Free Meriam Yahya Ibrahim Now.
I demand that my government, and especially President Obama, take visible and immediate steps to open her cell door and bring her here. Her husband is an American citizen as are their two children. If this were not enough, she is a worthy candidate for political asylum based on religious persecution. I have recently worked with Christian lawyers in the United States who have been successful on behalf of their Christian clients who faced being honor killed by their families, not by the state, for converting to Christianity.
Meriam never converted to Christianity. It was her and her mother’s life-long religion.
How can President Obama, whose father was a Muslim but who was a practicing Christian, live with himself if he does not free this beautiful, innocent African sister who has been jailed under medieval circumstances, treated like an animal, and who faces 100 lashes and public execution? Her crime? She refuses to renounce her religion, insists she never practiced Islam, does not want to leave Christianity and is even willing to withstand torture and death for its sake.
Meriam reminds me of none other than Sol Hachuel, a nineteenth century Moroccan Jewish teenager. An evil neighbor accused her of having secretly converted to Islam. The accusation was baseless. Nevertheless, the Islamic state arrested and tortured her. She remained firm. “A Jewess I was born, a Jewess I wish to die.” In 1834, in Fez, she was publicly be-headed for her refusal to embrace Islam. (I thank Dr. Andrew Bostom for unearthing her story and sharing it with us all).
Our country is founded on religious freedom. Although–or because religion and state are separate–we are free to privately practice the religion of our choice, change that religion, practice no religion at all.
A country like Sudan does not believe in freedom of religion. As an Islamic and Islamist state, they follow Shariah law. As such, Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Pakistan, and Afghanistan, as well as many other Muslim countries, practice both religious and gender apartheid. This is the very crime that Israel is so falsely accused of in the Muslim and left-wing world.
Historically, Islam conquered the Arabian peninsula, central Asia, and even Spain by the sword. They colonized, they were imperialists, they slaughtered men, and enslaved women and children. Muslims viewed black Africans as third or fourth class beings, after “dhimmis” or infidels. While there may have been moments of relative harmony or privilege in Muslim lands, especially for infidels who were very wealthy and useful, essentially, infidels: Jews, Christians, Buddhists, Hindus, Bahai, and Zoroastrians, were barely tolerated, essentially despised, taxed, forced to do menial labor for low wages, jailed, exiled, and murdered either by the state or by mobs.
This is why, after many centuries of doing nothing, as churches after churches were turned into mosques and both priests and believers were slaughtered, that the Christian European Crusades finally took place. The Eastern Church was under the most profound Islamic siege and the Crusaders tried to defend their brethren. Read Ibn Warraq’s very fine histories on this subject.
Alas, the American churches today are not rescuing their brethren who are literally being crucified in Pakistan and Afghanistan, murdered in Egypt, forced to flee the Arab Middle East if they can.
I am not a true believer in internet activism. All the hashtag grandstanding about the Nigerian Christian girls who were seized and enslaved by the Islamic Boko Haram has not returned them safely to their families. A handful escaped, but the majority of these girls are missing still. I fear that expressing oneself on the internet, joining the equivalent of a roving digital mob makes one feel one has “done something,” but expressing oneself this way does not often open a jail cell or free a captive.
Laurie Jalbert, a Christian woman, has launched a petition and a website on Meriam’s behalf. I hope she proves me wrong. I hope that this petition has “legs,” that it is used to get American senators and congressmen to act, to persuade President Obama to act.
Who is to say that the Sudanese government might not one day seize the American President and hold him hostage until he “reverts” to his father’s religion? That is what is at stake here. No more, no less.
Either we stand up to such barbarians or we make deals with them–until they come for us.