Christians condemn death penalty for Sudanese doctor accused of apostasy

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Women standing outside the All Saint Cathedral in Sudan. Christians in the country have recently come under increased pressure. Religion News Service photo by Fredrick Nzwili

Women standing outside the All Saint Cathedral in Sudan. Christians in the country have recently come under increased pressure. Religion News Service photo by Fredrick Nzwili

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(RNS) A doctor who is eight months pregnant and currently in detention with her 20-month-old son, Meriam Yehya Ibrahim was charged with adultery last year. Recently, the court added an apostasy charge when she declared her Christian faith in court.

  • Eddie

    When is The West going to do something HEAVY about the unwanted spread of Islam, and it’s Pre-Stoneage Sharia “Law ?” I find the Court in Kartoum:- Hideous-mindless and stupid for their decision regarding Dr.Mariam Ibrahim.
    Being her husband is a US Citizen, does that not make their child an American also, as well as the unborn child. Also , being Dr.Ibrahim is the wife of an American Citizen, doesn’t that also make her an American ? If so what do the Americans aim to do about this traversty of ” Justice” ?
    Has Pres. Obama been advised of this Court Sentence ? If so OR if not….when will they send in a helicopter Gunship, for a hit and run raid to get the whole Family out of there ? Let me know as I’d like to Volunteer !
    When will the West realise that Islam is the Religion of Satan, and it’s Mullahs and Judges his Henchmen ? A reply would be appreciated. Cheers E

  • Atheist Max


    Islam is not the problem all by itself.
    Religion itself is the enemy.

    It is people like you who embrace ‘faith’ and blindly follow it:
    “…bring to me those enemies of mine who would not have me as their King, and execute them in front of me.” – Jesus (Luke 19:27)

    You have no right to accuse the Muslims of doing wrong! Their faith is similarly base on nothing but phantom passages in ancient holy books:

    “…The Prophet said, ‘If a Muslim discards his religion, kill him.’ ” –
    Bukhari (52:260)

    You have no high road to take! People of faith are all the same.
    Religion itself is the enemy.

  • Daniella

    I agree. Religion really a problem when it does not follow his vocation. According to all the prophets basically .. we the people should love each other, help each other and support each other, the rotation of the prophets real purpose makes people kill for religion’s sake, even though almost all the holy books say that killing is forbidden and a sin. Everyone has the right to believe in whatever they want but no one has the right to force someone into a religion or kill in God’s name. When will people learn the basic laws that you are responsible for what you do and you can not decide over others people’s beliefs or way of life as far as it does not harm other people. Let God is a good God and spread the love and understanding without coercion. I’m not religious but spiritual. So wake up man.

  • irikefe

    Dear aethist,if you must quote the bible please do at least you read it, but do not quote out of proportion, the scripture stated is not a demand for Christians.may his love shine on you.amen

  • Rashid.M

    Before getting “heavy” Eddie it might be worthwhile to draw some distinctions and make some clarifications. Targeting your gunship on anything and everything which associates itself with the term ‘Islam’ makes about as much sense as those who target the amorphous mass known as ‘the West”.

    There is no earthly punishment prescribed anywhere in the Quran for either blasphemy or apostasy. Hadith are the humanly narrated/transmitted sayings of the prophet Muhammad(sa) passed on from his companions to others and then further and wider over history. Bukhari(52:260) has been thoroughly discredited on the basis of its weak isnad(chain of narration), the (poor) character of its chief narrator Ikrimah, its contradiction with other hadith, and most importantly, it standing in utter contradiction of the Quran itself.

  • Larry

    Out of proportion is talking about a religion in terms of an epidemic disease. Christian fundamentalists are no better than their Islamic counterparts. The only difference being access to political power.

    Sudan is a homicidal craphole of a nation by anyone’s standards. If you want to get a real idea of what kind of deadly nonsense that government engages in, rent “The Devil Came on Horseback” or read the book.

  • Larry

    Religion is a problem when it has reins of political power.

    Every government established religion ever existed has engaged in sectarian discrimination and oppression. Such governments even are prone to genocide under the banner of religious and political belief.

    Sudan is notorious for the genocide of Christians and Animists by government backed Islamic paramilitaries and military forces. Fundamentalist religion was used to put a murderous bent on 2 wars for political self-determination.

  • Atheist Max

    Any book which says “Kill Them for their beliefs” is no friend to humanity!

    I’m tired of apologists like yourself who shrug it off and say
    this is a misreading. “Execute Them” is not a metaphor.

    Your God – if he exists – is apparently completely ignorant
    of how the humans he created will use his words to do evil.

    These dictates are evil in themselves.

  • Atheist Max

    “When will people learn the basic laws that you are responsible for what you do and you can not decide over others people’s beliefs”

    When? The day they abandon religion.
    Your above sentence is exactly what an Atheist could have said.

    Why? Because this:
    “Kill the nonbelievers” (Islam, Judaism and Christianity)

  • Atheist Max



    We know from studies that not everone who smokes cigarettes will die of lung cancer.

    But a certain percentage of smokers is certain to die and for that reason we put discourage cigarettes. We don’t let children buy them, we don’t let people smoke them inside buildings, etc.

    Not everyone who follows religion will kill people.
    But a rather large percentage will use religion for fascism: suicide bombing, genital mutilation, shunning or other inhuman and disgusting horrors. Like cigarettes, religion is a bad thing.

    Religion should not be banned, only deeply discouraged as cigarettes are by the rest of civilization as a primitive, foolish, dangerous and entirely needless activity.

    Unfortunately, today the world is full of people who profess the ‘wisdom of god’.
    This is dreadful nonsense.

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  • Atheist Max

    While you are listing the Holy Books which are flawed,
    Bukhari and Hadith, let us continue onward shall we?
    Quran is flawed. The Old Testament is flawed. The New Testament is flawed.
    Why? Because they were written by men, who are flawed.

    People like Eddie are EAGER (as you can see) to act on the ‘absolute truth’ of a holy book and to do some killing. The argument against the Eddies of the world is not that they should look further into these texts but that we should all abandon them for what they are:

    Glorified barbaric scribblings on napkins.

  • Deacon John M. Bresnahan

    Blanket condemnations are sometimes warranted, but blaming all religion for what is going on in Islamic countries today is extreme overreach. It is equivalent to saying Hitler was a politician -so all politics is basically evil, even Jeffersonian democracy.

  • Atheist Max

    I disagree. These outrageous religious incidents
    are moments to reflect on the worldwide problem and the tendency to not look in the mirror.

    There is no safe way to take heroin.
    There is no safe level of irrationality.

  • Laurence Charles Ringo

    Take a deep breath, “Atheist Max”.You’ve already amply demonstrated that you know little, if anything about authentic Christianity, so frankly I wish you would spare us all your ill-informed diatribes. You obviously have serious psychological issues with religion in general; perhaps if you could share some provable harm your faith tradition has done to you, you might be more sympathetic; as it stands you simply come off as a big whiner.GROW UP!!!

  • Atheist Max

    @Laurence Charles Ringo,
    So when you were 7 years old you saw your father putting a gift under the tree on Christmas Even and you discovered right then and there that Santa wasn’t real. The whole world had conspired against you for seven years!
    How did that feel?

    Imagine now how it feels to find out after 44 years of being a god-fearing Christian, that the equivalent thing happened? You saw that the whole of Jesus is a charade designed to fool billions of people.

    All the prayers, the scoldings about how to read the Bible ‘propely’, the nuns lectures, the hundreds of sermons, the tremendous guilts, the value of communion, the tears ……….

    And it was all a lie.


    How would YOU feel? Tell me. I want to know.

    And how would you proceed? Would you continue the lie or would you speak up about it and study intensely why you were fooled for so long?
    Would you have the courage to face what the implications really meant about religion itself? What ‘faith’ really means?

    Would you dare to finally understand why Islamic people like Boku Haram are completely comfortable executing apostates and little girls?
    Would you finally understand why Catholic Priests like Fr. Seromba and his cohorts could kill 2000 Tutsis in Rwanda with his own hands during the worst genocide committed by Catholics in several decades?

    Would you FACE IT, LAURENCE?

    But never mind me.
    Look out for the people who don’t know yet. Like you.
    Those who haven’t figured it out.
    Faith is nonsense, Laurence.
    People are dying every day because of a hoax. Let that sink in.

    And then tell me again to grow up.

  • Rashid.M

    You are of course entitled to your general opinion about religion Max. You didn’t however directly address the statement I made. The proponents of the idea that apostasy is punishable by death in Islam rely on the specific hadith you posted. There is an overwhelming amount of evidence discrediting the authenticity of this particular hadith, which is (as they all are) subject to such an investigation as part of the Islamic tradition of authentication. This evidence against this hadith is more comprehensive and forensic than a blanket sentiment that ‘all religions and their books are rubbish’.

    If such a sentiment (‘it’s all rubbish’) is your true position, then why bother just posting specific scripture whilst ignoring the rest? And if the purpose of posting specific scripture/text is to highlight that which backs your assertions and reasoning, then in such an instance why is it not valid for me to retort using the same method? Why does such reasoning using scripture ‘then’ become irrelevant and a declaration made that they should not be looked into and abandoned?

  • Atheist Max

    @Rashid. M,

    YES. You are asking a very important question.
    “Why post specific scripture” if I believe “it is all rubbish.”

    It my dearest hope, that by pointing out the outrageous contradictions within these texts that someone might see their ridiculous claims.


    Try this.
    Suppose a Holy Book existed which claimed:

    “Cigarettes are good, you must smoke them to stay healthy” (page 204)
    “Cigarettes cause cancer, never touch them”(page 102)

    Now imagine how the religious apologists
    would have to approach this:

    1. “You took these quotes out of context.”
    2. “Page 102 should not be followed with as much effort as page 204, which was discredited.”
    3. “Page 102 came earlier so it is more true and should be followed more eagerly than page 204.”
    4. “The prophet never smoked so we can ignore smoking.”
    5. “Only a fundamentalist would see a contradiction.”
    6. “We cannot be moral without this.”

    The Holy Books are garbage. They are a MIRAGE.
    They are historical artifacts from a distant time when people knew almost nothing of reality.

  • Atheist Max

    @RASHID. M.

    “Happy shall he be, that taketh and dasheth thy little babies heads against the stones.” – (Psalm 137:9)

    “God is love.” (1 Jo 4:16)

    The world must wake up.

  • Rashid.M

    But again Max, I do not deny you the right to point out contradictions as you see them. I only ask for the right of reply in answering the charge (of contradiction). If it is your claim that religious texts may lead to evil and illogical outcomes and behaviour, then surely this is worthy of investigation and discussion beyond the superficial response of it’s all ‘garbage’?

    If I claim that something is out of context, then am I not obliged to provide the context to back up my assertion? Or is the very mention of context to be dismissed immediately as the tactic of an ‘apologist’, thereby stifling debate and reducing the argument to the childish level of ‘is too/is not’? And in advocating that Eddie not look further into the texts, but simply abandon them on your say so, are you not denying him the right you have afforded yourself, to read and reason as an individual?

    In Islam, hadith are used to support and clarify the Quran. They are not its equal. There is an established science to grade and authenticate hadith. If a hadith contradicts the Quran, and if that contradiction cannot be reconciled, then that hadith is discarded. God guarantees the preservation of the ongoing authenticity of the Quran. No such guarantee is given regarding hadith.

    “Verily, We Ourselves have sent down this Exhortation, and most surely We will be its Guardian” – Holy Quran, Surah Al-Hijr, 15:10

  • Atheist Max

    You certainly have the right to examine the context and to defend it (as long as I have the right to reject your conclusions as arbitrary)
    And you have the right to tell Eddie to re-examine his Bible.

    But understand the dangers YOU invite by embracing holy books:

    1. You cannot blame Eddie for bad thinking if the Bible leads him to conclude that Muslims need to be killed by the millions.
    “The Master shall cut him to pieces” – Jesus (Luke 19:27)

    2. You cannot blame Al Qaeda for doing the same thing with the Q’uran, Hadith, Surah or Bukarah.

    My argument is that one man’s misreading of a holy book, is another man’s perfect interpretation.

    There are no checks and balances in these “holy” books.
    Every decision is validated by God no matter how perverse.

  • Eddie

    WOW ! Why didn’t I keep my big mouth shut ! ! My first post was a extra bad outpouring of unjustified inner hatred, about a Religion about which I know little if nothing. Once upon a time, I sailed to Sea in Tankers with Crew members of all Religions, including many Muslims. As the above comments indicate, the problem with the Court’s decision seems to be misinterpretation of the Holy Book.
    I think what I was raving fro, was that mugs from ” The West” like me, see a very narrow avenue of Islam, and only see the actions of Radicals.The Court Decision in the matter of Dr.Ibrahim, was what I was on about, but I digressed badly ! How do any of you ” Contributers” rate her chances of getting the decision Repealed ? I’m glad to say I hav’nt got a brother like hers, and I hope he feels real BAD now, about making the Complaint about his sis., which has now resulted in the potential for her Family = Husband, son and un-born one to be scattered to the four winds. Yes ! Y’all are quite right, Radical Christians are just as bad , if not worse ! Why Mankind can’t just get on with life, without constantly raving about the ” bad ” things of someone else’s beliefs, I’ll never know ! I looked at ” Magdalene Sisters” on DVD, and only then realised what the ” Magdalene Asylums ” were all about….I got in such a bad temper after seeing the injustice of the ” System “, I snapped the disc to bits ! !
    To conclude—-I’m sure pleased I don’t live in Sudan ! Hasta la Vista, Eddie !

  • Atheist Max

    Religion is a problem when it has the reins of a person’s mind.
    The damage begins immediately:

    offers comfort at the price of surrender of critical thinking.
    Surrender of one’s dignity.
    Introduces abjection and servility
    introduces barbaric absolutes.
    Introduces the law of unreason.
    Argues against love
    Argues against science.

    That is more than enough damage before it moves to a second person.

  • Rashid.M

    Whatever the rights or wrongs of your beliefs or unbelief, I at least applaud you for your honesty.

  • Rashid.M

    “Religion is a problem when it has reins of political power”

    I’m inclined to agree, but not because any religion ‘necessarily’ compels its followers to act with oppression. Rather, when those in power are ideologically wedded to the idea that one religion, or one school of thought within it is the only true way, any number of injustices in the name of this ‘truth’ are potentially more easily rationalised. And it’s not difficult to see how the leap is then made to not just protect the dominance of this ‘truth’ by whatever means necessary, but to see it as religious duty to suppress or trample on the rights of others whose beliefs are neither valued nor respected. This is why governments (regardless of the faiths of individuals within it) should never rule on the basis of one faith for all, but on the basis of absolute justice for all and the freedom for all to believe or not believe.

  • Rashid.M

    I completely disagree. Every “perverse” interpretation or decision is not validated by God, though they may be claimed to be validated by those who make them. Interpretations can be argued for and against, judged, tested, and ultimately rationalised by a thinking person. Nor do holy books exist in isolation to the character and actions of the prophets to whom they were revealed. To say that Al Qaeda cannot be blamed for the way they interpret the Quran is like saying that no person is responsible for their actions because right and wrong are (religiously speaking) wholly arbitrary concepts. It is not by some amazing coincidence that the major religions agree on the very basic rules of right and wrong behaviour. Nor is it a coincidence that these basic rules are shared by you as an atheist. Whether you believe these rules are divine or not, we all have a shared sense of humanity, conscience and ultimately a choice of how we act. For Al Qaeda, presumably they believe God will judge their actions with favourable consequences. For people of faith with a shared sense of humanity, the belief is they will be judged unfavourably. And for yourself, whilst you may share in that sense of humanity, you believe in no ultimate consequence for them at all.

  • Atheist Max

    @Rashid. M,

    I think I understand you.
    But you admit you will get no help from the Holy Books:
    “Every “perverse” interpretation or decision…may be claimed to be validated by those who make them.”

    It is precisely our shared sense of humanity, our civilization which I am defending. There are no checks and balances within these religions. Anything goes.

    The Golden Rule: “Do not do to others what you find reprehensible to yourself” is a perfectly adequate moral code for civilization by itself
    and it requires no gods.

    The irony of religion is that it claims the Golden Rule as its OWN (though it is older than any religion) – yet religion is the direct opposite of the Golden Rule:

    Forced conversions, caliphates, crusades, Inquisitions, killing of witches, Al Qeada, Hezbollah, Zionism…

    Where is the Golden Rule in any of that?
    The idea that there is a “golden rule” in religion is a mirage. It is the opposite of democracy, the opposite of civilization.

    I do not believe civilization can survive if we continue with religions. They are in mortal conflict.
    If the Atheist position is somehow ‘bad’ or ‘wrong’ because of that assessment I have yet to see the argument against it – our Atheistic Constitution of the United States seems to be functioning rather well and it remains the only Godless Constitution in the world.

  • Larry

    Every country with an established religion has engaged in sectarian discrimination at least at one point in their history. It is the main cause for people to become religious refugees.

    The temptation to abuse such power is too much for anyone. It is not the theology of the religion itself which drives the abuse, its the ability to declare that political power of any kind comes from divine authority.

    Its not even a function of monotheism and its general lack of tolerance for other beliefs. Polytheistic societies do this as well. Hardline Hindus in India constantly call for discrimination against Muslims and Sikhs. Sinhalese Buddhists have a history of oppression in Sri Lanka. The Japanese had a long history of suppressing Christianity up until the late 19th Century.

    This is why the American constitution calls explicitly for the separation of church and state. The drafters didn’t trust anyone to play nice if they felt God supported their government.

  • Larry

    “the problem with the Court’s decision seems to be misinterpretation of the Holy Book.”

    The problem is that the court feels the need to consult “The Holy Book” at all in order to render a decision concerning justice. Any ruling will be a “misinterpretation” to some, “God’s will” to others. It is always going to be self-serving nonsense.

    It would make no difference what the holy book is. Once you decide that justice comes from scripture, as opposed to a basic sense of decency, the results will always be repugnant. There is no such thing as a free society which rules according to the dictates of a given religion. Christian Dominionalists should take note. Sudan is exactly the kind of nation they want to create.

    In the Sudan, the government considers non-Muslims, non-people. People whose life is considered worthless to them. It spent the better part of 40 years warring with their non-Muslim population to the South and West. Especially when oil was discovered in those areas.

    There is a political necessity in demonizing Christians there. Now that the UN recognized a partition with its majority Christian/Animist Southern region, the religious divide has become a national one as well. Sudanese Christians are considered a “5th Column”. Agents of the breakaway nation it tried to destroy for generations.

  • Atheist Max

    Exactly, Larry.
    We need to start imagining a world without religion.
    How would it function? How might problems be solved

    Imagine arriving at a solution to a problem
    without having the impossible task of first figuring out

    Mind-manacled nonsense.

  • Larry

    I consider religion a means to an end when it comes to murderous dictatorships like Sudan. Even if they weren’t a Sharia state, the place would still be bad news.

    From independence to the early 90’s the country was secular and nationalistic, like every other “Muslim” nation not named Saudi Arabia or Iran. They only became Fundamentalists recently. In all that time, they were still always a brutal, repressive dictatorship.

    All religion did was make it easier for the destitute to accept governmental authority and codify clear ethnic/national divisions which already existed.

  • I would be interested to know the reason why the husband did not “convert” to Islam?

    Reading the previous contributions I like to add that the Holy Quran is no book in the common sense of a book or holy scripture. It rather formulates a method and a path of truth finding; and as such it resembles works of logic, for example and especially Charles S. Peirce*s “How to make our ideas clear”.

  • Eddie

    Thanks Rashid ! What surprises me in the matter of anyone trying to help with getting the Court’s decision repealed, is from what I read, Dr.Ibrahim’s husband sought assistance from the US Ambassador ( or is he a Consul ?) in Karthoum, but the guy basically walked away from her Husband. That being the case, what is the point of him being a US Citizen ? I , in my ignorance thought if you were a ” Yank Overseas”, all you had to do was ” jerk the chain”, and all the help you needed arrived tout suite ! Shows you don’t it ? ! !
    Anyone out there know who a Peasant like me could write to in the USA to get some Petition stirred up ? Heaps of things I can’t do all that well, but ” Stirring” is not one of them !
    As for the query above:- why Dr.Ibrahim’s husband didn’t convert to Islam ….1) Maybe he didn’t want to ! and 2) What would be the point, knowing his wife had been raised in her muslim father’s absence, by her Chriastian mother ?
    I can’t help but to wonder, why people in all the Religions get so excited , about how to interpret the Holy Books:- the Bible, the Koran, the Tora etc. For me , they all seem to be written by our Ancient Ancestors, who thought what a good plan it would be to set down all the ” stuff ” , for the guidance of future generations.
    Getting too complicated for me ! Goodnight , Eddie ! !

  • Larry

    Our relations with Sudan are “troubled” at best. The country was a haven for Osama Bin Laden for some time. They hate us, we think their government is a bunch of genocidal terror loving thugs.

    An American there is pretty much on their own. The Department of State Travel advisory for the nation lists Sudan as “You want to go THERE? Are you kidding me?”

    Christians are considered a foreign enemy to the government of Sudan. They spent 40 years trying to wipe them out. The Christians got the last laugh. Last year the Christian majority southern region was able to get the UN to declare them a separate country. This is less about whose holy books are better than the other and more about ethnic and now political/national divisions in Sudanese society.

  • A

    I see no single argument in your post.

  • Apostasy from reason and logical precision –
    (apo = from, and stasis = station, standing, or position)

    According to the Holy Quran apostasy cannot have anything to do with a certain personal confession but rather with its attitude of soundness or arbitrariness.

    (22:17) Indeed, those who have believed and those who were Jews and the Sabeans and the Christians and the Magians and those who associated with Allah – Allah will judge between them on the Day of Resurrection. Indeed Allah is, over all things, Witness.

    (5:48) And We have revealed to you, [O Muúammad], the Book in truth, confirming that which preceded it of the Scripture and as a criterion over it. So judge between them by what Allah has revealed and do not follow their inclinations away from what has come to you of the truth. To each of you We prescribed a law and a method. Had Allah willed, He would have made you one nation [united in religion], but [He intended] to test you in what He has given you; so race to [all that is] good. To Allah is your return all together, and He will [then] inform you concerning that over which you used to differ.

  • sūrat l-fatḥ (The Victory) (48:26) …those who disbelieved had put into their hearts chauvinism – the chauvinism of the time of ignorance…

  • Atheist Max

    So many claims.
    All of it is debatable.
    How could a true god be so unclear?

  • Eddie

    There’s a whole heap of talk going down, but how many people are DOING anything. For me, I just tried to start a Petition to Mr. Omar al-Bashir, the President of Sudan, but something went wrong with the download, and I couldn’t get my Document to ” go through”….that was on the website of :-Change.Org.
    I then got on to the Website of :- “Be Heard”, with the intention of sending a Donation, BUT it wouldn’t ” go through ” as the Form rejected the Expiry Date of my Visa Card ! Anyone wanting to add their name to their Petition can do so, by Googling ”, or E.Mailing;
    I do wonder though if Mister al Bashir would take much notice even if a Million folks signed it.
    Someone said to me yesterday , ” What they need ( Mr. and Dr. Ibrahim) is an Entebe Raid”….what’s that ? Cheers , Eddie

  • Eddie

    Hi Y’ All ! No further comment since mine of the 20th then !
    Why don’t you ALL sign a couple of Petitions, not that Mr. al-Bashir will take any notice , of people from outside of Sudan ! BUT…you just can’t tell ! I just added my Signature on the following two, and would bid you to do the same and stir these two Sites around to friends:- Google Search these lines :-
    Petition/Don’t execute 6 months pregnant Mariam Yehya Ibrahim
    and :- President of Sudan Omar al-Bashir save Mariam Yahya Ibrahim.

    I was glad to see a HEAP of people already signed., Hast la vista, Eddie !