Category archives: Religious Persecution

Meriam Ibrahim to be Freed

by Travis Weber

June 23, 2014

In a heartening turn of events, it appears a Sudanese appeals court has overturned a lower court ruling in which Sudanese mother Meriam Ibrahim had been sentenced to death for apostasy and 100 lashes for adultery. According to Sudan’s official SUNA news agency (as reported by the Independent),

The appeal court ordered the release of Mariam Yahya and the cancellation of the (previous) court ruling.”

This is certainly a good bit of news, as numerous human rights organizations and governments had pressured Sudan and called on the ruling to be reversed. The U.S. government had been slow to respond, however, only recently issuing statements bearing on the matter. Numerous groups had spoken and petitioned on the matter, including the Family Research Council. And in Sudan, Meriam’s attorneys had filed appeals and vowed to fight to the end.

Though what exactly caused the ruling to be reversed remains unclear, we are appreciative of all who spoke out against this blatant human rights violation. No one in the world today, no matter where and under what system of positive law they live, should be compelled to adhere to certain religious beliefs under threat of death or any other punishment. Thankfully, Meriam is now free.

Yet, this matter is not concluded. Though there are some in Sudan supportive of Meriam (Sudanese have demonstrated on her behalf, and her attorneys are Sudanese Muslims), there are others who are not. There have been threats to her life. Once she is freed, she will be in a position to leave Sudan. At that point, it will matter what the U.S. government has or has not done. As Family Research Council asked in its White House petition, available here - https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/act-case-meriam-ibrahim-sudan-and-her-baby-and-toddler-prison/D1x1q4VG - we again call upon President Obama to heed the thousands of petitioning Americans who have asked that he grant Meriam and her two children expedited safe haven in the United States.

Your Voice is Needed to Save Meriam Ibrahim

by Family Research Council

June 17, 2014

Since having the privilege of interning at the Family Research Council this summer, I have been reminded of how crucial it is for Christians to be informed about what is going on in our culture. Not only is it our responsibility to be informed citizens, but it is an honor to live in a nation where we can use our voice to share our beliefs. Last week, I had the opportunity to raise my voice outside the doorstep of the White House for Meriam Ibrahim.

Meriam and I both love the Lord Jesus and we are both committed Christians. Yet, Meriam has endured persecution for her faith that I cannot even fathom. She was raised in a Christian home and married a Christian American citizen. Amidst severe scrutiny by the Sudanese government, Meriam has remained vocal about her faith and has refused to renounce Christ. As a result, Meriam, along with her two children who are likely eligible for U.S. citizenship, has been shackled in a Khartoum prison since January of this year. If not overturned, Meriam has been sentenced to a beating of 100 lashes and death by hanging. Though she is pressed down on every side, she has remained true to our Lord.

Fortunate to live in a nation where I can utilize my freedom of religion and freedom of speech, last Thursday, I participated in a rally to demand this woman’s release. I joined several others outside the gates of the White House where we urged the Obama administration to take action to help with Meriam’s release. We rallied outside the doors of the White House and we called on President Obama to grant her immediately safe haven.

Let me be clear, every part of me believes that we are to speak the truth in love. It is from a heart that is overflowing with love that I pray for those in authority over me; it is from this same heart that I urged my leaders to help release this woman and her young children.

This life refuses to adopt a lifestyle of passivity. In the words of William Wilberforce, “You may choose to look the other way but you can never again say you did not know.” Every part of me refuses to look the other way.

One day, Christ will come and He will establish His eternal reign. Until then, Paul exhorts the church in Ephesians 6 to “having done all, stand.” Have we done all to act on this woman’s behalf?

Our help is needed. Our voices are needed. Our time to act is now. Please join me in signing this petition for Meriam’s release: www.frc.org/sudan. We are more than halfway to our goal of 100,000 signers, which is the number the White House requires before it will respond to a citizens’ petition.

To whom much has been given, much will be expected. Americans have been given much. We’ve been given a voice. We’ve been given freedom. Let’s be wise stewards.

The “Top Ten” Countries for Violence Against Christians

by Rob Schwarzwalder

June 12, 2014

The respected anti-persecution ministry Open Doors has released its annual “Top Ten Violence List of countries in which Christians have experienced the most violent incidents for their faith in Jesus Christ.”

Nigeria, thanks to be vicious actions of the Islamist “Boko Haram” group, ranks first on the list. The others, in order, are: Syria, Egypt, Central African Republic (CAR), Mexico, Pakistan, Colombia, India, Kenya and Iraq. For a complete country summary of the Top 10 Violence List, click here.

Today, FRC President Tony Perkins and a host of FRC staffers went to the White House to call on President Obama to work for the release of Meriam Ibrahim from a fetid Sudanese prison, in which she is being held with her toddler son and newborn daughter. Her crime? Her refusal to jettison her lifelong Christian faith. FRC joined 40 other groups in calling on the President at least to make a public statement of support for this woman, who is married to an American citizen and whose children arguably are thus themselves American citizens. Meriam and her little ones should be released — now — and the U.S. government should take the lead in making this happen.

You can read Tony’s remarks and learn more about this tragic situation here.

Saving Meriam Ibrahim

by Family Research Council

June 10, 2014

Christians have a responsibility to speak for those who can’t speak for themselves. Proverbs 31 calls Christ-followers to defend the cause of the weak. All throughout, Scripture clearly instructs Christians to raise their voice for those who have no voice.

Today, you have the opportunity to help speak up for someone who is not able to speak for herself. She is a wife. She is a mother of two young children. She sits jailed In a Khartoum prison, a place she knows far too well. Why? She is a Christian.

Ladies and gentlemen, allow me to introduce you to Meriam Ibrahim. Ever since January of this year, this woman has been shackled in Sudan for her Christian faith. Even in the face of extreme persecution, this woman of God has stood strong in her faith. One of her children, a newborn, was born during her imprisonment. Currently, Meriam awaits a death sentence for refusing to renounce her faith in Christ. If not overturned, her sentence could include 100 lashes and execution.

The time to act is now. We can talk all we want about caring for the weak but right now is a fitting time to practice what we know to be right. I invite you to raise your voice for one who cannot speak for herself. Please sign this petition calling for Meriam’s release and requesting that President Obama grant her expedited safe haven in the United States. Together, let’s raise our voice for one who is voiceless.

FRC Stands for Religious Liberty, at Home and Abroad

by Rob Schwarzwalder

May 8, 2014

The news out of Nigeria is horrifying: nearly 300 girls abducted, raped, and “on the block” for sale as slaves, and the mass murder of more than 300 people in a village in the northeastern part of the country.

Boko Haram” is an Islamist terrorist group that, over the past several years, has murdered thousands, burned hundreds of churches, and sought to destroy Christianity in northern Nigeria. FRC was one of several groups last year that called on the U.S. State Department to designate the Boko Haram as the Islamist terrorist group it is, after years of the Obama Administration’s resistance to doing so.

Although the Obama Administration has been late in recognizing the severity of Boko Haram’s threat, FRC has partnered with our friends in the Jubilee Campaign, the Institute on Religion and Democracy, the Christian Association of Nigerian-Americans, the American Center for Law and Justice, and other groups to encourage awareness of and prayer regarding this murderous organization. We have featured Nigerian human rights attorney and Christian activist Emmanuel Ogebe and several of his colleagues here at FRC, and FRC President Tony Perkins hosted Emmanuel on his November 2012 webcast on international Christian persecution.

FRC joins other Christian organizations and churches in standing with the persecuted church around the world. Persecution of people who claim the Name of Christ is occurring on a worldwide and intensifying scale, and we urge all believers to work and pray for those in prison or under threat for the sake of Jesus.

And we work at home for what we demand abroad: Religious liberty. For example, earlier this week the Supreme Court ruled in favor of public prayer before governmental gatherings, and FRC played a role in this important decision with our amicus brief signed by 49 Members of Congress. From maintaining religious liberty in the military to protecting and advancing our “first freedom” in every facet of American life through legal and political action, FRC is vigorously championing the religious liberty for which our forebears fought and died.

James Madison called religious liberty “the luster of our country.” FRC is committed to keeping that luster glowing ever brighter for ourselves and our children. Learn more about how you can join us by clicking here.

Religious Persecution Around the World is Growing

by Rob Schwarzwalder

January 17, 2014

Religious persecution around the world is growing. Consider two recent studies from respected sources, Pew Research and Open Doors USA, and a summary analysis by The Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs at Georgetown University. Here are excerpts and links to each of these moving reports:

Pew Research: “The share of countries with a high or very high level of social hostilities involving religion reached a six-year peak in 2012, according to a new study by the Pew Research Center. A third (33%) of the 198 countries and territories included in the study had high religious hostilities in 2012, up from 29% in 2011 and 20% as of mid-2007. Religious hostilities increased in every major region of the world except the Americas.”

Open Doors USA: “For the 12th consecutive year the hermit communist country of North Korea remains the world’s most restrictive nation in which to practice Christianity, according to the Open Doors 2014 World Watch List (WWL). However, a major trend which the WWL tracked in 2013 was a marked increase in persecution for Christian communities in states that are commonly regarded as ‘failed.’ A failed country is defined ‘as a weak state where social and political structures have collapsed to the point where government has little or no control’.”

Berkley Center: “A common myth is that it is just fear-mongering to imagine that Christians and other religious groups could suffer serious restrictions in Western countries. Of course, Western countries have been free of the kinds of violent attacks on Christians and other religious groups that have occurred in countries such as Egypt and Syria in recent years. But the trend lines are not encouraging.”

We do not experience physical attacks or imprisonment in the U.S. We do experience a growing tide of anti-religious bias, not just from our culture but from the current administration (as FRC has documented at length).

Loss of liberty is seldom, if ever, sudden. Almost invariably, it occurs incrementally. The Obama mandate that even explicitly Christian-based businesses, religious colleges and universities, and faith-based hospitals must provide their employees access to at least one health insurance plan that includes coverage of drugs that can produce abortions is a troubling sign that the incremental erosion of our “first freedom” is real.

FRC continues to lead the battle to oppose the mandate and is active with the conservative legal community to fight this disturbing Obama Administration proposal. We also continue to stand with people of Christian faith who are killed, tortured, and expelled from their homes and schools simply because of their profession of faith. If you already haven’t, please join us.

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