May 20th, 2014
03:24 PM ET

U.S. to Sudan: release Christian woman

By Daniel Burke, CNN Belief Blog Editor

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(CNN) - International pressure is mounting on Sudan to release a pregnant Christian woman sentenced to death for apostasy, with members of the U.S. Congress asking Secretary of State John Kerry to intervene on her behalf.

On Wednesday, a bi-partisan group of four senators introduced a resolution condemning the sentencing of Meriam Yahya Ibrahim by a court in Khartoum on May 15.

The proposed resolution encourages Sudan to respect religious rights if it wants the United States to normalize relations or lift economic sanctions on the African nation.

“I am disgusted and appalled by the inhumane verdict Ms. Ibrahim has received, simply for refusing to recant her Christian faith," said Senator Marco Rubio, a Republican from Florida and a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

"I also commend Ms. Ibrahim’s courage in refusing to renounce her Christianity, and I encourage her to remain steadfast. The world condemns her verdict and will stand by her in her moment of need," said Rubio.

The resolution was co-sponsored by Sens. Jim Inhofe, a Republican from Oklahoma; Chris Coons, a Democrat from Delaware; and Bob Menendez, a Democrat from New Jersey.

The proposed Senate resolution adds more voices to the international outcry over the situation of Ibrahim, a Christian wife and mother who is pregnant with her second child while shackled in a Sudanese jail. Ibrahim's husband, Daniel Wani, is a U.S. citizen.

In a public letter to Kerry last Friday, Sens. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire and Roy Blunt of Missouri, both Republicans, called the sentencing of Ibrahim "outrageous."

"We request your immediate action and full diplomatic engagement to offer Meriam political asylum and to secure her and her son's safe release," the senators told Kerry.

After State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Monday that the Department of Homeland Security would have to oversee any asylum application filed by Ibrahim or her family, Ayotte and Blunt followed up with a letter asking the two departments to coordinate on the matter.

"Due to the nature of this case, it is critical that there is clarity between your departments regarding the status of the family and their previous requests for assistance from the United States," the senators wrote on Wednesday.  "Any gaps in communication between the departments during this time are simply unacceptable."

The worst places in the world to be religious

Ibrahim, 27, faces a long and unpredictable legal journey, according to her lawyer and international experts.

On May 15, a court in Khartoum convicted Ibrahim of apostasy, or the renunciation of faith, and sentenced her to death.

But variety of factors - Sudan's legal system, differences between its constitution and Sharia law imposed by the sentencing judge, her pregnancy - ensure there will be no execution any time soon.

Ibrahim's lawyer argues the sentence should not stand, and an international outcry could pressure Sudan's government to intervene.

Sudan has not carried out an execution for apostasy for almost two decades, according to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom.

In 1985, a man was executed for apostasy and sedition, according to the commission, for criticizing Sudan's implementation of Shariah, or Islamic law.

Rep. Trent Franks, a Republican from Arizona and chair of the House's International Religious Freedom Caucus, echoed the U.S. senators' calls to free Ibrahim.

"Such blatant disregard for the value of human life - and religious freedom - is an indescribable disgrace," Franks said in a statement. The congressman also encouraged the State Department to get involved in Ibrahim's case.

Marie Harf, a spokeswoman for the State Department, has said the department is "deeply concerned" about the death sentence and called on Sudan to respect religious freedom and "approach this case with the compassion that is in keeping with the values of the Sudanese people."

Government officials in Canada, England the Netherlands have also condemned Ibrahim's sentencing. Andrew Bennett, Canada’s ambassador for religious freedom, said his country is "shocked and appalled" that Sudan would impose the death penalty on a pregnant woman merely for practicing her religion.

Ibrahim was born to a Sudanese Muslim father and an Ethiopian Orthodox mother. Her father left when she was 6, and she was raised by her mother as a Christian.

Her lawyer, Mohamed Jar Elnabi, said the case started after Ibrahim's brother filed a complaint against her.

The brother alleged Ibrahim had gone missing for several years and that her family was shocked to find she had married a Christian man.

Because her father was Muslim, the Sharia law court considered her to be the same. It refused to recognize her marriage to a Christian and also convicted her of adultery, with an additional sentence of 100 lashes.

Before imposing the sentence, the court gave her an opportunity to recant her Christian faith, but Elnabi said Ibrahim refused to do so, declaring: "I am a Christian, and I will remain a Christian."

Attempts by CNN to contact Sudan's justice minister and foreign affairs minister about the case have been unsuccessful.

(CNN's Tom Cohen and Mohammed Tawfeeq contributed to this report.

Why marrying for love should never mean death

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Africa • Belief • Christianity • Discrimination • Foreign policy • Interfaith issues • Islam • Islamic law • Prejudice • Religious liberty • Religious violence • Sharia

soundoff (1,194 Responses)
  1. ragansteve1

    Will Sudan really execute a pregnant Christian woman? I think this is the wrong question. They have apparently already indicated that they will not execute her while she is pregnant. The real question is, "Will so-called 'mainstream Muslims' let her die in a couple of years without their protest and effective intervention?"

    May 21, 2014 at 12:40 am |
  2. colin31714

    While widely dressed up as history's greatest peace lover-hippie, Jesus also had his moments. Like any cult leader, he would jealously protect his position among his followers. He was quite willing to tear families apart to keep his followers in line. At points in his ministry, he said, “Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.”; and, in talking about people who try to dissuade young people from following him, "If anyone causes one of these little ones–those who believe in me–to stumble, it would be better for them if a large millstone were hung around their neck and they were thrown into the sea."

    May 20, 2014 at 11:49 pm |
    • Dalahäst

      Yep. My church definitely teaches that Jesus was NOT history's greatest peace lover-hippie. He is about taking a stand and providing action.

      We discuss those other verses, too. Jesus often used metaphors to describe the importance of what he was trying to teach.

      Like in Revelations, the book describes Jesus having a sword for a tongue. That means his words are his weapons. He is covered in blood – but his own blood. Not the blood of his enemies.

      He definitely asks his followers to do things like love their enemies. Bless those who curse you. Turn the other cheek when someone strikes you. It someone steals your shirt, give him your coat.

      But if you take a stand against evil, you will not often be met with peace. More often you will see violence. Be prepared if you really want to follow Christ. He was warning his disciples they would be met with violence. And they were.

      May 21, 2014 at 12:41 am |
      • Reality

        "Nineteenth-century agnostic Robert G. Ingersoll branded Revelation "the insanest of all books".[30] Thomas Jefferson omitted it along with most of the Biblical canon, from the Jefferson Bible, and wrote that at one time, he "considered it as merely the ravings of a maniac, no more worthy nor capable of explanation than the incoherences of our own nightly dreams." [31]

        Martin Luther once "found it an offensive piece of work" and John Calvin "had grave doubts about its value."[32]

        May 21, 2014 at 2:44 am |
        • Dalahäst

          I used to hate it, and thought it should be avoided, too.

          And then I learned more about the style of writing and the nature of apocalyptic writing. It uses a lot of metaphors and symbolic language.

          May 21, 2014 at 10:44 am |
        • G to the T

          "And then I learned more about the style of writing and the nature of apocalyptic writing. It uses a lot of metaphors and symbolic language. "

          Yes but I've also learned that he was most likely (like most other prophets in the Bible) not speaking to a distant future date, but to the events, people and places he saw around him.

          May 21, 2014 at 10:52 am |
        • Dalahäst

          I don't know yet, I'm still learning about the subject. I've got a pretty good teacher that is teaching me the different views and what he thinks the texts says. I'm encouraged to remain open-minded and discern what I think what it mean. Reading it in a community of people with different understandings and opinions is also helpful. I'm glad I have that opportunity.

          May 21, 2014 at 11:20 am |
      • realbuckyball

        "We discuss those other verses, too. Jesus often used metaphors to describe the importance of what he was trying to teach.
        Like in Revelations, the book describes Jesus having a sword for a tongue. That means his words are his weapons. He is covered in blood – but his own blood. Not the blood of his enemies."

        -– I do hope you get how totally ridiculous that is. You assert something, then contradict YOURSELF. First you say HE used metaphors, then proceed to use as an example SOMEONE ELSE using metaphor. Are you SO used to that pious drivel you can't even hear yourself ? The person who wrote this one (of the hundreds of "books of revelation") was not Jesus.

        Maybe you better start "discussing" basic "who said what"., (and take a class on the ancient literature of the Near East, and find out hat they were really talking about and why and how they produced their texts. Clearly you are almost totally ignorant of the subject.

        May 21, 2014 at 2:55 am |
        • Dalahäst

          Calm down.

          I think Jesus used the sword as a metaphor. Like the author of Revelations used the sword as a metaphor.

          Jesus weapon isn't a literal sword. His weapon is his words of truth. Thus why he is later described as having a sword for a tongue.

          May 21, 2014 at 10:48 am |
    • ragansteve1

      As usual, these passages are twisted and taken totally out of context. Taking the second passage first, Jesus was simply saying that if anyone causes a child to stumble and fall away from the decision s/he has made, that person would feel the full wrath of God. In the first, He was simply saying that some would follow their consciences and believe in Him. Others would not. Thus, there would be natural division based upon the choices that people make regarding Him. Try being honest in your writing.

      May 21, 2014 at 12:45 am |
      • Dalahäst

        "Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God"

        May 21, 2014 at 1:10 am |
      • colin31714

        Oh garbage. They are not taken out of context. You have simply twisted their meaning to fit your preconceived notion of Jesus as some kind of theological superhero. But, feel free to prove me wrong. Please feel free to quote any surrounding text from either quote that you feel will demonstrate my "taking the quotes out of context."

        May 21, 2014 at 6:22 am |
        • Dalahäst

          You are starting with a premise that all Christians have a preconceived notion of Jesus as some kind of theological superhero.

          Yet, you have failed to prove that theory. It is just a strong feeling or opinion you have.

          You totally took those verses out of context. If you put them into context with what Jesus said before and after that. When you look at what Jesus is described as doing and how he had to carry that out – what you imply doesn't make sense.

          It is something you would read on some extremist anti-theist website. Which is probably where you learned everything you share with us.

          Just because your favorite anti-theist website says all Christians have a preconceived notion of Jesus as some kind of theological superhero does not mean all Christians have a preconceived notion of Jesus as some kind of theological superhero.

          May 21, 2014 at 11:25 am |
        • colin31714

          Dalahast, (the only non-vituperative thing) you said "You totally took those verses out of context. If you put them into context with what Jesus said before and after that. When you look at what Jesus is described as doing and how he had to carry that out – what you imply doesn’t make sense."

          Nonsense. But, as I said above, feel free to prove me wrong. Quote the entire passage and point out what he meant. Go on – put up or shut up.

          May 21, 2014 at 12:38 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          I'm not an expert on the subject by any means...

          ...but I'm not an idiot, either. There are many other interpretations available online and in books.

          Not one draws the same conclusions that you do.

          Yours is the unique perspective. Knowing you, your character, motivations and behavior – yours is not trust worthy. It seems like you just hate anything to do with Jesus Christ.

          Sorry. I don't agree with your opinion. You are free to hold it.

          May 21, 2014 at 12:44 pm |
    • Reality

      Not all contemporary NT scholars agree as to the historic authenticity of Matt 10: 34-36 (Luke 12: 51-53). See http://www.faithfutures.org/JDB/jdb074.html and Professor Gerd Ludemann's review in his book, Jesus After 2000 Years, pp. 349-350.

      May 21, 2014 at 2:53 am |
      • Reality

        Mark 9: 42 fails rigorous historic testing and in therefore historically nil. See for example Professor Ludemann's analysis in his book, pp. 65-66 and http://wiki.faithfutures.org/index.php?ti-tle=198_Millstone_for_Temptation

        May 21, 2014 at 3:01 am |
        • Reality

          Oops., make that "is historically nil".

          May 21, 2014 at 7:23 am |
    • believerfred

      Jesus said Colin you cause these little ones–those who believe in me–to stumble
      Do your really not understand what is being said. Do you really think all your twisting of truth is not obvious to all but the little ones. You should be ashamed that you target target the defenseless but you are not. That tells me you cannot or refuse to be separated from your Father and because you live by the sword you will die by the sword.
      Not complicated.

      May 21, 2014 at 12:58 pm |
      • Reality

        As with the previous "thumptations", Matt 26: 52 "live by the sword, die by the sword" is historically nil so your argument is moot. See for example, http://www.faithfutures.org/JDB/jdb269.html and Professor Gerd Ludemann's book, Jesus After 2000 Years.

        May 22, 2014 at 8:01 am |
        • believerfred

          Your link drops off. It is written that Jesus said it. Even if you protest authorship it is still a truthful statement today is it not?

          May 22, 2014 at 4:13 pm |
  3. bostontola

    The NT is pretty tough on apostasy as well:

    Galatians Chapter 1
    8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.

    9 As we said before, so say I now again, If any [man] preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.

    May 20, 2014 at 7:53 pm |
    • kenmargo

      This and 75 cents will get you a newspaper.

      May 20, 2014 at 8:03 pm |
    • new-man

      Jesus preached/taught the Gospel of the Kingdom of God. This is the true gospel. The apostles were entrusted by God to preserve the true gospel. "But as we were allowed of God to be put in trust with the gospel, even so we speak not as pleasing to men, but God..."

      Since no counterfeit or substi.tute gospel would do, God used Paul to warn against allowing such false teachings. Paul even pronounces a curse on any man, angel, or apostle who violates this command: "If any on preaches another gospel , let him be accursed."

      Just wanted to add more background.

      May 20, 2014 at 8:12 pm |
      • kenmargo

        This and 10 bucks will get you a chinese combo of sweet and sour chicken and pork fried rice w/eggroll.

        May 20, 2014 at 8:15 pm |
      • realbuckyball

        So that's why there were hundreds of gospels and none of the agreed, including the four you still claim say the same thing, but clearly don't. Of course, just like ALL THE OTHERS, since the beginning of time, think YOUR religion is *special*. Of course you do. Paul got his "gospel" from an hallucination, and he admitted it. Jesus never said anything about the "good news". His cult followers made that up later. Jesus thought the end-times were immanent. As an apocalyptic he thought the EARTHLY kingdom of Israel was about to be re-established ON EARTH. He was wrong, as were the apostles who asked him (in Acts), "Wilt thou Lord at this time restore the kingdom to Israel ?".
        Get over it. They all were wrong.

        May 20, 2014 at 9:10 pm |
        • new-man

          rbb: "Jesus never said anything about the "good news". Jesus thought the end-times were immanent. As an apocalyptic he thought the EARTHLY kingdom of Israel was about to be re-established ON EARTH. He was wrong,.."

          ...better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.

          May 20, 2014 at 9:26 pm |
        • kenmargo

          Thank you Realbuck for saying so eloquently what I've been trying to say. What they've been saying is worthless garbage. That christian woman can quote the same worthless verses like they have. Yet she's still threatened to get a arab haircut that starts and stops at the neck. This would be a good time for the "Christian God" to swoop in and save the day. Alas like mighty mouse, he isn't real either.

          May 20, 2014 at 9:29 pm |
        • realbuckyball

          So new man, I see you have nothing to refute it. That's what I thought. Maybe some day you will actually get an education in Biblical Studies, and stop spouting your fundi nonsense.

          May 20, 2014 at 9:34 pm |
        • new-man

          1. Then he called his twelve disciples together, and gave them power and authority over all devils, and to cure diseases. And he sent them to preach the kingdom of God, and to heal the sick.

          2. And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.

          3. Jesus answered, “My Kingdom is not an earthly kingdom. If it were, my followers would fight to keep me from being handed over to the Jewish leaders. But my Kingdom is not of this world.”
          Pilate said, “So you are a king?” Jesus responded, “You say I am a king. Actually, I was born and came into the world to testify to the truth. All who love the truth recognize that what I say is true.”

          May 20, 2014 at 9:46 pm |
        • awanderingscot

          Hey Caiaphas, ever heard of 70AD? The end times for Judaism were imminent. Don't you know ANYTHING?

          May 20, 2014 at 11:13 pm |
        • awanderingscot

          Just so you know RBB .. "But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation is near." – Luke 21:20, NKJV – (this has already happened) – "And they will fall by the edge of the sword, and be led away captive into all nations. And Jerusalem will be trampled by Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled." – Luke 21:24, NKJV (this has happened and is still happening) – "And there will be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars; and on the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring; men's hearts failing them from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. – Luke 21:25-27, NKJV (and this is what IS coming)

          May 20, 2014 at 11:30 pm |
        • hotairace

          Jesus *allegedly* answered. . .

          May 21, 2014 at 12:52 am |
        • realbuckyball

          And now old man, all you gotta do is prove he said anything. The words were "placed in his mouth" as a literary device. When the young man asked him what he had to do to gain eternal life, did he say "just wait I"ma gonna die for you" ? No. He siad "keep the commandments". Salvation wa cooked up by the cult. All scholars know the Hebrews did not believe in Heaven, and all that junk was adder later AFTER interaction with a Hellenized world view had corrupted the original message. You REALLY should take a class on the Bible some day.

          May 21, 2014 at 3:00 am |
        • realbuckyball

          Of course the ADDED that, when after the Bar Kochba revolt the end had not come. They were shocked the end-times had not arrived. So what to do ? REINTERPRET and move on and re-mix to keep the cult going. You REALLY need a course in the History of the Ancient Near East, (taught by a non presuppositionalist fundie).

          May 21, 2014 at 3:02 am |
      • James XCIX

        new-man – "God used Paul to warn against allowing such false teachings"

        No, Paul used Paul to warn against "false" teachings. Paul was a control freak who was so worried someone else's interpretation of things would become more accepted than his that he traveled all over the Mediterranean just to make sure that wouldn't happen.

        May 20, 2014 at 10:31 pm |
        • awanderingscot

          so you knew Paul? met him and got to know him? wow and congratulations. I wish it had been me and not you.

          May 20, 2014 at 11:02 pm |
        • James XCIX

          No need to be snarky. I assume you, too, think you know a little about Paul based on what he's supposed to have written. You don't think others can read the same and perhaps reach a different conclusion about him?

          May 20, 2014 at 11:17 pm |
        • awanderingscot

          Sure James. I do believe others without the Spirit can come to a different conclusion; however, they think as a carnal man and not as a spiritual son of God.

          May 20, 2014 at 11:56 pm |
        • James XCIX

          Paul thought his ideas were right and those of the other preachers were wrong. Those other preachers thought the same way, but Paul was very energetic about stifling opposing viewpoints, so his ideas came out on top in the end and are now considered the "right" ones. But success in muzzling your opponents' ideas doesn't make your own ideas right.

          May 21, 2014 at 10:51 am |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          "I do believe others without the Spirit can come to a different conclusion"

          Cult logic

          ... where an ideology or belief claims "certainty" but only through accepting that belief can one know "true" knowledge. It can't be demonstrated to non-believers until they accept the belief. And non-believers cannot be taken seriously in their criticism of the belief BECAUSE they are non-believers, and do not have access to the "true" knowledge. It is religious babble.

          May 21, 2014 at 12:11 am |
        • awanderingscot

          Cult logic

          ... where an ideology or belief such as atheism and/or evolutionism claims "certainty" but only through accepting that belief can one know "true" knowledge (junk science). It can't be demonstrated with failed dating mechanisms such as radiocarbon dating until they accept the lies of God-deniers. And God-fearing people can be taken seriously in their criticism of the theories, half-truths, and lies of government-grant stooges, BECAUSE they are true believers, and do have access to the "true" knowledge God through the Holy Spirit. Atheism is Godless babble.

          May 21, 2014 at 12:20 am |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          Wow scot,

          You are a complete loon and obviously play with less than a full set.

          May 21, 2014 at 12:29 am |
        • awanderingscot

          thanks Cheese! given your limited vocabulary i'll take that as a compliment.

          May 21, 2014 at 12:49 am |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          I was going ask you what the coorelation was between my supposed limited vocabulary and taking the ridicule I directed at you as a compliment

          ....but being as you are nutty as a fruitcake, odds are it would be complete nonsense anyway.

          May 21, 2014 at 1:16 am |
        • sam stone

          as scot and many others here have shown, theism is pseudo-godly babble

          May 21, 2014 at 6:27 am |
        • TruthPrevails1

          wandering: You'd probably do best not to insult a person when you can't even use a dictionary to figure out that your definition of Theory has nothing to do with what a Scientific Theory is...you just sound like the typical hypocrite and given how you have such large blinders on, it is safe to say Blessed has a far better education than the grade 5 level you got.

          May 21, 2014 at 7:20 am |
      • awanderingscot

        Again you are speaking the truth brother. Our Lord Jesus Christ did not have a formal education in Judaism either, He had something infinitely better, the Holy Spirit. Those who claim to have primacy in discerning scripture, such as the Pharisees, were in reality whitewashed tombs, no-nothings. Modern day Pharisees fare no better.

        May 20, 2014 at 10:56 pm |
        • thesamyaza

          modern day Pharisees are called southern baptist.

          May 21, 2014 at 12:27 am |
        • awanderingscot

          the url is religion.blogs.cnn.com ... so why are there so many hateful God-denying atheists here? (rhetorical)

          May 21, 2014 at 12:44 am |
        • awanderingscot

          The url here is religion.blogs.cnn.com ... so why are there so many hateful God-denying atheists here? (rhetorical) just curious.

          May 21, 2014 at 12:46 am |
        • realbuckyball

          Your "Lord Jesus Christ" never existed. You can provide ANY sort of proof he actually did. In fact there are many good reasons to think he didn't.

          May 21, 2014 at 3:05 am |
        • realbuckyball


          May 21, 2014 at 3:05 am |
        • realbuckyball


          May 21, 2014 at 3:06 am |
        • TruthPrevails1

          wandering: It's a belief blog. It doesn't say Christian, so why are you here? Do you not think that FAUX news would be better suited to your special brand of delusions and lack of education? I'm surprised you even know the word 'rhetorical'...did Mommy help you with that one?

          May 21, 2014 at 7:23 am |
      • hotairace

        Jesus *allegedly* taught/preached. . .

        May 21, 2014 at 12:47 am |
    • believerfred

      Paul was stirred up as Peter was slipping back into wrong teaching. Paul still had that Christian killing fire in him and in his words. After conversion I do not see any accounts of the Apostles stoning or killing for the faith. That action (peace) is in line with the way of Christ.

      May 20, 2014 at 8:21 pm |
      • kenmargo

        This and 1 buck will get you cheap gift wrapping paper from a dollar store.

        May 20, 2014 at 8:23 pm |
      • awanderingscot

        You are spot on Fred, even today the truth is more important than unity as Paul rightly showed in his rebuke of Peter. John stated the same thing adding that the Spirit shows us the truth. 'But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you know all things.' 1 John 2:20, NKJV. 'know all things' pertaining to His written word and the ability to discern deceiving spirit. We are anointed with the who Spirit abides in us.

        May 20, 2014 at 10:29 pm |
        • kenmargo

          @awanderingsc.at.................More garbage from you. Her christian faith ain't doin' her much good right now.

          May 20, 2014 at 10:40 pm |
        • awanderingscot

          trash talk from an unregenerate. we don't fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. fear Him who can kill YOUR body and YOUR soul.

          May 20, 2014 at 11:35 pm |
        • Doris

          Good grief, wandering – you're sounding like you were dropped on your head when you were little by the same person that dropped the Salero idiot on its head.

          May 21, 2014 at 3:31 am |
      • G to the T

        "Peter was slipping back into wrong teaching"

        OR Peter knew the true teachings of Jesus, Paul disagreed (though he'd never actually met him) and used his position (or his followers in his name) to chastize and/or put words in Peter's mouth.

        May 21, 2014 at 11:53 am |
    • guidedans

      Being accursed is not anything that men can do to each other. It is only something that a man can do to himself. There are numerous things that can make you accursed, and condemned to Hell. One of those things is sinning in any way. The whole point of Jesus's coming to Earth was to show that we have a way out of being accursed. Paul is just noting that those who fall away from Christ's true teaching are in effect falling back into their life of sin and condemnation.

      Your statement comparing the Christian stance on apostasy with the Islamic stance is inaccurate. The Bible does not call Christians to punish people for being apostates by making them accursed. People become accursed by denying Jesus. Some sects of Islam punish people for being apostates by murdering them. This is a different concept all together.

      May 20, 2014 at 8:56 pm |
      • realbuckyball

        Paul did not believe in hell. He thought only the saved had immortality. You made all that up. The Hebrews did not believe in hell. They thought ALL "shades" lived in Sheol, in a dormant state. I see you know nothing about the culture that produced the Bible.

        May 20, 2014 at 9:26 pm |
      • realbuckyball

        The entire "salvation" paradigm is non-Biblical. The Jews were not waiting for someone to save them from sin. The messiah was supposed to be the restored king of Israel, (the "anointed one"). Jesus didn't get the job done. A deity that requires his son to pay for sin is subject to Reality, not it's controller/creator.

        May 20, 2014 at 9:30 pm |
        • colin31714

          It never ceases to amaze me how little Christians know about their own founder (or, more accurately, the idol of their founder, their most important founder being Paul of Tarsus). Christians today believe things Jesus never believed, including things about Jesus himself. Christianity is a classic cult of personality with the odd quirk that its object is long dead.

          May 21, 2014 at 12:05 am |
        • Dalahäst

          That is kind of the point that the Bible makes. The Jews were desiring an Earthly king. But that is not what God desired for them. That is why they didn't even recognize Jesus as God and hated him. The people had become too religious about their own desires and wants.

          May 21, 2014 at 12:56 am |
      • TruthPrevails1

        If one of those things is sinning, then everyone is going to hell because no-one can claim perfection and no Christian follows the bible to the letter, unless of course you beat your children; own slaves; kill innocent people; stone gays; stop women from speaking-all those will get you a place in heaven apparently-the Christian god loves those things and condones them.

        May 21, 2014 at 7:27 am |
  4. kenmargo

    This is why I stay out of these co.ckroach countries. On the other hand, why doesn't she just pray her way out of this mess. This is why I've told my daughters to stay away from muslim men. Articles like this, give me more ammo everyday.

    May 20, 2014 at 7:35 pm |
  5. Lucifer's Evil Twin

    She looka-like a man...

    May 20, 2014 at 6:20 pm |
    • Akira

      Miss Swan??

      May 20, 2014 at 6:55 pm |
  6. Akira

    Isn't the groom Christian, also?
    Why isn't he charged with anything?

    How can she be convicted of adultery if the marriage is not recognized?

    I'll admit I know little about this, other than theocracies suck, and ignorant abide such as this happens...
    What a mess.

    May 20, 2014 at 6:18 pm |
    • Akira

      *ignorant events. Don't know what happened there.

      May 20, 2014 at 6:41 pm |
    • workingcopy12

      My understanding is that he did not convert. (Neither did she, but since her father was a Muslim, she is considered Muslim too regardless of the fact that she was raised in a Christian home.) The charge for adultery stands because (I think) she had s.ex outside of a muslim marriage (its not adultery in the "cheating" sense, but rather in the "forn.ication" sense). I can't explain why there isn't a charge against the husband–other than, hey...its the Muslim way.

      May 20, 2014 at 7:11 pm |
    • guidedans

      Hi Akira,

      I am not well versed on this, but I believe that the groom was never a Muslim. The bride, being born of a Muslim father, was considered Muslim by the Sudanese judicial system. Because she converted to a religion different from Islam, she was convicted of Apostasy. Also, I believe that the groom is a US citizen, so I do not think the same Sudanese laws apply to him.

      Anyhow, none of it is right on any level. I agree with you that theocracies are bad news. I think I may believe that they are bad for different reasons than you do however. I believe that they are bad because man is bad and men in power will use whatever tools they can (including religion) to gain more power. I am assuming you think theocracies are bad because religion is bad, but I might be wrong.

      May 20, 2014 at 7:11 pm |
      • Akira

        Hi, guidans.
        Yes, you are wrong about my reasons for thinking theocracies suck. My reasons are precisely the same as yours.

        I have no problem with religion itself. I have a problem with people distorting religion and using it for their own agenda. All faiths do this, not one is exempt.

        May 20, 2014 at 8:51 pm |
        • believerfred

          Which is the distortion; the Old Testament, the New Testament or Quran?

          May 20, 2014 at 9:00 pm |
        • Akira

          Take your choice. It's done in all three.

          May 20, 2014 at 9:36 pm |
  7. tallulah131

    Time wise, islam is about 500 years behind christianity. 500 years ago, christians were killing or torturing non-christians. To me it looks like islam is right on schedule.

    May 20, 2014 at 6:16 pm |
    • Akira

      As it was founded 600 years after Christianity, that makes sense.

      That being said, that poor woman.

      May 20, 2014 at 6:20 pm |
  8. Doris

    "Will Sudan really execute a pregnant Christian woman?"

    Who knows what they'll do in Sudan. Now as far as any outside influence goes..... well mythologically speaking, it's hard to predict what the God of Abraham would do. I guess some days for him would be like walking into a Baskin Robbins store to pick out a flavor....

    May 20, 2014 at 5:51 pm |
  9. Sheik Yerbouti

    God delights in human suffering, as evidenced every day across the globe.

    May 20, 2014 at 5:23 pm |
    • sealchan

      Google "edshu story" and read the interview with Joseph Campbell. Tell me that life, even for atheists, isn't accurately described by this story.

      May 20, 2014 at 5:37 pm |
      • Sheik Yerbouti

        I read the story.

        May 20, 2014 at 6:24 pm |
  10. Sheik Yerbouti

    The Lord works in mysterious ways.

    May 20, 2014 at 5:14 pm |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      Why do the mysterious ways invariably suck?

      May 20, 2014 at 6:25 pm |
    • kenmargo

      The lord works? If he's making minimum wage, don't expect the repubs to help him out!

      May 20, 2014 at 8:17 pm |
  11. Sheik Yerbouti

    Strange photograph. What kind of photographer would have the man sit down and have the awkwardly leaning bride over him like she is about to breast feed him in her wedding gown? They both look so uncomfortable. I would not pay for this wedding photo.

    May 20, 2014 at 5:09 pm |
    • sealchan

      The husband is confined to a wheelchair. He sits because he cannot stand.

      May 20, 2014 at 5:18 pm |
      • Sheik Yerbouti

        Why doesn't God perform a miracle and heal him? And couldn't they have lowered her down a bit so she isn't bending over him like a milk cow?

        May 20, 2014 at 5:20 pm |
        • sealchan

          Although many Christians portray God as a magic dispenser (pray for something and you will get it), I don't believe that way. I don't dispute the ackwardness of her pose. Not the best wedding photo, but I guess they both have other concerns more pressing!

          May 20, 2014 at 5:24 pm |
        • hotairace

          God doesn't like people switching cults? She/they haven't prayed hard enough? God doesn't exist?

          May 20, 2014 at 5:25 pm |
  12. realbuckyball

    Truly amazing how barbaric Islam remains. It doesn't matter if she is pardoned or not. The problem remains. Islam is the central source of a lot of the "evil" in the world. The liberals would say it's being "misinterpreted". I think not.
    The Quran does sanction this. Why is it there are no world Islamic clerics in a central PR role who can stand up publicly against this nonsense ? Do they secretly agree with it ?

    Dump religion for reason. The world would be a far better place.

    May 20, 2014 at 5:00 pm |
    • Sheik Yerbouti

      It is God's will.

      May 20, 2014 at 5:16 pm |
    • Reality

      Yes indeed the imams of Islam are a major problem. But the threat of death keeps them in line but maybe someday one or more of them will finally see the idiocy of Islam and religions in general and finally speak out.

      May 20, 2014 at 5:17 pm |
    • sealchan

      I suspect many Muslims don't agree with such punitive practices. Given how it seems that power corrupts, I would blame first the government and then the leaders of the faith for failing to protect basic human rights. A religion that fails to have an open heart and an open mind and to allow its believers to dissent is a religion that needs reform.

      May 20, 2014 at 5:22 pm |
    • sealchan

      I think organized Islam should be held accountable for not dis-associating itself from evil acts, but I wouldn't aim the critique at the spiritual tradition itself.

      May 20, 2014 at 5:26 pm |
  13. moderatedx

    Next article: "Will the Inquisition return?"

    May 20, 2014 at 4:55 pm |
  14. Vic

    Thank you Daniel Burke.

    This case begs an international outcry for justice.

    That's what we all should be concerned about, that's what it boils down to, "Life is about Life." We all can have our differences BUT NOT at the expense of human life!

    I would caution that a measure based on such Sharia Law—a flat out dangerous religious law that should be renounced—would use whatever allowed time to force the woman to recant her Christian Faith or still face death, which is by itself torture, another violation of "Human Rights." Nothing less than the dismissal of the case and freeing the woman is acceptable under "Human Rights" and "Freedom of Religion."

    The country imposes Sharia law on Muslims and non-Muslims alike and punishes acts of "indecency" and "immorality" by floggings and amputations, the commission said.

    "Conversion from Islam is a crime punishable by death, suspected converts to Christianity face societal pressures, and government security personnel intimidate and sometimes torture those suspected of conversion," said the commission appointed by the U.S. Congress and president.

    My heart shatters when I look at the beautiful wedding picture and think of what's being done to the couple.

    May 20, 2014 at 4:36 pm |
    • observer


      Yes. This is terrible. It's like they are following the rules that God set up when made all the rules.

      May 20, 2014 at 4:42 pm |
      • moderatedx

        No, they are following the rules that some man made up.

        May 20, 2014 at 4:57 pm |
        • Sheik Yerbouti

          God is vengeful.

          May 20, 2014 at 5:16 pm |
  15. Doc Vestibule

    Heresy, blasphemy and apostasy are the most absurd "crimes" man has ever dreamed up.

    May 20, 2014 at 4:30 pm |
    • sealchan

      I think that I might agree with this statement. As a believer, I can find great value in my beliefs without any need to impose them on others much less make of them a crime. In fact, I would say that those who declare them a crime outside membership to the religious organization as committing a crime. I would go further and say that religious organizations that cannot allow dissent suffer from something I could call a failure to promote a social democracy, a free exchange of ideas which can be addressed through a mutually agreed upon method of verification. It is time that religions live up to the same standard of truth that science does.

      May 20, 2014 at 5:01 pm |
  16. Don

    Whether due to international pressure or an unexpected fit of reason, I believe (I hope) Sudan's government will relent, using this as an opportunity to show the world how "merciful" they are.

    May 20, 2014 at 4:21 pm |
  17. ragansteve1

    The fact is that no one really knows whether this nation will execute her or not. Having said that, it is absurd in the 21st Century to have anyone killed or even under sentence of death for their religious beliefs. This is more like the middle ages, from say the 7th through the 11th centuries. Sudan needs to move beyond those centuries.

    May 20, 2014 at 4:14 pm |
    • observer

      Sudan could use someone like Jesus to come along and throw out most of the immoral nonsense preached in its religion like Jesus supposedly did.

      May 20, 2014 at 4:20 pm |
      • moderatedx

        Or maybe ditch all the mumbo-jumbo and dogma and just embrace common sense.

        May 20, 2014 at 4:56 pm |
  18. Camden

    Meriam's husband clearly stated that his wife was raised Christian by a Christian mom.Why then is Meriam on trial, for being a Christian and refusing to convert to Islam???

    This case lacks legal merit and needs to be disposed as being frivolous, lacking merit.

    May 20, 2014 at 4:06 pm |
    • ragansteve1

      I suspect, although I am not certain, that it is the father's religion that is recognized and that only. So, whether she was a Christian from her mother's teaching or not, she is considered a Muslim. Again, 11th century logic.

      May 20, 2014 at 4:16 pm |
  19. Dyslexic doG

    No, Sudan will not execute a pregnant Christian woman.

    May 20, 2014 at 4:04 pm |
    • Alias

      No, they will wait until she has the child then beat her to death.
      100 lashes will do that.

      May 20, 2014 at 4:33 pm |
  20. Alias

    It should be:
    "Will a theocracy execute a woman for heresy?"

    May 20, 2014 at 3:37 pm |
    • igaftr

      Or more accurately, Wil a woman be executed for the capital crime of converting from islam to christianity...a CRIME and punishment she knew before she converted. She is a criminal in that country and deserving of the punishment. Do not do the crime if you can't do the time.

      May 20, 2014 at 3:56 pm |
      • new-man

        When wisdom enters your heart, and knowledge is pleasant to your soul, discretion will preserve you, understanding will keep you to deliver you from the way of evil, from the man who speaks perverse things.

        May 20, 2014 at 4:04 pm |
        • igaftr

          You certainly do speak perverse things, but in this case, she knew it was a capital crime, and willingly did it anyway. She accepted the punishment when she broke the law. I am not saying I agree with the law, but you act as if their government did this to her...she did it to herself. I have no pity for her since she accepted the punishment as soon as she commited the crime.

          May 20, 2014 at 4:08 pm |
        • samsstones

          Ridiculous. But if you could get Topher to buy into that BS maybe he wouldn't be so obnoxious.

          May 20, 2014 at 4:10 pm |
        • new-man

          Ibrahim was born to a Sudanese Muslim father and an Ethiopian Orthodox mother. Her father left when she was 6, and she was raised by her mother as a Christian.

          Because her father was Muslim, the Sharia law court considered her to be the same. It refused to recognize her marriage to a Christian and also convicted her of adultery, with an additional sentence of 100 lashes.

          Before imposing the sentence, the court gave her an opportunity to recant her Christian faith, but Elnabi said Ibrahim refused to do so, declaring: "I am a Christian, and I will remain a Christian."

          May 20, 2014 at 4:17 pm |
        • igaftr

          So you are now a lawyer in Sudan as well as being a "counselor"...good for you.

          She is considered Islamic by LAW, and refused to denounce christianity...That crime is punishable by death in that country, so she accepted her death sentance when she refused to denounce her christianity.

          It just amazes me how ridiculous BOTH sides of this are....on one side...we must kill her beacuse of her beliefs...the other side...she must be saved because of her beliefs... and both christianity and islam are based on sand and smoke....complete silliness with MAJOR ramifications.

          May 20, 2014 at 4:27 pm |
        • Alias

          So newman and igaftr
          You two would have thrown Rosa Parks off the bus, right?
          You do not see that it is fundamentally wrong to punish people for their beliefs?
          BTW – we do not choose what we believe. We do not believe things that are obviously false, and it takes a neurosis to do otherwise.

          May 20, 2014 at 4:30 pm |
        • awanderingscot

          'For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.' – 2 Timothy 1:7, NKJV – brother continue to fan the flame and ignore the gnashing of the teeth, they're only here doing the will of their father Beelzebub.

          May 20, 2014 at 4:33 pm |
        • new-man

          right back at you Friend. I've copied down some of your posts, because as you know it's the same Spirit of God that dwells within us – the Spirit of Wisdom.

          Blessings and keep preaching the gospel, even if its just the stones and trees that are listening, because ALL things will give glory to Him who is Most Glorious.

          May 20, 2014 at 4:37 pm |
        • igaftr

          Ahhh scot d hartwell back to calim I am the son of a demon...nice way to bear false witness. There is no reason for you to lie about people, scot...and your satan inspired bible tells you that.

          May 20, 2014 at 4:39 pm |
        • awanderingscot

          As you now know you will not intimidate me and i should be flattered you actually took the time to look me up, but unlike you I've already subdued my pride so you won't be able to appeal to either pride nor to fear. You must know that I am a servant to my lord and master Jesus Christ and I am not intimidated by nameless, faceless cowards such as you.

          May 20, 2014 at 4:51 pm |
        • igaftr

          scot d hartwell
          You must know that I am a servant to my lord and master Jesus Christ and I am not intimidated by nameless, faceless cowards such as you.

          I know you THINK that but that is completely baseless. You have no idea if there are any gods and belief is not knowledge.

          Continuing with name calling and bearing false witness again I see. I have a name. I have a face. I am just not stupid enough to put the info out there. And calling me a coward....why would you say that. I have never been a coward, but I am also not an idiot.

          May 20, 2014 at 4:57 pm |
        • new-man

          you are indeed both a coward and an idiot, not to mention extremely juvenile in your behavior. asking for some self-reflection would be asking too much, so perhaps someone can explain your silly attempt at intimidation by continuously posting someone's name.

          May 20, 2014 at 5:02 pm |
        • igaftr

          ahh...more ad hominem from someone who thinks that he has a personal savior...

          HE posted his name as soon as he posted with the same name he posts all over the net with. Since HE did not bother to take the time to be anonymous, there is no reason to treat him as if he was smart enough to remain anonymous. A simple google search for awanderingscot will show you a great deal of his info, but since he doesn't care to be anonymous, I have no reason to treat him anonymously.

          I have never been a coward, and I have an IQ well above the average, so your claim I am an idiot is as baseless as your beliefs.

          May 20, 2014 at 5:22 pm |
      • workingcopy12

        igaftr...do you really believe this? Are you so void of compassion and a sense of fairness and justice that you shrug your shoulders (or is it accept with joy?) the fact that someone will be put to death for nothing more than believing something different than the power structure? Pitiful. Heartless. Cruel. Evil. Pathetic.

        May 20, 2014 at 4:19 pm |
        • igaftr

          I am not heartless, but this woman is in violation of the law. The law is wrong in my opinion, but my opinion means nothing in Sudan. Fact...by their law...she is in violation, and she knew the consequences of her actions when she refused to denounce her belief.
          I think this shows just how dangeroous baseless beliefs are, but as an American, I have no say in what they do to their citizens. It is truly a shame when ancient baseless beliefs interfere with humanity, but this case shows it clearly.
          There are many in this country that believe I have earned death for simply NOT believing in their myths...fortunately they are not the ones in power.

          Why are you christians not up in arms about women in Morroco being forced to marry their ra.p.ists ( which is still practiced)....oh that's right...it is right out of the bible so it is OK....horrible and completely abhorrent, but since it is based on the bible, it is OK, right?

          Trying to apply OUR standards on other countries ....you simply don't have that right.

          By your way of thinking, a sudanese man could impose HIS laws on you in America...their laws are archaic and brutal, but they are based on their beliefs ( not reality...beliefs) Sharia law is ridiculous...just as ridiculous as if our laws were based on the bible. There is a reason christian theocracies have always failed.
          I of course think they should not kill anyone for what they think, but in their country, that is their law. I do not have to repect their laws, nor their country...but I do have to respect we have no right to interfere if they choose to not allow it.

          May 20, 2014 at 4:53 pm |
        • workingcopy12

          "my way of thinking"? How could you possibly know how I think, unless you took that out of the atheist manual–"paint, always, with a broad stroke to encompass as many people as possible–truth is not relevant." (For the record, no woman should have to marry her rap.ist–here or any other country–and that isn't contrary to my Christian belief.)

          BTW–she didn't convert...she was raised a Christian. Her oppressors are merely saying she did because her father was a muslim, which in their wicked little world, makes her a muslim too. The fix was in.

          May 20, 2014 at 5:27 pm |
        • tallulah131

          Realistically speaking, Sudan is a sovereign nation, and as such it is allowed to enforce it's own laws, even if we find those laws to be repulsive. It's all the more reason to respect and protect our own government, where all beliefs (even lack of belief) are treated with equality.

          May 20, 2014 at 6:13 pm |
      • TruthPrevails1

        However she didn't convert. Her father left when she was young, he was Muslim. She was raised by her Christian Mother as a Christian. She has not committed any 'crime' here, they have merely assumed that she has. She also face 100 lashes for marrying a Christian man. There is simply no justification for this and with any luck Amnesty International will secure her freedom.

        May 20, 2014 at 4:24 pm |
      • Alias

        No, I think I had it right.
        The specific religions are irrelevant, and you are barbaric.

        May 20, 2014 at 4:42 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      What did Tomás de Torquemada do with the apostate Jews and Muslims I wonder?

      May 21, 2014 at 2:22 am |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.