Sudanese Christians are under mounting pressure to alter their religious beliefs after Mariam Ibrahim, a woman accused of renouncing Islam by marrying a Christian husband was sentenced to death.
Following the fate that befell Ibrahim, other Christians in the country increasingly fear for their safety and fear that practicing their faith may make them a target for violence.
As the case has dragged on, benches in churches across Sudan have emptied. For many Christians in Sudan going to church has become an act of both courage and conviction.
Daniel Wani, Mariam’s husband said he doesn’t feel safe and doesn’t trust the authorities to protect him. He said that both he and his wife have been threatened several times. He said they were told, “we know where you live, and that we can come to your home and kill you.”
The Sudanese constitution enshrines the rights of religious minorities and publicly Sudan touts the many churches in the center of its capital as evidence of tolerance.
Nabeel Adeeb, a prominent Sudanese human rights lawyer who is himself a Christian said, “Number one is the crime of apostasy which is creating a wall around Islam that nobody is allowed to leave. Even in cases of custody in mixed marriages, the law says ‘the one who has the better religion,’ of course the ‘better religion’ is Islam.”
Adeeb said he will not allow for his mind to be influenced by the laws into thinking he’s a second-class citizen. “If you look at the laws of the country, the laws favor Muslims,” he added.
As the world exerts pressure on Sudan, Ibrahim, a mother of two waits in jail to learn her fate.