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Persecution of women through the Muslim faith



Stories from the Middle East about the mistreatment of women at the hands of Muslims frequently reach the ears of the United States. A current story surrounds a Sudanese woman named Mariam Yahya Ibrahim, who has been imprisoned because of her Christian faith. Many criticize Sudan’s government for her imprisonment and are supporting her release; however, it seems the only way she will be freed is if an appeals court overturns her conviction.

Ibrahim was raised by her mother, an Ethiopian Orthodox, and although her father was Muslim, he left the family when Ibrahim was only six. Ibrahim considers herself a Christian and has been practicing that religion since she was young. She chose to marry a Christian man and continue practicing her faith. Unfortunately, family members of Ibrahim accused her of renouncing Muslim, and so she was arrested.

The charges against Ibrahim included adultery, for marrying a Christian, and apostasy, meaning she renounced her faith. She was convicted by the Sudanese court and sentenced to be hanged for her transgressions against Islam.

Although Ibrahim’s father abandoned the family when she was a child, under Sharia law Ibrahim is considered Muslim because her father was Muslim.

Ibrahim is currently detained at a Khartoum prison with her 20-month-old son, Martin. She also just recently gave birth to a baby girl while in prison. Her husband Daniel Wani, a United States citizen, expresses joy at the birth of his daughter; however, he fears that the birth will cause his wife’s sentence to be carried out sooner.

In Sudan, Sharia law is applied to pregnant woman in this way- a woman will not be executed until two years after she gives birth. If this will apply to Ibrahim has yet to be seen.

“This is ridiculous. Just because her father was Muslim shouldn’t have to mean that she is, too. I mean, her father isn’t even in the picture, he left when Ibrahim was young,” says senior Lucia Fernandez.

Hopefully an appeals court releases Ibrahim from her sentence, otherwise, she will eventually be hanged because of her Christian beliefs.

A different story about an honor killing in Pakistan has also shocked and disgusted Americans. A pregnant Pakistani woman, Farzana Parveen, was publicly stoned by her own family because she married the man she loved, Mohammad Iqbal, instead of having an arranged married with her cousin.

As Parveen and Iqbal were on their way into the Lahore High Court to dispute claims made by Parveen’s father that Iqbal had kidnapped her, several men from her family began throwing bricks at her and attacking her with clubs.

Parveen was pronounced dead at the hospital due to massive head injuries caused by the attack by her family.

Police investigator Rana Mujahid quoted Parveen’s father as saying, ” I killed my daughter as she had insulted all of our family by marrying a man without our consent, and I have no regret over it,” according to USA TODAY.

Parveen’s murder is considered an honor killing. Because her family felt she had disgraced them, they felt they had the right to kill her to redeem the family’s image.

“This story is horrible. She just didn’t want an arranged marriage with her cousin and she was pregnant! I don’t understand how a father and other family members could beat one of their own to death. Do these people even love their daughters or are they just property meant to make them money and look good. It’s disgusting,” says senior Kimberly Cangelosi.

Parveen’s father and the other men involved in the killing are being charged; however, there is no guarantee that they will be sufficiently punished. In Pakistan, if the family can forgive the father and others for the honor killing, then the perpetrators can be released.

Farzana Parveen was unable to be saved, but hopefully Mariam Ibrahim can be saved from her fate of being hanged.

What is your reaction to these stories?

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