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Meriam Yehya Ibrahim and The Right to Convert

Written by Ed Stetzer Feed on . Posted in Ed Stetzer

Meriam Yehya Ibrahim, a Sudanese woman once sentenced to death for marrying a Christian, has been freed.

You've surely heard of Meriam Yehya Ibrahim, a 27-year-old Sudanese woman who was sentenced to death for committing apostasy by marrying a Christian man.

Ibrahim, who says she has never been a Muslim, was recognized by the government as a Muslim because she was born to a Muslim father, and children must adopt the religion of their fathers by Sudanese law. Thus, when Ibrahim married a Christian man, she committed a crime in the eyes of the government by, in their view, converting from Islam to Christianity.

Thankfully, this morning, this human rights horror story has ended with the freedom of Ibrahim.

There is some debate about whether this is, or is not, apostasy according to Sudanese (and Islamic) law. This came into play becuase of the legal case—she was more likely to be released if it was not apostacy.

Yet, that misses a key question: why was this able to happen in the first place? Why was a Sudanese woman able to be jailed and sentenced to death for converting to a different faith, however it is legally described? Further, why does this happen so often?

Well, it would be naive to think that this is not related to Islam, apostasy, and religious persecution.

The Prevalence of Restriction

The subject of religion throughout the world is certainly a touchy one. In Western context, there are three things you don't talk about: politics, religion, and money. Yet, times like these require us to poke the hornet's nest and look at two of the three: politics and religion.

In some countries, particularly those with Muslim governments, religious freedom is drastically restricted. The fact of the matter is, however, that people of different faiths are living in proximity more than ever—globalization ...

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