Meriam Ibrahim Update

I was extremely pleased to see that Meriam Ibrahim has been released, and is safe in the hands of the United States embassy in Khartoum, a “well guarded facility”.   Hopefully, this means that she and her family will be able to leave Sudan very soon, and that they will finally be out of danger.  Right now, she is still unable to leave, as she waits for the charges to be dropped.  But, let’s imagine and be hopeful that that will happen soon.

This brings me back to a few points I made earlier.

First, to all of the media people who will be looking to make a quick buck off of Mrs. Ibrahim – give her a break.  Let her have time to process what she has been through.  I know she is going to be contacted by all sorts of agents looking to turn her story into a book, or a movie, or to get her on American television where she could tell her story – but don’t do it.  Leave her alone!  She has just experienced an incredibly difficult few months, and she needs to be left alone to process everything she has experienced.  Don’t turn her into a poster child for your brand of Christianity.  Don’t try to make her into a modern Christian heroine.

Don’t exploit her.

Even as I write it, I know that it’s pretty fruitless to write.  Meriam will be approached by all manners of people – Christian and otherwise – wanting to exploit her story, and she will likely go that route, even though it would most likely be the worst possible thing she could do.

It pains me, because people would still eat up her story if she just waited a year to tell it.  And this is what she should do – take a year, find a place where she and her family can find recovery and nourishment for their souls, and plot out her next steps prayerfully.  A place where people will take the time to come to know her, to listen to her unload about the brutal things she experienced at the hands of her countrymen, what she experienced as she was tempted to just give them what they wanted.  Was it genuine devotion to Christ that pulled her through?  Was it a stubborn determination to not give them what they wanted?  She will desperately need to work through these issues before she is thrust into the limelight of The 700 Club or The Voice.  Before her biography hits the bookstores.  Before her biopic airs at a movie-of-the-week on NBC.

Give her time, American media.  She deserves it.  Especially considering that you just about ignored the fact that she was going through the experience as she was undergoing it.  Oh, wait, did I say that?  But isn’t it true?  Almost daily, I searched for someone in the United States media talking about Meriam’s experience, and almost daily I was rewarded with zero.  The British press was all over the story, but it seemed like so much less than an afterthought with the big United States media outlets.  It was pathetic, and now you will probably be all over her now that she’s free, wanting to get your pathetic spin on her story.

It’s just really irritating.

Second, let’s all agree to be in prayer for Meriam’s relationship with her husband, Daniel Wasi.  This sort of experience can easily have one of two results:  the couple is drawn closer together because of the shared difficult experience; or the couple can be pulled apart as one member feels slighted or left behind as everyone wants a piece of the other.  Let’s pray for their marriage to hold strong, even in the face of the challenges they will face in the future.

I am celebrating tonight, knowing that Meriam is safely out of the hands of her captors.  Now, I pray that she and her family will be able to safely navigate the waters of her freedom.

#prayformeriam

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This was ridiculous a long time ago, Sudan. Now it’s just embarrassing.

After joyfully reporting yesterday that Meriam Ibrahim had finally been released by someone within the Sudanese government with some common sense, it’s now being reported that she and her family were detained once again in the airport in Khartoum as they tried to leave the country, and that she has been re-arrested.

Sigh.

The report discusses that different forces within Sudan’s government are reacting in diametrically different ways, exhibiting spectacular displays of disunity and disorganization, with a poor innocent mother, father, and their children caught in the middle.

Government of Sudan, if your goal was to demonstrate your expertise and modernity, you have failed.  Dramatically and fantastically.  The world is slapping our collective foreheads at what you have put this family through.

And so, here we go again.  #PrayforMeriam

Meriam NOT to be freed after all. Maybe.

If this were any other situation,  I would think that perhaps the government of Sudan was angling for publicity, trying to keep itself in the news.  You would think – however – that they would want this issue to just go away, and that the best way to save face would be to joyfully release Meriam and say it was all a big mistake.

On Saturday, that’s what the world had thought was happening, when an official of the Sudanese government declared that Meriam would be freed within days, and the I joined the rest of the sane world in rejoicing this surprising turn of events.

But, today, the Sudanese government came out saying that the officials comments had been taken out of context.

Out of context, eh?  Let’s see.  On Saturday, Abdullah Alazreg, a foreign ministry under-secretary, told the media that Ibrahim “will be freed within days in line with legal procedure that will be taken by the judiciary and the ministry of justice.”  Okay, so they did leave themselves a loophole, because you could argue that the “in line with legal procedure” could mean anything.

So, we’re back to the first square.

Meriam’s lawyers have said that they see this as a positive thing – that the government has been “rattled” by the pressure being put on them worldwide.  So, let’s keep up the pressure!  If you haven’t signed the petition, then do so RIGHT NOW!  Write your government representative and demand that they take an official stance on this situation.  Does your home country have any companies that do business in Sudan?  If so, write to them and make the same demand.

And most importantly, continue to pray for Meriam and her family, that God would protect her and bring her back to her husband safely.

Screen Shot 2014-06-03 at 6.45.07 AMAnd on a sidenote, which is actually a note that should be up front and center in the U.S., why is it that when you Google Meriam Ibrahim, you don’t find any American news stories popping up, except for one Christian website, and a mention in U.S. News and World Report?  It’s overwhelmingly being covered by the British media, and shluffed aside by the American media.  Is that because the Obama administration is giving it such little notice?  They can release five of the most dangerous men in Guantanamo, but not actively and openly try to secure the release of the wife of an American citizen?

In the U.S.  News and World Report article, the writer mentions that Oklahoma senator James Inhofe has written to John Kerry, requesting that Meriam be granted political asylum, and asking Kerry to use the influence of the State Department to secure Meriam release.

This would be good move by the current administration.

 

Breaking News! Meriam to be Freed!

It’s still yet to be reality, but reports are coming out that the Sudanese government has committed to release Meriam Ibrahim, the young woman who was recently condemned to death for the “crime” of apostasy.

The story created world-wise outrage, and the sentencing was roundly condemned by everyone who has common sense and decency.  A few days ago, Meriam gave birth, which meant that the clock to her execution had started ticking.

It looks like the pressure put on the government of Sudan by most of the rest of the world was felt, and if the Sudan follows through, we may be celebrating Meriam’s reunion with her family in just a few days.

Now, we need to start praying for Meriam in some pretty specific ways:

1)  That Meriam will not be overwhelmed by the fame she will be given because of her experience.

2)  That Meriam will have wise counsel around her guiding her through the coming months.

3)  That God might use Meriam’s testimony and her story to bring glory to Himself and not to Meriam and her family.

4)  That He will protect her from anyone who may wish her harm because of the reason she was sentenced to death.

So, just because she’s (hopefully) being freed, we shouldn’t stop praying for Meriam and her family!

Meriam Ibrahim Update

“God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him.”  John Piper

As we continue praying for Meriam to experience true justice and for the Sudanese government to do the right thing (according to international law and their own constitution) and release her, we should be praying that God would continue comforting this young woman, and helping her to find her satisfaction in Him, first and foremost.  I can’t begin to imagine what this poor woman is experiencing, but I know that if she is finding her delight in Him, she can overcome.

That being said, please continue to pray for Meriam’s immediate and unconditional release, and continue to spread the word about what she’s experiencing at the hands of these so-called men of justice.

Here is some new information:

According to Fox News, Meriam’s husband Daniel Wani is in Khartoum working to try and appeal the ruling from Thursday, that sentenced Meriam to death for apostasy.  Daniel was able to visit Meriam for the first time on Monday, and found that his eight-month pregnant wife was being kept with shackles on her legs.  [Class-act move, Sudan – shackling a very pregnant woman.  Do you really think she’s going to run away?]

Also, the pressure coming from all over the world might be starting to affect the way authorities in Sudan are approaching this case.  Fox reports:

In addition, a statement from several attorneys associated with the Sudanese high court was released Monday, calling for an appeal of Ibrahim’s death sentence.

Another bit of information that has been revealed is that Meriam first came to the attention of authorities back in August, and it was because of members of her own father’s classy family.  They apparently complained to authorities that Meriam had been originally named “Afdal” (which is a Muslim name – which meant that she had been born Muslim) and that she had converted to Christianity and married a Christian man, and was therefore committing both adultery and apostasy.

She is in this situation because of her own family – on her father’s side – which is the side that truly “matters” to these so-called men of justice in Sudan.

So, let’s be praying for Meriam – that God would be continually revealing Himself to her in her captivity, and that He – through the Holy Spirit – would influence the authorities to release Meriam and allow her to live.

Finally, you can click here to sign a petition demanding that the Sudanese government release Meriam from prison.

#prayformeriam

 

Please Pray for Meriam Yahia Ibrahim in Sudan

Reports are flying around the internet about a 27 year old pregnant young woman in Sudan who yesterday was sentenced to 100 lashes for the crime of adultery and death by hanging for the crime of apostasy by the judge at the Public Order Court in El Haj Yousif Khartoum.

Meriam was condemned for adultery, because she is married to a Christian man, and Sharia law doesn’t recognize marriage between a Muslim and a person of another religion.  The death sentence was given for apostosy because she refuses to recant her Christian faith and convert to (or “return to”) Islam.

Building of the Supreme Court in Khartoum (photo Elaph)

Building of the Supreme Court in Khartoum (photo Elaph)

One report documents that Meriam, eight months pregnant, stood before the court yesterday and calmly told the judge, “I am a Christian and I never committed apostasy.”  In response, the judge handed down the sentence of death. 

BBC reports:  “We gave you three days to recant but you insist on not returning to Islam. I sentence you to be hanged to death,” the judge told the woman, AFP reports.

According to multiple websites, Meriam Yahia Ibrahim’s father was Muslim, and her mother was Ethiopian Orthodox Christian.  According to Sharia law, this means that Meriam is recognized as Muslim.  However, since Meriam’s father left them when she was six years old, her mother raised her as a Christian.  Now she faces death for the only faith she has ever known.

And it’s 2014.

And Meriam’s situation makes most of our problems seem pretty petty and small, too.

I’m not sure what the internet can do to help this courageous woman, but I’m certain that praying for her is a good start, and helping to spread the word.  Please share this story with your friends on whatever social media you use (#prayformeriam), and remember Meriam Yahia Ibrahim and her family in your prayers.

Also, Meriam’s husband is an American citizen, and he had been trying to get her to America when she was arrested.   If you are an American, contact your congressman or representative, and request that they also do something to put pressure on the Sudanese government.  This woman is the wife of an American, and should be protected by the United States.

Sources:

Christianity Today

news.au.com

bbc.com

breitbart.com