Islam: ‘Appalling and Abhorrent’ in the Eyes of a Blind World?

Raymond Ibrahim is a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center, a Judith Friedman Rosen Writing Fellow at the Middle East Forum and a CBN News contributor. He is the author of Crucified Again: Exposing Islam’s New War on Christians (2013) and The Al Qaeda Reader (2007). 


meriam-yehya-ibrahim-apostasy-sharia-law-sudanA few days ago in Sudan, an eight-month pregnant wife and mother was sentenced to death by hanging for refusing to renounce Christ and embrace Islam.  According to the LA Times:

Meriam Yehya Ibrahim, who has a young son and is married to a Christian from South Sudan, violated Islamic sharia law, the court said. She insists she was raised Christian, not Muslim.

The court also ordered Ibrahim to be flogged for having sexual relations with her husband, since her marriage is not recognized by officials.

Ibrahim refused a court order Sunday giving her several days to renounce her Christian faith, which resulted in the sentencing Thursday….

Ibrahim, currently jailed with her son, will be allowed to give birth and raise her second child until the age of 2 years but then faces execution. Sudanese authorities refuse to allow Ibrahim’s son to reside with her husband because the husband is Christian.

Tragic as this story is, it is also immensely commonplace in Islamic countries.  Why? Because Islamic law does in fact punish the apostate from Islam—including with death—in accordance with the commands of the Muslim prophet Muhammad.  Indeed, many Muslim clerics believe that “If the [death] penalty for apostasy was ignored, there would not be an Islam today; Islam would have ended on the death of the prophet,” as top Sheikh Yusuf Qaradawi once declared on live television.

Of more significance is the Amnesty International statement concerning Meriam Ibrahim’s plight. While its criticism is aimed at Sudan’s legal system, the statement unwittingly provides a glimpse of how the international community would view Islam if it could actually understand that these human rights abuses are not products of this or that government or regime, but of Islam itself. 

According to the Amnesty International statement:

The fact that a woman has been sentenced to death for her religious choice, and to flogging for being married to a man of an allegedly different religion is appalling and abhorrent.

Adultery and apostasy are acts which should not be considered crimes at all. It is flagrant breach of international human rights law.  The right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion, which includes the freedom to hold beliefs, is far-reaching and profound; it encompasses freedom of thought on all matters, personal conviction and the commitment to religion or belief (emphasis added).

If, as Amnesty International declares, flogging and executing a person, in this case a pregnant woman, because of her “religious choice” and marrying a man of a “different religion” are “appalling and abhorrent”; if they are a “flagrant breach of international human rights law”—what do we make of the fact that Muslim converts to Christianity are punished and sometimes killed all across the Islamic world?

Consider the following anecdotes, a few examples, most from 2013 alone (culled from my monthly “Muslim Persecution of Christians” series and listed in country alphabetical order):

Afghanistan: A member of Afghanistan’s Parliament said that all Afghans who convert to Christianity should be executed.  His exact words: “Afghani citizens continue to convert to Christianity in India. Numerous Afghanis have become Christians in India. This is an offense to Islamic Laws and according to the Quran they need to be executed.” As one of many live examples,  Said Musa, an amputee and father of six young children, was once charged with apostasy and pressured to renounce Christianity, but he refused. So he was imprisoned, suffering “sexual abuse, beatings, mockery, and sleep deprivation because of his faith in Jesus.”

Algeria: The wife of Ali Touahir, a 52-year-old Muslim convert to Christianity, left him, taking their seven-year-old daughter, and is divorcing him in court.  One of his wife’s brothers openly threated to kill apostate.  The wife’s lawyer asserted: “It is not possible that my client [the Muslim wife] still remain under the same roof with a man who has renounced his religion, as he became apostate; and we are not ignorant of the punishment that is due an apostate under sharia [death].” 

Cameroon: Two Muslim converts to Christianity were shot dead and two others wounded, in the Christian-majority African nation where Muslims make approximately 20 percent of the population.  One of them was previously threatened by the Nigerian Islamic terrorist group Boko Haram to return to Islam or “face Allah’s wrath.” 

Egypt: A court sentenced an entire family—Nadia Mohamed Ali and her seven children—to fifteen years in prison for converting to Christianity. A born Christian, Nadia had earlier converted to Islam and married a Muslim man; reconverting back to Christianity after the death of her husband, she attempted to reflect this change formally on her identity card and her children’s, which created suspicions among security, who arrested the family.  Separately and days ago in Egypt, after a former Muslim woman on live television announced her apostasy and lack of faith in Muhammad as the “Messenger of Allah,” she was insulted, ridiculed, and thrown off the set by the host.

Iran: Imprisoned American pastor Saeed Abedini was reported as “facing physical and psychological torture at the hands of captors demanding he renounce his beliefs.” The 32-year-old married father of two, who left his home in Boise, Idaho, to help start an orphanage in his former country, once detailed “horrific pressures” and “death threats” in a letter to family members: “My eyes get blurry, my body does not have the strength to walk, and my steps become very weak and shaky…  They are only waiting for one thing…for me to deny Christ. But they will never get this from me.”  The imprisonment and torture of Muslim converts to Christianity in Iran is quite common (recall the plight of Pastor Yousef Nadarkhani).  According to Adnkronos News, “renouncing the Muslim faith is punishable with the death penalty [in Iran]. Over 300 Iranian converts to Christianity have been arrested over the past two years, according to opposition websites.” 

Kyrgyz: After a young Muslim girl converted to Christianity, her parents “wanted her to recant and renounce her faith in Christ, so they began to beat her systematically till she lost consciousness… It was winter when all of this happened, so her parents put her into a cold room and kept her there for several days. Still they were unable to break her spirit.  They then started pulling her hair and put her face against the stove, burning her face. In spite of this, she remained faithful.”

Morocco: A fatwa, or Islamic decree, by the government’s top religious authority, calls for the execution of those Muslims who leave Islam, causing many Christian converts to live in fear. Lamented one Christian: “The fatwa showed us that our country is still living in the old centuries—no freedom, no democracy.  Unfortunately, we feel that we aren’t protected. We can be arrested or now even killed any time and everywhere. The majority of the Christian Moroccan leaders have the same feeling.  We are more followed now by the secret police than before. Only the Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ gives us courage and peace.”

Pakistan: A 16-year-old Muslim boy who converted to Christianity was abducted in Peshawar by Taliban-linked Islamic militants “and his fate may already be marked, as he is considered ‘guilty of apostasy.’” As one Pakistani pastor explained, “If a young Muslim converts to Christianity in Pakistan, he is forced to live in hiding. Every Muslim might feel compelled to kill him. The change of religion is not punished by the civil law, it is punishable by Islamic law. For this reason cases of Muslim conversion to Christianity are very rare and some convert in secret.”   Muhammad Kamran, a Muslim convert to Christianity, exemplifies the pastor’s words.  After he told his wife of his conversion, she abused and exposed him, resulting in his being severely beaten by local Muslims.  In his words: “No one was willing to let me live the life I wanted [as a Christian]—they say Islam is not a religion of compulsion, but no one has been able to tell me why Muslims who don’t find satisfaction in the religion [such as myself] become liable to be killed.” 

Saudi Arabia:  After a woman was exposed as having converted to Christianity, she was sentenced to six years in prison and 300 lashes.  Although she managed to flee the nation and went into hiding, the Christian Lebanese man accused of introducing her to Christianity received six years in prison and 300 lashes.

Somalia:  The Al-Qaeda linked Al Shabaab (“The Youth”), which has vowed to cleanse the Horn of Africa of all Christian presence, has slaughtered countless Muslim converts to Christianity—men, women, and children—in the last few years.  Most recently, Al Shabaab shot to death 42-year-old Fartun Omar, a widow and mother of five, for converting to Christianity.  Months earlier, they had killed her husband for the same “crime,” and had been hunting for the wife. In a separate incident, Al Shabaab publicly executed a 28-year-old man after determining that he had in fact become a Christian.    Al Shabaab Muslims also seized Hassan Gulled, 25, for leaving Islam and converting to Christianity, and imprisoned him, and tortured him.  According to local sources, “Al Shabaab have been torturing him to see whether he would deny his Christian faith. Since last week, no information has surfaced concerning Gulled. There is a possibility that he could have been killed.”

Tanzania: At the time pregnant and with three children, Lukia Khalid explained how when she told her Muslim husband that she had converted to Christianity, “He threatened to kill me if I was to stay with him. I then decided to escape that night with my three children to a neighbor’s house….  We left only with the clothes that we were wearing.  The command was so urgent that we could not wait any longer. We had to leave immediately.”  Last heard, they were living in destitute conditions.

One can go on and on with examples (see Crucified Again: Exposing Islam’s New War on Christians, pages 96-135, for a more thorough expose, including on the doctrine and history of apostasy in Islam, and dozens of more recent examples). 

Returning to Meriam Ibrahim, the pregnant Sudanese mother set to be executed for refusing to recant Christ and embrace Islam, some questions and observations are in order:

Are all the other anecdotes listed above not equally “appalling and abhorrent”—to use Amnesty International’s words describing Meriam’s specific plight?  Are they not all a “flagrant breach of international human rights law”?

If so, and if the international community is actually serious about putting a stop to them, should it not try to ascertain the true source behind them? 

After all, considering that Muslim converts to Christianity are being attacked all throughout the Islamic world—including in nations as diverse as Algeria, Iran, Pakistan, Egypt, and Kyrgyz—surely the source is not something as simple as “Sudan’s legal system.”

The fact is, Muslim converts to Christianity are even under attack in Europe.  In Norway alone, for example, two Iranian converts out for a walk were stabbed with knives by masked men shouting “infidels!” One of the men stabbed had converted in Iran, was threatened there, and immigrated to Norway, thinking he could escape Islam’s apostasy penalty.  Earlier, an Afghan convert to Christianity was scalded with boiling water and acid at a Norwegian refugee processing center: “If you do not return to Islam, we will kill you,” his attackers told him.

Of course, the true source for all these attacks on Muslim converts to Christianity—in nations that do not share race, language, culture, politics, or economics—is Islam itself.  Anyone with common sense, anyone with the ability to be honest with oneself, must concede as much.  There is no other reasonable way to explain such identical patterns of abuse in such a wide array of nations. 

But so long as the international community and human rights organizations fail to employ some common sense and honesty—fail to call a spade a spade—so will they ensure that countless more innocent humans like Meriam Ibrahim continue to suffer “appalling and abhorrent” treatment, simply for trying to exercise their “right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion” under Islam. 

Freedom Center pamphlets now available on Kindle: Click here.

Subscribe to Frontpage’s TV show, The Glazov Gang, and LIKE it on Facebook.

  • Thomas J.Stratford

    If Islam elects not to go through a period of reform, then it needs to be eliminated from the West.

    • Asadullah Ali Al-Andalusi

      “If Islam elects not to go through a period of reform, then it needs to be eliminated from the West”

      What you mean by “reform” here is “conform”, correct? So Islam must become totally aligned with Western values to be accepted in societies of “diversity and pluralism”. Quite the contradiction.

      As for the article, a lot of the cases involved are quite unjust, but Islam does traditionally punish apostates (sane individuals who choose to apostate under an Islamic polity — which currently doesn’t exist). The punishment is not inflicted because of “disagreement” of because a “hatred for freedom”, but because when you enter Islam you are bound by a contract with Allah. When you come to Islam you accept Allah and the Messenger (sallallahu alayhi wasallam). The former you acknowledge as the source of all life and the reason you exist. The moment you reject this fact after having accepted it, its about the same as being invited to someones home and then spitting on their floor. In that case, you no longer deserve the right to stay there — much the same do you have the right to stay in this life when you’ve rejected life.

      The punishment is given for a BREACH OF CONTRACT, much like treason is punished as a BREACH OF CONTRACT OF THE STATE. They are very similar.

      The difference? Westerners, who typically view religion as a mere hobby, disagree with this contractual agreement and think its okay to force others to abide by their rules, through war and threats towards people to “integrate, or else”. So while Islam punishes for apostasy, Non-Muslim governments and societies punish for simply not converting.

      I’d say Islam is far superior in terms of allowing freedom.

  • Jakareh

    Mentally, the Sudanese Muslims are still in the seventh century. If they murder this woman, they should be made to go there physically. How about we utterly destroy Sudan both for the sake of justice and to serve as a warning to other Muslims? First of all, the government structure: palaces, ministries, barracks, police stations. Second, the infrastructure: ports, airports, bridges, water treatment facilities, power plants, refineries, dams. Third, the economy: factories and commercial buildings. Last but not least, the death cult infrastructure: mosques, madrassas, anything at all having to do with Islam.

    But, of course, instead of doing this Barack Hussein Obama is more likely to apologize to the Sudanese government for our insensitivity.

    • atomnummer 79

      I disagree on destroying important infrastructure, but tearing down the mosques would be fine.

    • CapitalistPig

      From what I’ve heard about Sudan, that might amount to about $500 in damages. How can you devastate a dump?

      • Jakareh

        It is indeed a dump, but many of them do have electricity, for instance, and the ruling elites certainly do. It’s unjust for seventh-century barbarians to enjoy any modern amenities.

        • CapitalistPig

          OK, I’m being somewhat hyperbolic…….but with drones & precision munitions it ought to be a snap to take out Muslim leaders pretty indiscriminately. If you take em out consistently, maybe a few of them might become a bit more “moderate” in their Muslim beliefs once they figure out they get to be the martyrs.

  • Ralph

    When will the “World” understand what these Sorry Muslim’s are? This has been going on for Thousands of years and will continue… The Crusades pushed these STUPID IDIOTS back to their caves many times and that did not change their behavior and will never change them… The Only To Kill A Snake Is To Cut Its Head Off; or turn the Sand To Glass… Nuke Them…

    • Dyer’s Eve

      In response to your question. The answer is; never. Most humans are too dumb to learn. Sorry, but it’s true. I like what you say about ‘sand to glass’. I agree. Drop atomic bombs across the earth from Casablanca to Jakarta. The earth will scream, but it will recover and the scourge of Islam will be seared shut and removed.

  • popseal

    Sir Winston Churchill, “Rabies is to a dog, what Islam is to a man!”

  • Jeff Ludwig

    I am shocked by Mr. Ibrahim’s article. Doesn’t he know that all Muslims are peace loving people who just want to own cell phones, eat soft tacos, get a good education, and live eternally in fraternal peace and joy with their neighbors throughout the world? I personally know a peace loving Moroccan man who owns a restaurant with great take out. When I told him that Egypt and North Africa were converted to Islam at the point of the sword, not by spiritual conviction, he became quite angry. I was surprised, given the fire in his eyes, that he did not put a triple dose of hot sauce (or rat poison for that matter) on my shish kebab. Another Egyptian I met in a Palestinian grocery store in New York (supposedly an engineer by training, but forced by circumstances to work as a store clerk) communicated his outrage at the West because of the Crusades of 1095. “Getting even” for that historical outrage is not good enough. There will never be peace in the world according to this man until the outrage of the Crusades is avenged (even though, after the first Crusade, the Muslims in the Middle East defeated the Christian invaders within 100 years). You people from the West, you critics of Islam and of Muslim, do not will not, and cannot understand that Islam is the religion of peace. It wishes well to all people. The murderous rampages against non-Muslims and against females and against converts all over the world are aberrations…not representative of the true intent of Islam. Is it not obvious that among a religion that numbers over one billion followers, there are going to be some malcontents who are giving their heritage a bad name? Are you going to smear the dear warm-hearted tolerant loving family-oriented kind intelligent neighborly women-cherishing sincere motivated forward-looking Muslim people with a broad brush of accusations and incendiary statements. Don’t you think there could be a comparable book about Christian atrocities to women? What about all the battered wives and abused children in the USA alone? Is not Mr. Ibrahim just another Pharisee throwing the first stone at Muslims? Yes, it is pure hypocrisy and distortion to portray the kind Islamic population of the world, yes (salaam aleichim to you) to portray this family-building tradition and culture based on the rights of all people to enjoy freedom and happiness (although the words freedom and happiness nowhere appear in the Koran [let's go back to the old spelling]) as hideously sadistic at its core. It is and must be an exaggeration to portray Islamics as hateful terroristically-inclined misogynists. Because, well, because…if it were true, then it would mean that the very survival of Western Civilization as a force for good in the world is being threatened, and that we are in a cultural, political, and military crisis that is comparable to the first wave of Islamic militancy that took place in the seventh and eighth centuries, and has recurred (albeit more weakly) over many centuries up to the present. Yet, how can that be? The Billboard Awards were on TV just the other night, and then Dancing With the Stars, then the final night of American Idol…. A culture war of the magnitude such as that depicted by Mr. Ibrahim or Robert Spencer or Daniel Greenfield or Steve Emerson or Daniel Pipes or scores of other lesser lights?….. They are hysterical. No…the Golden Globe awards are coming up. So are the Oscars and the Emmies….. So are the country music awards and the soul train awards….. Justin Bieber is awaiting his next contact with the police as is Alex Baldwin. Madonna just signed a three year contract with Kabbala. Solange just punched and kicked Jayzee in an elevator…. And we are expected to worry about Islamic hatred of women, of infidels, of Jews, of Christians, of Buddhists, of Chinese communists, of Hindus, of Sunnis, of Shi’ites, of Al-Qaeda, of Muslims going shopping with their kids in bazaars in Iraq…..come on, you must be kidding me. Mr. Ibrahim, you say Islam is hostile towards Christianity and towards women….you must be kidding……!!!!!!

  • Joseph Flannagan

    And yet they DEMAND respect and portray themselves as the answer to ALL the world’s problems – without ever realising that THEY ARE a huge portion of that problem. There is violence and mayhem in Egypt , Syria , Sudan , Yemen , CAR , Mali , Somalia , Iraq, Pakistan , Indonesia , Afghanistan , Algeria , Lebanon , Gaza , Tanzania , Kenya , Nigeria and dozens of other countries with muslim or majority muslim populations. They also export their violence to USA , Europe , Australia , Canada , China , Russia etc. It is the ONLY religion that is in conflict with Christians , Jews , Hindus , Sikhs , Buddhists and EVEN among themselves with sunni killing shia and vice versa and BOTH killing ahmediyas , sufis and other lesser sects. And they STILL insist that islam is peaceful , benign , tolerant and merciful. This demonstrates the level of indoctrination , self delusion and deceit that prevails among this evil cult.

  • Sean Healy

    In the change to secular education of the west, qualities embedded in society due to Christianity have been systematically removed and rewritten as secular values. Together with the tyranny of equality, where certain things must be viewed the same, it goes against secular thought to view Islam as forming the cultural thought of certain societies and for that impact to be negative as compared to other societies.