I’m not a good storyteller, nor do I have a reporter’s skills, but I feel deeply moved to write about the story of our brave, faithful Christian sister here in Sudan – Mariam Ibrahim Yahya – and to invite you to pray for her and others like her.
I’m sure most people have heard about this young Christian mother who has been sentenced to death after being convicted for abandoning the Islamic faith. There have been rumours that she is about to be released but this has been officially denied and the sentence remains in place.
Mariam was convicted of this ‘crime’, despite the fact that she has always been and will always be a Christian – something she firmly and bravely expressed to the judge during her trial. The truth is that her only crime is being a Christian in a Muslim country that is growing increasingly hostile to religious minorities. Her young son, who is not yet two years old, is being held in prison with his mother and her daughter was born in prison just a week ago.
Since Mariam’s sentencing, which was announced in the newspaper, I have witnessed so much solidarity as people have acted to show their support for her. The Sudan Council of Churches issued a statement calling for for her conviction to be annulled, saying that it indicated a “clear and direct persecution of Christians in Sudan.” Churches have organised special prayer meetings, and we Christians have been fasting and praying in our churches and homes.
Not only Christians
It’s not only Christians who are concerned for Mariam – supporters from various walks of life here in Sudan have expressed solidarity with this courageous mother. Her case has drawn people’s attention to the fact that Sudan is home to a diversity of people of different religious, social and political backgrounds.
I believe that every human is made in the image of God and endowed with inalienable dignity. I believe, also, that each life is sacred and that nobody has the right to take that away. Please join us as we pray for Mariam and her children. Pray also for us – the Sudanese Christian community – as we face so many challenges as we seek to follow Christ. Let’s also pray for our brothers and sisters across the world who are persecuted for their faith. Thank you for your prayers.