A woman in Sudan married a Christian man. She is now 8 months pregnant with their child. A court in Sudan has now convicted her of apostasy and says they will hang her after she has given birth.
“We gave you three days to recant but you insist on not returning to Islam," Judge Abbas Mohammed Al-Khalifa told Meriam Yehya Ibrahim Ishag. "I sentence you to be hanged to death."
The woman was also convicted of adultery, for which she will receive 100 lashes. The adultery charge came, even though she is married, because her marriage to a Christian man is not valid under Islamic law.
Earlier in the proceedings, the judge had spoken with the Ms. Ishag for 30 minutes, trying to convince her to recant her faith and "convert back" to Islam.
“I am a Christian and I never committed apostasy,” she told him. Ms. Ishag was not raised a Muslim. Her father was a Muslim, but he was not around when she was raised. Her mother is an Orthodox Christian. Under Sharia law, since her father was a Muslim, she is considered a Muslim and has no choice. Therefore, by claiming to be a Christian, she is considered to have recanted her Islamic faith.
It was a family member who turned Ms. Ishag in to authorities, claiming she was an apostate for marrying a Christian man.
Groups supporting both sides of the issue protested outside the court. Those supporting the decision say that Sharia law must be upheld.
“This is a decision of the law," one supporter of the verdict said.
"Why don’t you bring corruptors to the court?" a protestor challenged back. There is widespread belief that Sharia law is applied unevenly, especially when it comes to oppression of women. Meanwhile men who violate Islamic law by corrupting justice go free.
Beatings, rape, acid attacks, and killings are some of the ways Muslim men in countries under Sharia Law try to force women to comply with draconian rules. They do not just focus on adult women, but have proven to be perfectly willing to rape little girls in the name of their religion.
Sudan's selective sharia law seems to apply only to women. Shame on my country and its unethical judges. #MaryamYahya
— Nesrine Malik (@NesrineMalik) May 15, 2014
Sudan's constitution does grant its citizens the right to choose or change their religion. This is a case where Islamic law runs afoul of the law of the land. Ms. Ishag's attorneys say they will fight this case all the way to the Constitutional Court to ratify this conflict between Sharia as applied daily and the Constitution which protects their client.
In a joint statement, the embassies of the United States, Canada, Britain and the Netherlands said, “We call upon the government of Sudan to respect the right to freedom of religion, including one’s right to change one’s faith or beliefs."
Sudan is not alone in this stance against a Muslim changing his religion. Even in Saudi Arabia it is illegal and considered apostasy.
Image via YouTube