of Ibrahim’s attorneys, Eman Abdul-Rahim, has expressed concern that someone might attempt to harm Meriam and/or her family.

There have already been threats against their lives, and Ibrahim’s brother has vowed to track Meriam down and kill her.

Though the death sentence carried a two-year grace period, the lashes were scheduled to be administered shortly after Ibrahim had recovered from giving birth.

The next step is to get the family on a plane out of Sudan, though it is not certain whether they plan to travel to the United States.

There have been numerous cases of apostasy in recent years in Sudan, but in every instance, the execution was cancelled because the convicted people converted to Islam.

Sudan’s president, Omar Bahir, came to power in 1989 following a military coup. Bashir is an Islamist who has vowed to implement Sharia law even more strictly now that the non-Muslim south is gone.
For once, the outcome has reversed in favor of a Christian family over Islam.

As astronaut Neil Armstrong would say, “That’s one small step for man. One giant leap for mankind.”

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About the Author: Bob Taylor is a veteran writer who has traveled throughout the world. Taylor was an award winning television producer/reporter/anchor before focusing on writing about international events, people and cultures around the globe.

He is founder of The Magellan Travel Club (

His goal is to visit 100 countries or more during his lifetime.

Read more of Travels with Peabod and Bob Taylor at Communities Digital News

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