Translating Words, Interpreting Events

Islam: ‘Appalling and Abhorrent’ in the Eyes of a Blind World?

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A few days ago in Sudan, an eight-month pregnant wife and mother was sentenced to death by hanging for refusing to renounce Christ and embrace Islam.  According to the LA Times:

Meriam Ibrahim and husband, son and protester

Meriam Yehya Ibrahim, who has a young son and is married to a Christian from South Sudan, violated Islamic sharia law, the court said. She insists she was raised Christian, not Muslim.

The court also ordered Ibrahim to be flogged for having sexual relations with her husband, since her marriage is not recognized by officials.

Ibrahim refused a court order Sunday giving her several days to renounce her Christian faith, which resulted in the sentencing Thursday….

Ibrahim, currently jailed with her son, will be allowed to give birth and raise her second child until the age of 2 years but then faces execution. Sudanese authorities refuse to allow Ibrahim’s son to reside with her husband because the husband is Christian.

Tragic as this story is, it is also immensely commonplace in Islamic countries.  Why? Because Islamic law does in fact punish the apostate from Islam—including with death—in accordance with the commands of the Muslim prophet Muhammad.  Indeed, many Muslim clerics believe that “If the [death] penalty for apostasy was ignored, there would not be an Islam today; Islam would have ended on the death of the prophet,” as top Sheikh Yusuf Qaradawi once declared on live television.

Of more significance is the Amnesty International statement concerning Meriam Ibrahim’s plight. While its criticism is aimed at Sudan’s legal system, the statement unwittingly provides a glimpse of how the international community would view Islam if it could actually understand that these human rights abuses are not products of this or that government or regime, but of Islam itself.

According to the Amnesty International statement:

The fact that a woman has been sentenced to death for her religious choice, and to flogging for being married to a man of an allegedly different religion is appalling and abhorrent.

Adultery and apostasy are acts which should not be considered crimes at all. It is flagrant breach of international human rights law.  The right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion, which includes the freedom to hold beliefs, is far-reaching and profound; it encompasses freedom of thought on all matters, personal conviction and the commitment to religion or belief (emphasis added).

If, as Amnesty International declares, flogging and executing a person, in this case a pregnant woman, because of her “religious choice” and marrying a man of a “different religion” are “appalling and abhorrent”; if they are a “flagrant breach of international human rights law”—what do we make of the fact that Muslim converts to Christianity are punished and sometimes killed all across the Islamic world?

Consider the following anecdotes, a few examples, most from 2013 alone (culled from my monthly “Muslim Persecution of Christians” series and listed in country alphabetical order):

Afghanistan: A member of Afghanistan’s Parliament said that all Afghans who convert to Christianity should be executed.  His exact words: “Afghani citizens continue to convert to Christianity in India. Numerous Afghanis have become Christians in India. This is an offense to Islamic Laws and according to the Quran they need to be executed.” As one of many live examples,  Said Musa, an amputee and father of six young children, was once charged with apostasy and pressured to renounce Christianity, but he refused. So he was imprisoned, suffering “sexual abuse, beatings, mockery, and sleep deprivation because of his faith in Jesus.”

Algeria: The wife of Ali Touahir, a 52-year-old Muslim convert to Christianity, left him, taking their seven-year-old daughter, and is divorcing him in court.  One of his wife’s brothers openly threatened to kill apostate.  The wife’s lawyer asserted: “It is not possible that my client [the Muslim wife] still remain under the same roof with a man who has renounced his religion, as he became apostate; and we are not ignorant of the punishment that is due an apostate under sharia [death].”

Cameroon: Two Muslim converts to Christianity were shot dead and two others wounded, in the Christian-majority African nation where Muslims make approximately 20 percent of the population.  One of them was previously threatened by the Nigerian Islamic terrorist group Boko Haram to return to Islam or “face Allah’s wrath.”

Egypt: A court sentenced an entire family—Nadia Mohamed Ali and her seven children—to fifteen years in prison for converting to Christianity. A born Christian, Nadia had earlier converted to Islam and married a Muslim man; reconverting back to Christianity after the death of her husband, she attempted to reflect this change formally on her identity card and her children’s, which created suspicions among security, who arrested the family.  Separately and days ago in Egypt, after a former Muslim woman on live television announced her apostasy and lack of faith in Muhammad as the “Messenger of Allah,” she was insulted, ridiculed, and thrown off the set by the host.

Iran: Imprisoned American pastor Saeed Abedini was reported as “facing physical and psychological torture at the hands of captors demanding he renounce his beliefs.” The 32-year-old married father of two, who left his home in Boise, Idaho, to help start an orphanage in his former country, once detailed “horrific pressures” and “death threats” in a letter to family members: “My eyes get blurry, my body does not have the strength to walk, and my steps become very weak and shaky…  They are only waiting for one thing…for me to deny Christ. But they will never get this from me.”  The imprisonment and torture of Muslim converts to Christianity in Iran is quite common (recall the plight of Pastor Yousef Nadarkhani).  According to Adnkronos News, “renouncing the Muslim faith is punishable with the death penalty [in Iran]. Over 300 Iranian converts to Christianity have been arrested over the past two years, according to opposition websites.”

Kyrgyz: After a young Muslim girl converted to Christianity, her parents “wanted her to recant and renounce her faith in Christ, so they began to beat her systematically till she lost consciousness… It was winter when all of this happened, so her parents put her into a cold room and kept her there for several days. Still they were unable to break her spirit.  They then started pulling her hair and put her face against the stove, burning her face. In spite of this, she remained faithful.”

Morocco: A fatwa, or Islamic decree, by the government’s top religious authority, calls for the execution of those Muslims who leave Islam, causing many Christian converts to live in fear. Lamented one Christian: “The fatwa showed us that our country is still living in the old centuries—no freedom, no democracy.  Unfortunately, we feel that we aren’t protected. We can be arrested or now even killed any time and everywhere. The majority of the Christian Moroccan leaders have the same feeling.  We are more followed now by the secret police than before. Only the Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ gives us courage and peace.”

Pakistan: A 16-year-old Muslim boy who converted to Christianity was abducted in Peshawar by Taliban-linked Islamic militants “and his fate may already be marked, as he is considered ‘guilty of apostasy.’” As one Pakistani pastor explained, “If a young Muslim converts to Christianity in Pakistan, he is forced to live in hiding. Every Muslim might feel compelled to kill him. The change of religion is not punished by the civil law, it is punishable by Islamic law. For this reason cases of Muslim conversion to Christianity are very rare and some convert in secret.”   Muhammad Kamran, a Muslim convert to Christianity, exemplifies the pastor’s words.  After he told his wife of his conversion, she abused and exposed him, resulting in his being severely beaten by local Muslims.  In his words: “No one was willing to let me live the life I wanted [as a Christian]—they say Islam is not a religion of compulsion, but no one has been able to tell me why Muslims who don’t find satisfaction in the religion [such as myself] become liable to be killed.”

Saudi Arabia:  After a woman was exposed as having converted to Christianity, she was sentenced to six years in prison and 300 lashes.  Although she managed to flee the nation and went into hiding, the Christian Lebanese man accused of introducing her to Christianity received six years in prison and 300 lashes.

Somalia:  The Al-Qaeda linked Al Shabaab (“The Youth”), which has vowed to cleanse the Horn of Africa of all Christian presence, has slaughtered countless Muslim converts to Christianity—men, women, and children—in the last few years.  Most recently, Al Shabaab shot to death 42-year-old Fartun Omar, a widow and mother of five, for converting to Christianity.  Months earlier, they had killed her husband for the same “crime,” and had been hunting for the wife. In a separate incident, Al Shabaab publicly executed a 28-year-old man after determining that he had in fact become a Christian.    Al Shabaab Muslims also seized Hassan Gulled, 25, for leaving Islam and converting to Christianity, and imprisoned him, and tortured him.  According to local sources, “Al Shabaab have been torturing him to see whether he would deny his Christian faith. Since last week, no information has surfaced concerning Gulled. There is a possibility that he could have been killed.”

Tanzania: At the time pregnant and with three children, Lukia Khalid explained how when she told her Muslim husband that she had converted to Christianity, “He threatened to kill me if I was to stay with him. I then decided to escape that night with my three children to a neighbor’s house….  We left only with the clothes that we were wearing.  The command was so urgent that we could not wait any longer. We had to leave immediately.”  Last heard, they were living in destitute conditions.

One can go on and on with examples (see Crucified Again: Exposing Islam’s New War on Christians, pages 96-135, for a more thorough expose, including on the doctrine and history of apostasy in Islam, and dozens of more recent examples).

Returning to Meriam Ibrahim, the pregnant Sudanese mother set to be executed for refusing to recant Christ and embrace Islam, some questions and observations are in order:

Are all the other anecdotes listed above not equally “appalling and abhorrent”—to use Amnesty International’s words describing Meriam’s specific plight?  Are they not all a “flagrant breach of international human rights law”?

If so, and if the international community is actually serious about putting a stop to them, should it not try to ascertain the true source behind them?

After all, considering that Muslim converts to Christianity are being attacked all throughout the Islamic world—including in nations as diverse as Algeria, Iran, Pakistan, Egypt, and Kyrgyz—surely the source is not something as simple as “Sudan’s legal system.”

The fact is, Muslim converts to Christianity are even under attack in Europe.  In Norway alone, for example, two Iranian converts out for a walk were stabbed with knives by masked men shouting “infidels!” One of the men stabbed had converted in Iran, was threatened there, and immigrated to Norway, thinking he could escape Islam’s apostasy penalty.  Earlier, an Afghan convert to Christianity was scalded with boiling water and acid at a Norwegian refugee processing center: “If you do not return to Islam, we will kill you,” his attackers told him.

Of course, the true source for all these attacks on Muslim converts to Christianity—in nations that do not share race, language, culture, politics, or economics—is Islam itself.  Anyone with common sense, anyone with the ability to be honest with oneself, must concede as much.   There is no other reasonable way to explain such identical patterns of abuse in such a wide array of nations.

But so long as the international community and human rights organizations fail to employ some common sense and honesty—fail to call a spade a spade—so will they ensure that countless more innocent humans like Meriam Ibrahim continue to suffer “appalling and abhorrent” treatment, simply for trying to exercise their “right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion” under Islam.

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  • RationalFearOfTerror

    The Indonesians should have considered US President Lincoln’s insightful statement of 1856 before agreeing to Sharia Law in Aceh, as any country who considers such an incredible dangerous act should do.

    “Critics have long pointed out that under Yudhoyono’s watch, Islamic Shariah was introduced in the country, albeit only in Aceh province, while bylaws deemed discriminating against religious minorities and women have mushroomed throughout the country.”

    Editorial: Aceh’s Shariah Law Warrants Discussion By Jakarta Globe on 06:35 pm May 11, 2014

    “Slavery (‘Islam’) must be kept out of Kansas (‘Aceh’)! The test-the pinch-is right there. If we lose Kansas (‘Aceh’) to freedom, an example will be set which will prove fatal to freedom in the end. We therefore,.., “lay the axe to the root of the tree”. Temporizing will not do longer; now is the time for decision-for firm, persistent, resolute action.” Lincoln 1856

    Was/is Lincoln right regards the inevitable outcome of allowing a diabolical ethical construct of Other within any Public Square which is of utilitarian benefit via control and subjugation to an elite culture will result in the spread of such ethics;

    in the United States case in the 1800’s Whites via slavery of Black peoples defined as less and subject to the White master to direct as Whites will on pain of grievous harm or severest penalty;

    in the Indonesian case (and elsewhere inclusive of Australia) in 2100’s Muslims via Islam’s genocidal constructs of Other and misogynistic constructs of woman determining both as less and subject to the Muslim master to direct as Muslims will on pain of grievous harm or severest penalty?

    Was/is Lincoln right that ”Temporizing” regards such constructs of benefit to certain cultural elites is not a solution – in time and space Freedom will end?

    Was/is Lincoln right that ” the axe to the root of the tree” is required regards such constructs of benefit to certain cultural elites as the ‘tree’ will simply grow back – in time and space Freedom will end?

    Change the Architect and Builder or Change Nothing.

    How do you go about it. One Child Lost is One Child Too Many. One Child Lost is One Child Too Many. One Child Lost is One Child Too Many. One Child…

  • dia61

    US policy is being influenced by these filthy, hate mongering pieces of garbage.
    If most Muslims actually had the desire, intelligence ,( and freedom) to read their own book and the Hadith, to learn about their REAL history, and have the guts to be appalled by the truth, then this diseased -infested dogma wouldn’t have spread to the unenlightened masses as it once did.
    Kemal ( the Father of the once secular Turkish Republic) is my hero and I’ll tell you why.
    He despised Islam and knew that his beloved country would and could be saved ONLY by getting rid of it and Sharia Law.
    Kemal was not perfect. Yes, he was a drunk, and he was a bigtime ladies man, and he CERTAINLY wasn’t beloved to the Greeks. HOWEVER, make no mistake, Turkey was on the fast track to morphing in to Yemen. Kemal was Turkey’s savior.
    AS for the Gulen groupies and the Wahhabi/Salafist/Sharia apologists,……’s my advice: get your brains out of your sorry butts and READ the truth.
    If you then choose to become a disciple of this Satanic cult, then, well,…… is what you choose to be.
    And, for those of you who think that Islam and Middle Eastern culture are synonymous,…….again,…… are sadly mistaken.
    The Levant, Phoenicia, Ancient Egypt, ….. existed long before Islam was brought to life by a hate mongering pedophile with a massive inferiority complex.
    I no longer have an ounce of “pc” when it comes to this abortion, aka Islam.

    Thank you, as always, Raymond, for having the brains, the heart, and the guts to tell the truth.
    I love your sweet soul.
    God Bless You

  • liz

    Even Muslim clerics themselves admit (!) that the only thing that keeps their worthless religion alive is the fear harbored by its unfortunate adherents of being murdered for apostasy. Sounds like the Mafia, the Gestapo, and the Manson family all rolled into one.

  • friendlykamustaka

    I often wonder how the “average muslim” must feel, as he watches his religion being so exposed. To watch one of your leading clerics publicly admit that only the killing of apostates, or at least the threat of it, has kept the faith alive, must be pretty humiliating, in this case for Egyptian muslims. As I keep saying, Islam will eventually die of shame.

    Nothing that has happened in the past two decades is new in Islamic history. The only difference now is that, with the Internet, the world can see how Islam becomes dominant- only through violence and threats.

    Amnesty International’s description of the ruling as ” appalling and abhorrent” is obviously right, but misses the point completely: the Sudanese judiciary is merely following Islamic Law generally, and Islam’s prophet, specifically. Will Amnesty International publicly reflect this? Are they aware of where the ruling started? Or are they simply too politically-correct to openly criticize the source of the ruling? I’m not holding my breath. However there are clear signs, here in the UK, that the Left are finally starting to lay the blame where it belongs:
    Keep up the good work, Raymond. Articles like these, based as they are on FACTS, cannot be disputed. E-mail/Facebook/Twitter them to all in positions of influence…..

  • janet bratter

    While Mr. Ibrahim makes many good points about the intolerance of Sharia law and Islam in general his argument is undermined by his failure to acknowledge similar historical facts about Christianity; the crusades, the Inquisition, the extermination and enslavement of indiginous peoples wherever European Christians became colonizers, the countless wars between Catholics and Protestants, etc., etc..

    His position is undermined by this one-sidedness. The truth imho is that none of the Judeo-Christian-Islamic religions deserve the respect they demand in our age of scientific inquiry. They are all archaic relics that we would all be better off freeing ourselves from.

    • 11johnmac66

      Raymond Ibrahim’s points are not invalidated by whatever sordid historical facts can be attributed to Christians in the past… Since the ground for those practices were not rooted in the source of Christianity i.e. the teachings of Jesus. And thus out of the Christianised world arose those very human rights that you so rightly cherish…unfortunately that cannot be said about the teachings and example of Muhammad.
      And I have noted also that any actions perpetrated by Christianity of killing ”non-believers” was in the aftermath of Christianity’s appropriation of such methods from Islam, i.e. post 732ad…certain leaders saw how efficient such horrid actions were. ( condemning the crusades because atrocities were committed is akin to condemning all just wars because atrocities were committed amounts to condemning every just war since atrocities are bound- sooner or later to be committed e.g. the bombings of Dresden, Tokyo, Hiroshima…After all it was the constant Islamic aggression against the Byzantium empire that united Christianity to form the crusades and turn back the Muslim forces that set about to destroy her.

      • dia61

        Thank you. You are absolutely correct. It is very hard for some people to understand the fundamental differences. I sincerely hope that Janet Bratter, and people like her, understand what you wrote.

    • RaymondIbrahim

      The problem is that everything you point to is HISTORY — “historical facts about Christianity; the crusades, the Inquisition, the
      extermination and enslavement of indiginous peoples wherever European
      Christians became colonizers, the countless wars between Catholics and
      What I wrote — Muslim attacks on apostates all around the world — deals with the NOW.
      See the difference?

      • janet bratter

        So Islam is catching up. It’s like a baseball game that people like yourself seem so eager to play. Christians had their turn at bat and now it’s the Moslems turn. My point is not based on when a set of religious “true believers” comes to bat. It’s that they all do. If your purpose is to perpetuate the conflict then by all means continue with your methods. The truth remains. You and your opponents ALL have blood on your hands.

        • Jack Diamond

          The equivalence argument is not only tiresome (because wrong) it is a disgraceful excuse for apathy, for doing nothing about the very real slaughter of human beings in the name of Islam and the spread of a very real fascist form of law and government which is the mortal enemy of freedom and human rights that you, I assume, would profess to believe in. Yet you would accuse those who defend themselves and others or would defend their societies from who would destroy it, as having blood on their hands–a pox on all your houses from some detached god-like perspective. An immoral god.

          Islam is not like ANYTHING else. It is primarily political, territorial, all-encompassing and permits of no argument. It means submission. In every area of life. Including how society is ruled. Muslims are obligated to implement Allah’s law everywhere. Islam is the only religion you will find, to mandate warfare against non-believers. There is no “godlen rule” in Islam, instead there is Hate & Enmity for unbelievers (this is a Qur’anic doctrine, incidently). The 23,000+ acts of Islamic terrorism (i.e. murders in the name of Islam) since 9/11 is not remotely comparable to anything else. There is a war on, an existential one, global, financed by some of the wealthiest countries on the planet. Islam was and is again becoming the mortal enemy of our civilization. Islam is exemplified by this death penalty for apostasy–there is no religious freedom in Islamic law, no freedom of speech, no equality of rights for non-Muslims or women. The violence and intolerance and hatred at the black heart of Islam–inspired directly by the example of Muhammad–filling the news week in and out–is what is causing this conflict. It is one sided in Africa where the Muslims persecute the Christians. Both sides are not “equally guilty.” Look around, everywhere there is Islam there are “bloody borders.” Is there something commendable to just standing on the sidelines while sheep (or defenseless people) are slaughtered by a wolf? Or worse, to exonerate the wolf. to say there were other wolves, just as bad, what difference does it make? You’ll just perpetuate the violence if you interfere. No, kindness to the wolf is cruelty to the sheep.

          Christian bashing while the world is being set on fire by Muslims is not only foolish, it is suicidal. As for blaming “conflict” on religions, the 20th century was the bloodiest ever, primarily at the hands of self confessed atheists. Your bigoted stance disregards the degree to which Christians and those of other religious traditions have always sought to “tame the savageness of man and make gentle the life of this world.”
          Not so Islam.

          Do you think we are going to end the conflict by opting out? That Muslims will stop if you just don’t resist them or you try everything to appease them, praise them, honor them, apologize to them and take the blame for all their anger towards you? You live in a fairy tale if you and that’s no help to people like Meriam.

        • A. Singh

          Janet, you need to read Islamic history from the time of the prophet (600+ AD) and the aggressive and often violent spread of his faith. The prophet himself was involved in wars against followers of previous religions (Judaism, Christianity, and assorted “polytheists” around Mecca and Medina, followed by armies of later caliphs. In India, one-thousand year period before the arrival of he British, there were many violent invasions of Islamic hordes from Persia, Turkey, Central Asia and Arabia. They tried to destroy ancient Indian temples, killed and converted natives, and subjugated. In all, 70-100 million Hindus were killed or converted. These foreign invaders tried to destroy the ancient Civilization as they had done in all the places they had conquered (Mideast, Central Asia, North Africa, sub-Saharan Africa, parts of Europe).

  • Wolff Bachner

    Islam is a rancid cancer on the body of humanity. To see the President of my country constantly celebrate this savage 7th century death cult makes me want to vomit.