The Associated Press on Fox News reports on a Sudanese woman sentenced to death for apostasy as well as marrying outside of the Muslim faith. In terms of this article apostasy referrers to her renouncing her faith as a Muslim. Many of the prosecuting arguments focus on her birth into the religion with her given name “Afda,” which she later changed to Meriam, and more importantly the very strict enforcement of Muslim Law.
The article briefly states it is against the law for women to marry outside of the Muslim faith but not for men. We were also quickly noted that Meriams Muslim father left her and her and Christian mother, therefore leaving Meriam to be raised as a Christian. Unfortunately the judge is not willing to take any of that into consideration for no other reason than the actions of a Muslim man are not to be questioned when the accused is a woman. Coincidence is not the case, Muslim critics can and will always build its case on the basis of the Muslim faith oppressing their women and often time dehumanizing them as an example to other women as if chastising a child.
I would like to challenge all readers to set aside western ideals and hone in on the barbarism, as used in the article, and unjust example Meriam is to women of the Muslim faith. We see within the article this is not the first death sentence given due to apostasy, many escaped by “simply” recanting their new faith. However, in this instance I would argue if Meriam were raised Christian due to absent Muslim father, is the prosecutions only tool her given Muslim name? And furthermore, the brief mention of Meriams eight month pregnancy is the true barbarism, and example that the life or death in this case of a woman will supersede the life she carries only to uphold the strict laws of said faith.
We can understand the religious laws written on paper, we may even be able to understand the interpretation of any given leader of the time. But even as women of “liberated” western culture it is inexplicable to sentence a pregnant woman to death that claims to have not been a member of her oppressor. The tone of the prosecution is simply that any woman is expendable even when carrying life and this is reflective in the courts not allowing the defenses key witness or acknowledgment of previous lifestyle. I believe had Meriam not married, not conceived child and quietly “renouncing” her faith the sentence may have been avoided. At any rater, her actions breath life into other Muslim women and that is a true fear of male dominated culture for they will lose their one constant control.
We as women have a power no man can claim, and that is the power of life. Let no man stake claim upon what you, as female has given him will to do which is to live, and let live. It is imperative for each woman to use her voice on behalf of another to show unity and strength against the oppressor and more importantly strength in self.
By: Taelor Lanier