Mariam Ibraheem was born in a refugee camp in Sudan. Her Muslim father died when she was six, and her mother raised her in the Christian faith. After a traumatic childhood, Mariam became a successful businessperson, married the man she loved, and had a beautiful baby boy. But one day in 2013, her world was shattered when Sudan authorities insisted, she was Muslim because of her father’s background. She had broken the law by marrying a Christian man, and she must abandon both her marriage and her son and adopt Islam. Under intense pressure, Mariam repeatedly refused. Ultimately, a Sharia court sentenced her to 100 lashes—and death by hanging.
International Religious Freedom, Women and Girls webinar
February 28, 2022 at 2pm EST
In honor of March 8 International Women’s Day, 21Wilberforce Director of Communications, Lou Ann Sabatier, will moderate a First Amendment Voice online discussion with Judy Golub, Director of Strategy and Planning for Religion News Foundation and Elizabeth Lane Miller, Women’s Persecution Specialist at Open Doors International. The panel will focus on international religious freedom, the complex persecution women and girls face for their religious beliefs, and efforts that can be taken, individually and in community, to advocate on their behalf. Learn more and register here.
Hope in Painted Clouds:
A Servant-Leader on the Karenni Front
It’s warmer this morning, perhaps because of the rain last night. Light bleeds across the sky, painting its cloud towers in preternatural hues.
A voice blends with the stillness of the early morning hours: “The clouds, they are like the zoo. You can see any animal you wish in them.” Strange words to hear from a battalion commander on any battlefield, but fitting coming from the man standing next to me.
Albert is not like most military commanders. In fact, before the coup, he wasn’t one. At first glance, you might pass him by, but more than a cursory observation reveals that there is something special about this man. You cannot help but be charmed by his ever-ready smile, gentle demeanor, and humility. Read more about this leader of a small band of civilian volunteers in Burma (field report filed by David Eubanks of Free Burma Rangers.)
Spotlight on USCIRF Religious Prisoners of Conscience Program
Raif Badawi/Saudia Arabia, Dennis Christensen/Russia, and Gulmira Iman/China
The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) Religious Prisoners of Conscience Project highlights individuals imprisoned for exercising their freedom of religion or belief, as well as the dedicated advocacy of USCIRF Commissioners working for their release.
USCIRF defines Religious Prisoners of Conscience (RPOCs) as individuals who are imprisoned, detained, under house arrest, or disappeared for their religious beliefs, non-belief, identity, activity and/or advocacy for FoRB or related rights, provided that they have not used or advocated violence.
Highlighting and advocating for an individual prisoner of conscience imprisoned for exercising their freedom of religion or belief, “makes real” the consequences of the laws, policies and actions of repressive governments and non-state actors. Learn more about current religious prisoners of conscience here.
OTHER HELPFUL LINKS
The Remarkable Baroness: A Review of Lela Gilbert’s Baroness Cox: Eyewitness to a Broken World, by Paul Marshall on Providencemag.com
Let’s Praise Progress on Religious Freedom. Start with These Countries. Knox Thames “Speaking Out” article on Christianitytoday.com
Global Human Rights: International Religious Freedom Policy two-page brief prepared by the Congressional Research Service in 2021. Read here.