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Faith in God was my only weapon, says Meriam Ibrahim

19 September 2014

ISTOCK

THE Sudanese Christian woman sentenced to death for allegedly renouncing Islam, Meriam Ibrahim, has said that she never considered abandoning her faith to save her life.

In an interview with Fox News, in the United States, where she now lives, having been freed after a successful appeal against her conviction, Ms Ibrahim said that her faith in God was "the only weapon I had in these confrontations between imams and Muslim scholars". The authorities had repeatedly sent imams into her prison in an attempt to persuade her to convert to Islam and avoid execution.

"I was given three days [to renounce my faith]. I faced a tremendous amount of pressure," she said. "The situation was difficult, but I was sure that God would stand by my side. It's my right to follow the religion of my choice."

Ms Ibrahim, who denied committing apostasy, and said that she had always been a Christian, was pregnant when she was arrested and tried, and eventually gave birth in prison while still shackled in chains (News, 30 May).

She told the news network that many Christians faced persecution in Sudan. "There are many Meriams in Sudan and throughout the world. I'm not the only one suffering from this problem.

"It is a well-known fact that Christians are persecuted and treated harshly [in Sudan]. Sometimes, imprisoned Christians with financial difficulties are told that the government will pay off their debts if they convert to Islam."

She said that she was sad to leave the land of her birth for the US, but was glad, with her children, to be reunited with her husband, Daniel Wani, a US citizen. They now live in a Christian Sudanese community in New Hampshire (News, 1 August).

"I would like to help the people in Sudan, in Africa, especially women and children, to promote freedom of religion," she said. "If you don't have faith, you're not alive."

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