We hear a lot about the so-called War on Women these days. Usually, it’s in the context of some Democrat accusing some Republican of waging that war by allegedly denying women access to abortion or birth control—as if those were the only things women should care about. The truth is there really is a War on Women going on today, but the most vocal opponents of this war always seem to be looking in the wrong places for it.
On Thursday, a Sudanese Christian woman, who is 8 months pregnant, was sentenced to death for refusing to deny her faith. Twenty-six-year-old Meriam Ibrahim was raised as a Christian by her mother after her Muslim father left them when she was a small child. Her father’s family claims she was born a Muslim and turned away from Islam when she married a Christian man, Daniel Wani, who is from southern Sudan and is also an American citizen. He fled Sudan as a child during the civil war and then returned.
In Sudan, it’s unlawful under shariah law for a woman to marry outside the Muslim faith, and unlawful for anyone to turn away from Islam (apostasy). However, Meriam contends Christianity is all she’s ever known: “I was never a Muslim. I was raised a Christian from the start.”
Along with the death sentence, the court in Sudan’s capital of Khartoum also said she should be given 100 lashes for having “illegitimate” sexual relations with her husband (because he’s a Christian), whom she officially married in 2011. The couple also has an 18-month-old son who has been in jail with Meriam. Her lawyer is planning to appeal this conviction saying that the judge was “thinking more of Islamic Shariah laws than of the country’s laws and its constitution” when he claimed Meriam’s marriage was void due to marrying a Christian.
In recent years, many Sudanese have been convicted of apostasy, but escaped execution when they recanted their faith. Short of a miracle, Meriam Ibrahim will face death by hanging for her faith in Jesus Christ. Amnesty International has come out in support of Meriam calling the conviction “abhorrent”. No word yet on whether President Obama will pick up the phone to lend his support to her as he did to Sandra Fluke in her demands for taxpayer-funded contraception. There have also not been any new Tweets from a sober-faced Michelle Obama bearing a sheet of paper with #SetMeriamFree written on it.
Why should Americans care what happens to some woman living halfway around the world? The same reason we should care what happens to the Nigerian schoolgirls who are still in the hands of Boko Haram, a bunch of shariah-loving terrorists.
An opinion piece last week in The Wall Street Journal gives an excellent wake-up call to the West regarding radical political Islam and shariah law. It was written by Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a Somali-born American woman who advocates for the rights of women around the world and is critical of Islam and its practice of female genital mutilation. As a 5-year-old girl she was forced to undergo the procedure, so she is well aware of the pain and oppression women suffer under shariah law.
In the article, Ali, who is an atheist, says it’s time liberals in the West start to pay attention: “If they choose to regard Boko Haram as an aberration, they do so at their peril. The kidnapping of these schoolgirls is not an isolated tragedy; their fate reflects a new wave of jihadism that extends far beyond Nigeria and poses a mortal threat to the rights of women and girls. If my pointing this out offends some people more than the odious acts of Boko Haram, then so be it.”
Ali was to have been given an honorary degree this year from Brandeis University, but due to her outspokenness on Islam and the Brandeis administration’s kowtowing to Islamic support groups like CAIR, the honor has been withdrawn.
No supportive phone calls or Tweets for her either…only the lonely sound of crickets chirping as the war rages on.