Pregnant Christian Woman Married to U.S. Citizen Sentenced to Death in Sudan

Faith J. H. McDonnell directs the Institute on Religion and Democracy’s Religious Liberty Program and Church Alliance for a New Sudan and is the author of Girl Soldier: A Story of Hope for Northern Uganda’s Children (Chosen Books, 2007).


jkSudanese doctor Meriam Yahya Ibrahim, 27, a graduate of the University of Khartoum Medical School, is the beautiful wife of an American citizen, Daniel Wani, originally from South Sudan. Their 20-month old son, Martin, whose sweet smile shines from a recent photograph, is soon to be joined by a baby brother or sister, as Ibrahim is nine months’ pregnant. Soon after Ibrahim and Wani were wed, in December 2011, Wani applied to his government, the United States government, for a spousal visa to bring his wife to America. If there were justice in the world, today the Wani family would be awaiting the birth of a new baby while enjoying the gradual coming of spring in New Hampshire.

There is, however, no justice in the world. Wani and Ibrahim remained in Khartoum and waited for Ibrahim’s visa to be approved, but up until today, this American citizen has not received permission to bring home his wife – and now also his son, who is by virtue of his father a U.S. citizen.  “I have tried to apply for papers to travel to the USA with my wife and child, but the American Embassy in Sudan did not help me,” Wani told Morning Star News. And on Thursday, May 15, Ibrahim was sentenced to be hanged for apostasy.

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Ibrahim has been a Christian her whole life. She was brought up, first in western Sudan, and then in Khartoum, in the Ethiopian Orthodox faith of her Ethiopian mother. But she had the misfortune of having a Sudanese Muslim father. Even though her father abandoned the family when she was 6 years old, in the eyes of Shariah, she is a Muslim. Therefore, she is an apostate for not practicing Islam. Unbelievably, she and little Martin, have been incarcerated since February at Omdurman Women’s Prison in Khartoum.

While Ibrahim was waiting for the U.S. government to grant her a spousal visa, Amnesty International, which is highlighting Ibrahim’s case, says that a distant relative accused her of adultery and reported her to the authorities in August 2013. Ibrahim’s marriage to Wani, a South Sudanese Christian, is not recognized under Shariah. Ibrahim then attempted to defend herself by explaining that she was not a Muslim. This past February she provided to the court her marriage certificate that listed her as a Christian, and the location of the wedding as a church in Khartoum. But this resulted in the young wife and mother being charged with apostasy. The charges fall under Sudan’s Shariah-based Criminal Code, Articles 126 (apostasy) and 146 (adultery). The apostasy sentence carries a punishment of flogging – 100 lashes.

Because of his infidel status, Wani is not recognized as the father of his own children. It’s bad enough that Wani’s parental rights have been violated by the Islamist regime in Khartoum, but less expected has been the lack of support that he has received from the U.S. Embassy in Khartoum. He revealed to Morning Star News that the U.S. Embassy in Khartoum expressed “no interest” in helping the family when his wife was arrested and that they have demanded a DNA test from Wani to prove he is the father of Martin before they will attempt to help the toddler.

“I will have to take a DNA sample in Khartoum, then send it to the USA for testing,” Wani said. “I have provided wedding documents and the baby’s birth certificate, and doors were closed on his face. My son is an American citizen living in a difficult situation in prison,” he declared sadly.

Wani has been prevented from seeing his wife and child since her incarceration, but reports that she has not received proper medical care for complications for her pregnancy. According to Morning Star News, “Ibrahim’s nightmare has included denial of bail, insufficient medical care for both her and her unborn child, beatings in prison, and a U.S. Embassy that has offered little help.” Morning Star News added that a prison guard has mistreated Ibrahim and not allowed visitations or medical help, and Wani informed them that “a Muslim woman in the jail has incited other Muslims to make life difficult for her.”

According to Sudanese human rights activist Safwan Abdalmoniem of the Hardwired organization, the Christian woman’s death sentence, pronounced by Judge Abbas Mohammed Al-Khalifa, came after a three-day period given to her by Khartoum’s criminal court to attempt to persuade her to renounce her Christian faith and convert to (or as they phrase it “return to”) Islam, a process referred to as istitabah in Arabic. The African Center for Justice and Peace Studies revealed that the court sent representatives of several Islamic organizations, including Munazzamat al-Da’wa al-Islamiia, which is affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood, to ‘counsel’ Ibrahim on her faith.

According to Middle East Concern, the constant harassment and pressure of the Muslim groups proved fruitless, though. Like untold martyrs before her, on Thursday Ibrahim calmly told the judge that she would not renounce her faith, that she was a Christian and always had been. Independent Online noted that Judge Al-Khalifa addressed Ibrahim by the Muslim name Adraf Al-Hadi Mohammed Abdullah, “We gave you three days to recant but you insist on not returning to Islam. I sentence you to be hanged to death.”

Reports from the sentencing indicate that the judge instructed that her execution be carried out two years after the birth of her child. The flogging, however, will take place soon after she gives birth. Morning Star News reported that Ibrahim’s attorneys will file an appeal of the sentence on Sunday (May 18). This will put off execution of any part of the sentence, including the flogging, until there is a ruling.

At the news of the death sentence given to the wife of an American citizen because of her Christian faith, the U.S. State Department’s deputy spokesperson, Marie Harf, released a statement indicating that the U.S. was “deeply disturbed” by the court’s ruling in the Sudan “Apostasy Case.” The rest of the statement is equally tepid. And the statement matches, almost word for word, including the pathetically passive “we understand that the court sentence can be appealed,” a statement issued by the U.S. Embassy in Khartoum on Monday, following the initial pronouncement of the death and flogging sentences.

Both the State Department and U.S. Embassy statements “call upon the Government of Sudan to respect the right to freedom of religion.” They also appear to appeal to the Islamists’ better angels, calling on the Sudanese legal authorities, “to approach this case with the compassion that is in keeping with the values of the Sudanese people.” Good luck with that.

What is needed immediately is for pressure on the Obama Administration, particularly the State Department, and on the U.S. Congress, to respect not only Ibrahim’s right to freedom of religion, but to respect the rights of Wani and his son, and the coming baby, American citizens all. The U.S. government must act now to reunite Ibrahim and her son with Wani and to bring the family back to the United States.

Ibrahim’s attorney said today, “Meriam is very encouraged by the international support she is receiving from the international community. She hopes that people stand with her and her family until she gets her freedom.”

Perhaps if the United States government will approach this case with the compassion that is in keeping with the values long held by its citizens, this little family can finally get to their home in New Hampshire, the state whose motto is “Live Free or Die.”

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  • objectivefactsmatter

    I wish I could say this surprises me. Our president in theory would face the same problem. He’s too busy talking about “systemic racism” in America to worry about an “apostate” getting murdered in Sudan who by all rights should have her visa already. I guess he’s also too worried about how to spring alien criminals from US jails that have no visas or any right to be in the USA.

    So…who does he care about? He wants to aid enemies of our nation and persecute those that love the US constitution.

  • steph

    this sickens me. that’s not even in the Koran bible. witch Islam faith is based on. i will pray for her and her family. i beleive in Jesus Christ

    • Christoper Logan

      The Sahih ahadith call for the death of apostates.

    • bob smith

      You are wrong. Yes, it is in their holy book of terror that death is to those muslims converting from their religion of terror.

      You are right believing in Him.

    • Mo86

      Please do not call the Koran the Bible. They are two different books.

      And yes, horrors like these are all over the Koran, as well as in the life of their child rapist, warlord “prophet”, Mohammad.

      It’s a demonic religion and it needs to be banned.

    • Edward Phillips

      Truth exposed http://www.chick.com/reading/t… Is Allah like you Muslim

    • Paula Morales Barrow

      Yes, Steph, we need to pray but also take action, I have created the petition below. Could you please sign and share to help me to spread the word- this needs to be stopped!
      https://secure.avaaz.org/en/petition/President_Omar_alBashir_Release_Meriam_Yehya_Ibrahim_and_revoke_the_court_verdict_in_Haj_Yousef

  • catherineinpvb

    One has only to consider Obama’s ‘Muslim sympathies’. . .and as well ,the interpretation of ‘Leadership’ as in Benghazi – when American lives were threatened, to get the ugly picture. as to what we can expect from Obama.

  • notme123

    this administration wants to give amnesty to millions of illegals but won’t allow a US citizen to bring his wife and child, a legal citizen of the US, into this country, shamefull!

  • kevin mcmahon

    Can we get this lady out? I understand they will allow her to have her baby and then hang her ! Demonic butchers!!

  • emptorpreempted

    American citizenship today means about as much as citizenship in the Roman Empire circa ad 470.

  • http://libertyandculture.blogspot.com/ Jason P

    This story was a lead story on CNN. This is another opportunity to expose Islam. It’s not an outlier but part of a pattern. This goes beyond the couple, this is the norm in many Islamic nations. It’s time to demand an open discussion: “what’s wrong with Islam?”

    • bob smith

      You would be more apt to conclude that it’s about time that an open discussion were had on ‘all that is wrong with the religion of terror’ and thus, stop the importation of this decease. If the same standards as applied to the importation of produce, meats etc., we’re applied to everything that relates to the religion of terror then ANYTHING MUSLIM = ISLIME MEANS NO!

      This is the open discussion needs be had…yesterday.

      • http://libertyandculture.blogspot.com/ Jason P

        Yes, bob, it’s long overdue. We’re way beyond the ignorant masses who are still in a 9/12 mindset, dazed and puzzled with a WTF look on their face.

        Still, we can’t just jump to the answer; most aren’t ready. We have to educated, step by step. It’s painful when we’ve done our homework and others recite mindless platitudes.

      • Paula Morales Barrow

        Hi Bob,
        I can’t agree more..!

        Please sign and share to help me to spread the word- this needs to be stopped!

        https://secure.avaaz.org/en/petition/President_Omar_alBashir_Release_Meriam_Yehya_Ibrahim_and_revoke_the_court_verdict_in_Haj_Yousef

        • bob smith

          In good conscience I refuse to be associated with the ‘rule by mob lynching’ mentality of avaaz in its totality.

          The premise of your site is appalling that according to you anything can be voiced down no matter whether the cause is valid or not. Though the actions of muslims in showing the world their religion of terror is in humane your website helped spawn people such odumbo, the master community organizer who gave these savages their convictions.

          Bugger off!

          • Paula Morales Barrow

            Hi Bob, first of all, it’s not “my” website. I consider Avaaz very far away from what you mentioned as “‘rule by mob lynching’. It’s a bit of a shame that you got so defensive about something that was just a suggestion. Avaaz has been very good to lots of people worldwide. This is my last message to you, I have no interest to argue with you or with anybody. All that I am trying to do is to help. I wish you all the best with your believes and convictions since I actually respect yours and everyone else(which doesn’t mean I share it)
            Cheers

          • bob smith

            My apologies in naming the site as yours. I stand by what I said. Community activism as it is practiced in this day and age is exceptionally dangerous in that spurious, unfounded nonsense can be promoted by anyone with an agenda. I noticed there was a petition to halt the Keystone pipeline therein. Proof in point.

            Best of luck.

          • Paula Morales Barrow

            Sorry , I have said that I was not going to reply, however, you got me thinking…could you send me the link to the petition to halt the Keystone pipeline therein that you mentioned?
            Thanks Bob

          • bob smith

            no worries Paula. if you click on your posted link, then just click on the sites homepage, scroll through the headline cause du jours you will see 6 dots in that their petition is in full swing.

            Just an fyi, do you have any clue how much billionaire dollars are behind that petition> if not, think Warren Buffet, stock market billionaire and the largest owner of rail lines and railroad companies who make hundreds of millions of dollars shipping oil via rail; think Tom Steyer…a hedge fund billionaire who owns interests in solar and pipeline projects.

            bottom line, the site you referenced is a sewer hole by which the rule of ignorant mobs financed by billionaires who own competing interests will buy what remains of democracy.

            http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2014/04/the-epic-hypocrisy-of-tom-steyer.php .

    • Edward Phillips

      The truth

      http://www.chick.com/reading/t… Is Allah like you muslim

    • Paula Morales Barrow

      I agree Jason!

      Please sign and share to help me to spread the word- this needs to be stopped!

      https://secure.avaaz.org/en/petition/President_Omar_alBashir_Release_Meriam_Yehya_Ibrahim_and_revoke_the_court_verdict_in_Haj_Yousef

  • Martin Grimes

    I heard this dreadfully sad story on NPR yesterday afternoon and was shocked that they were airing a story that portrayed Islam for what it is! A plague!
    I pray to God they get help. Even if it is a P.R. stunt.

  • Disturbed

    if only she were a violent jihadist from Somalia, she would be fast tracked straight into the USA.

  • SoCalMike

    I truly wish the US State Department parasites responsible for this receive a horsewhipping. God knows they deserve it.
    The State Dept parasites let any jihadi in here but victims of jihad, forget about it.

  • Mo86

    What barbarians these Muslims are!

    How can Muslims wake up day after day, witness or participate in monstrous acts like jailing pregnant women and their toddlers or flogging women who’ve just given birth – people who’ve done nothing other than claim a different religion than theirs – and never once question, “Hm. Maybe I am not serving God, after all.”

    This savagery needs to stop. This death cult needs to be BANNED in every civilized country!

    Enough already!

    • Davros11

      Correction, they need to be wiped out! No more kids gloves, just start wiping them out, or better yet force them to convert to atheism, this way we won’t be blamed for them becoming Christians

      • Edward Phillips

        Truth exposed http://www.chick.com/reading/t… Is Allah like you Muslim …Truth is not confused .
        .For atheist it Takes more Faith to have the belief that no life without any abilities and without knowledge produces all life that absolute absurdity .The evolutionist say it not about how life began, but then they reject any answer for how it began if God is the answer given…Evolution is fool effort to close their eye’s to God the cause of life… By the way look around the Atheist are all day long trying to fight against even a cross in a grave yard .For their no belief in God they sure get upset at what they say is nothing .By the way those that then claim Aliens created life .Those aliens still need a creator.They mock what God did in the bible but love the accidental without purpose ,without information,without knowledge life producing itself all by some act of magical mistakes and plunders in time . Yes it’s truth http://www.chick.com/reading/tracts/0059/0059_01.asp The Word made flesh … Born of a virgin .

        • evie

          You need education of what an atheist is. Most do not care about a cross in a graveyard. We just don’t want religion shoved down our throats, nor do we believe aliens created life. Where do you get your information from? You can’t even produce evidence of your bible being true. If it wasn’t for religion this would not be happening. Get that through your head.

          • American1969

            The Bible and Christianity aren’t about proof. They’re about faith.
            The proof is all around you. It will also be evident on Judgment Day.

        • Paula Morales Barrow

          Hi Edward! I agree!

          Please sign and share to help me to spread the word- this needs to be stopped!

          https://secure.avaaz.org/en/petition/President_Omar_alBashir_Release_Meriam_Yehya_Ibrahim_and_revoke_the_court_verdict_in_Haj_Yousef

      • Paula Morales Barrow
    • Paula Morales Barrow

      Hi ! I agree!

      Please sign and share to help me to spread the word- this needs to be stopped!

      https://secure.avaaz.org/en/petition/President_Omar_alBashir_Release_Meriam_Yehya_Ibrahim_and_revoke_the_court_verdict_in_Haj_Yousef

  • Mo86

    But there was no need to describe her as beautiful.

    If she’d been ugly, her life would still be just as valuable. I know that’s hard to believe in a world that only cares about beauty.

  • Douglas Mayfield

    Send the Marines with clear orders: hang the judge who issued the decision, then, for good measure, hang everybody in charge of this vicious little stinking Islamic pest hole, shoot and kill anybody who gets in their while they do so, and then bring Daniel, Meriam, and their family home.

  • Capt Bob

    And Obama states that Muslins are great people. They don’t appear to have love for life of others. Will the Muslins in the United States try to kill Christians spouses for the same reason????

  • Edward Phillips
  • Richard Barnes

    It pains me to say it with all of the problems going on in the world today, but in this case we have to toss another log on the fire. Sudan should be notified today that this woman should be freed at once. We should also add that we will cease cooperation with and block all trade with their country should this woman and child not be released within the week. Sudan has no REAL reason to prosecute this woman, she in no way caused problems for their nation and in no way would. Her being the wife of a US citizen brings her by default the protection of the United States government. Let’s not have another time where Christians are slaughtered while our government pretends that no one is watching.

    • Paula Morales Barrow

      Hi Richard, Please sign the petition and share to help spreading the word and help Mariam

      https://secure.avaaz.org/en/petition/President_Omar_alBashir_Release_Meriam_Yehya_Ibrahim_and_revoke_the_court_verdict_in_Haj_Yousef

    • Tommy Maq

      You are thinking of the Brits, perhaps – their Queen takes the protection of her subjects seriously.

      Being a US Citizen *allows* one to reside in and live by U.S. laws. It doesn’t obligate any government agent on the international level anymore than cops are obligated to save our butts from murder or theft.

      Read the bit inside the cover of the U.S. Passport for comparison.

      • Richard Barnes

        No my statement was aimed at shaming the US government into looking at this in a just way rather than a political one.

        • Tommy Maq

          My point was that your statement…was false:

          “Her being the wife of a US citizen brings her by default the protection of the United States government.”

          I don’t see many government _agents_ showing indications of shame, so I doubt the government itself is going to respond at all.

  • Paula Morales Barrow
  • Jodie

    She’s a Christian, a mother not opting to abort her child; she’s a college graduate,

    the only wife of only one husband; what more could she do to piss Satan off??!!??

  • antioli

    Justice from way before the dark ages.

  • Christopher Riddle

    Apparently she doesn’t speak Spanish?

  • William James Ward

    Would Obama help a Christian woman, in this case he would proved
    the rope while extoling the virtues of it being new………..Williaim

  • PJG

    To be fair to the Sudanese people, many Muslims demonstrated outside the court and are very angry about this, and the way Sudan is heading.

  • American1969

    #FreeMeriamIbrahim

  • ObamaYoMoma

    Both the State Department and U.S. Embassy statements “call upon the Government of Sudan to respect the right to freedom of religion.”

    According to Islam, Sharia overrides all manmade laws and indeed must eventually replace all manmade laws. Thus, what right to freedom of religion is the US State Department talking about? This is Sudan where Sharia is the rule of law, not the USA! There is no freedom of religion recognized in Sudan.

    By the way, Sharia was enshrined in Iraq and Afghanistan’s respective constitutions as the rule of law as well thanks to former Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad, with GWB and Condi “Appeaser” Rice’s blessings. Yet, both are venerated as saints by the Republican Party establishment today.

  • Christoper Logan

    This is coming to America if Islam is not stopped. America and all non-Islamic countries need to end all Muslim immigration. and Mosque construction.

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