- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 15, 2014

A Sudanese woman who is eight months pregnant was sentenced to death Thursday after she refused to give up her Christian faith.

The Associated Press reported that Meriam Ibrahim, 26, a Muslim-by-birth, was convicted of apostasy by a court in Khartoum on Sunday and given four days to renounce her faith before the sentence would be passed.

Amnesty International in a statement called the sentencing “abhorrent” and demanded Ms. Ibrahim’s immediate release.


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“The fact that a woman could be sentenced to death for her religious choice, and to flogging for being married to a man of an allegedly different religion, is abhorrent and should never be even considered,” the group’s Sudan researcher, Manar Idriss, said.

Sudan enforces Sharia law, which prohibits Muslim women from marrying non-Muslim men and requires women to follow their father’s religion. The AP reported that Ms. Ibrahim’s father was Muslim, but he left the family when she was very young. Ms. Ibrahim was raised by her Orthodox Christian mother.

Ms. Ibrahim’s attorney Al-Shareef Ali al-Shareef Mohammed told the AP that he planned on appealing the court’s decision.

“The judge has exceeded his mandate when he ruled that Meriam’s marriage was void because her husband was out of her faith,” Mr. Mohammed said. “He was thinking more of Islamic Shariah laws than of the country’s laws and its constitution.”

The AP reported that Ms. Ibrahim was also convicted of “zena,” the Arabic word for illegitimate sex, because she had sexual relations with her husband, Daniel Wani, a Christian. The punishment for “zena” is 100 lashes.

Ms. Ibrahim and Mr. Wani were married in 2011 and have an 18-month-old son, Martin, who is with her in jail, the AP reported.

FREEDOM ON FACEBOOK

Iranian women are flouting an Islamic law that requires they wear headscarves by uploading onto Facebook images of themselves with their hair blowing in the wind.

The “Stealthy Freedoms of Iranian Women” page has more than 200,000 “likes” in the two weeks it’s been online.

The page’s creator, Iranian journalist Masih Alinejad, who is based in London, told The Guardian she started the page “to give voice to thousands and thousands of Iranian women who think they have no platform to have their say.”

“For 30 years I wore hijab in front of my dad. It took time for me to be able to come out and tell people I prefer to have no hijab, that I want to be myself,” Ms. Alinejad said. “I have no intention whatsoever to encourage people to defy the forced hijab or stand up against it.”

For the 35 years the Islamic Republic has existed, Iranian women have been required to wear headscarves.

The page shows many images of Iranian women with joyful smiles on their faces and their hair — normally hidden beneath a hijab — blowing in the wind.

“It had been the very first time I had ever seen the desert,” posted one woman in a photo standing in the desert, her face to the sun. “As sun was rising in order to respect her beauty, I took my headscarf off so that she could see me beautiful too. That feeling was great I was fearless in the desert..”

HOLOWHAT?

More than 1 billion people around the globe harbor anti-Semitic feelings, and 35 percent of the population has never heard of the Holocaust, according to a survey from the Anti-Defamation League.

The survey was conducted between July 2013 and February 2014, and is compiled from answers from more than 53,000 interviews conducted in more than 100 countries and territories.

“For the first time we have a real sense of how pervasive and persistent anti-Semitism is today around the world,” ADL National Director Abraham H. Foxman said.

The survey scores were compiled by asking people to choose between “probably true” and “probably false” for 11 anti-Semitic stereotypes. These stereotypes included “Jews are more loyal to Israel than they are to [the country the surveyed person lives in],” and “Jews still talk too much about what happened to them during the Holocaust.”

Barry Curtiss-Lusher, ADL National Chair, called some of the levels of anti-Semitism “shocking.”

About 26 percent of those surveyed harbored some kind of anti-Semitic feeling, by answering “probably true” to six or more stereotypes.

What an excellent day for AN Ex Corde Ecclesiae

The author of “The Exorcist” has a bone to pick with his alma mater Georgetown University, and he might have a powerful ally in Rome.

William Peter Blatty, the creative mind behind the story of an old priest, a young priest, and a possessed girl, received a response from the Vatican regarding his petition for the school to lose its label as both “Catholic” and “Jesuit.”

According to a report in National Catholic Register, Archbishop Angelo Vincenzo Zani, the secretary of the Vatican’s Congregation for Catholic Education responded to Mr. Blatty’s petition saying that, while the congregation could not grant Mr. Blatty’s petition for “hierarchic recourse,” the Register said, Archbishop Zani did say the petition does “constitute a well-founded complaint.”

In his 10-page request filed in September and includes 2,000 signatures of support, Mr. Blatty admitted that while he owed a lot to the school, “it grieves me that Georgetown University today almost seems to take pride in insulting the Church and offending the faithful.”

Mr. Blatty and his supporters are using the platform of Ex Corde Ecclesia, a code of conduct for Catholic universities set forth by Pope John Paul II.

The Register pointed out that the university has in the past invited former Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, a supporter of abortion rights, to speak on campus, and the school has established a gay resource center.

Meredith Somers covers issues of faith and religion. She can be reached at msomers@washingtontimes.com.