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When religion gets ugly

On Sunday, June 8, it was reported that a court of appeals in Khartoum, Sudan has finally begun to deliberate on the case of 27-year-old Meriam Yehya Ibrahim, who back in May. 15, while still eight months pregnant was convicted and sentenced to death by hanging, for committing apostasy -- the act of denouncing and deserting one’s religion. News of the appeal came over the weekend, from Meriam’s Christian husband, Daniel Wani who said, “Formal notification was given to myself and my lawyer that the appeals court has begun deliberation of Meriam's case."

Wedding picture of Meriam Ibrahim and her husband Daniel Wani
Photo provided by Meriam Yehya Ibrahim via her own Facebook page

According to the Sudanese court, and Sharia law, which is practiced in Sudan, Meriam is recognized as a Muslim who broke Sharia law and committed apostasy by marrying a Christian man and practicing the Christian faith. Meriam, who strongly considers herself a Christian, is not backing down and willing to die for her faith.

Meriam and Daniel have two children, their newly-born girl, and a 20-month-old boy who are both staying in prison with their mother -- although the court says the boy can leave at any time, as long as he is under the care of an adult. The birth of Meriam’s baby girl may have bought her some time, since the court acknowledges the need for the baby to be raised and fed by her biological mother for the next two years.

Daniel, who is confined to a wheelchair and counts on Meriam for assistance, says his wife is firmly committed to Christianity and will not change her mind for anyone. During her time in prison, Muslim sheiks have visited Meriam with the hope of convincing her to change her mind, and accept the Muslim faith -- but according to her husband Daniel, Meriam said unto them, “I am pretty sure I’m not going to change my mind.”

Meriam’s case has received worldwide attention, from celebrities to powerful world governments. Two world powers weighing in on the matter are the United States and Britain. Back in May, shortly after the case was made known public, the U.S. made a statement condemning Sudan’s court ruling, and asking for them to “uphold its human rights commitments." Britain’s current prime minister, David Cameron, said this type of case “has no place in today’s world,” while Britain’s former Prime Minister Tony Blair, added that this is a “brutal and sickening distortion of faith.”

For those in support of Meriam, adding to this shocking story, is the fact that her own family, her blood brother, Al-Samani al-Hadi, said he wants his sister “to repent,” then assertively added that; “if she refuses, she should be executed,” -- this according to a CNN source.

[ Related: Husband of Sudanese Christian on death row says appeals court is deliberating ]

Meriam’s husband fears for his and his family’s life, prompting him to seek asylum in the U.S. expressing his concerns saying, "I am scared for all our lives -- me, my wife and my two children -- if we have to remain inside Sudan, even a day after her release."

Daniel, who is an American citizen, is pleading with U.S. officials to begin the process of granting asylum for him, his wife and their children -- word of the progress regarding his request is yet unknown, however, New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte asked Secretary of State John Kerry to grant the family political asylum. What is also known is that Meriam is facing certain death over her religious beliefs -- something that seemed was lost in history books -- but apparently, it is once again rearing its ugly head, and portraying the not-so-good side of religion.

[ Related: Fight to Save Sudanese Woman Condemned to Hang Goes Viral With #SaveMeriam ]

This story is certainly an eye opener for the non-religious and religious believers of all faiths, and while keeping the world in suspense, this story may have opened up a new topic of discussion which is hard to miss and will continue to make an impact for a long cycle to come.

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