- LATIN AMERICA
- MIDDLE EAST
- United Kingdom
- United States
- New Zealand
- South Africa
- Oil & Gas
- Real Estate
- 3M (MMM)
- AT&T (T)
- AIG (AIG)
- Alcoa (AA)
- Altria (MO)
- American Express (AXP)
- Apple (AAPL)
- Bank of America (BAC)
- Boeing (BA)
- Caterpillar (CAT)
- Chevron (CVX)
- Cisco (CSCO)
- Citigroup (C)
- Coca Cola (KO)
- Dell (DELL)
- DuPont (DD)
- Eastman Kodak (EK)
- ExxonMobil (XOM)
- FedEx (FDX)
- General Electric (GE)
- General Motors (GM)
- Google (GOOG)
- Hewlett-Packard (HPQ)
- Home Depot (HD)
- Honeywell (HON)
- IBM (IBM)
- Intel (INTC)
- Int'l Paper (IP)
- JP Morgan Chase (JPM)
- J & J (JNJ)
- McDonalds (MCD)
- Merck (MRK)
- Microsoft (MSFT)
- P & G (PG)
- United Tech (UTX)
- Wal-Mart (WMT)
- Walt Disney (DIS)
- iHaveNet.com: Africa Current Events
Leonard Pitts Jr.
Sudan: Forced Faith is Not Faith
In a prison in Khartoum, a dusty city on the banks of the ancient Nile in the African nation of
She is not alone in her confinement. Her son is with her. He is 20 months old. Her daughter is there, too. She was born in that prison one week ago.
Together with their 27-year old mother, they wait. Wait for her deliverance, wait for her execution by hanging. There is no middle ground.
Ibrahim stands convicted of apostasy; she renounced Islam and became a Christian. According to Ibrahim -- and the speaker of the Sudanese Parliament disputes this -- she was raised a Christian after her father, a Muslim, abandoned the family when she was 6. Under Sudanese law, anyone whose father was a Muslim is automatically considered a Muslim. Converting from Islam is against the law and Muslim women are forbidden from marrying outside their faith.
Ibrahim's "crimes" against that code were apparently reported by her own brother. She was tried and ordered to disavow her faith by May 15. But she refused to do so and for that, they gave her the death penalty. Before she dies, she is to be whipped 100 lashes, the court having also found her guilty of adultery. This, for having sexual relations with her husband,
Her death, thank God, is not imminent. Ibrahim's lawyer is appealing her sentence. And the court has given her two years to nurse and wean her daughter before it is carried out. So Ibrahim waits. Outraged governments in more civilized places -- including the United States -- have urged Sudan not to do this evil thing. Petition drives have netted 650,000 signatures in the same cause. So, like Ibrahim herself, the world waits.
Is there no end to the barbarism that men -- and usually, it is men -- will commit under the rubric of faith?
The Bible defines faith as "confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see."
But it is too often the case that in practical terms, faith has less to do with hope and assurance and the courage to take steps in the dark than with justifying just this kind of theological bullying. How in the world does Sudan -- or any nation or group -- believe it can "require" faith? Can faith ever truly be faith if it is imposed by force of law or threat of violence? Is faith faith if it is not freely chosen? If someone swore at gunpoint that she loved you, would you believe her?
You'd be a fool if you did.
Unfortunately, many of those who claim to be faith's most zealous defenders do not trust what they profess to believe, have no confidence that its appeal is strong enough that people will come to it and stay with it by the free movement of their hearts. They insult their own religions by suggesting people must be held to them -- and shielded from other beliefs -- by government and/or by violence. We see that in Sudan. We have seen it in Nigeria, Afghanistan, Pakistan, America. What they model is not faith but fear, not the still small voice that compels footsteps on unseen stairs, but the loud, shrill outcry of cowards whose belief is so fragile as to totter at the first gust of contradiction, so frail as to require the enforcement of laws.
But she won't. Instead she waits, ready to accept whatever comes. Let her captors note her courage and perhaps finally understand the tragic futility of what they do.
Laws don't give faith. And laws cannot take it away.
- How to Reverse Nigeria's Oil Curse
- Africa: The Soldier and the Street
- Africa: Exploiting Minerals, Exploiting Communities
- Nigeria's Critical Juncture: Boko Haram, Buhari, and the Future of the Fourth Republic
- Congo: Is Democratic Change Possible?
- Nigeria's Youth Factor
- What Now for Burundi? Five Key Risks
- Kenya's Sorrow and How the U.S. Fueled Al-Shabab in Somalia
- Kenya's Garissa Attack Wasn't Just a Tragedy
- Chad: A Precarious Counterterrorism Partner
- Western Sahara Since the Arab Spring: Any Hope for Change?
- Sexual Terror and Impunity in Somalia
- South Africa Resists Nuclear Oversight
- Nigerian Women in the Crosshairs
- Four Years After Gaddafi, Libya Is a Failed State
- Tragedy in Tunisia: Targeting Cultural Heritage
- Tragedy in Tunisia: Perfect Storm of Islamist Extremist Indoctrination and Lax Security
- Authoritarian Symps
- Learning the Lessons of Ebola
- Healing or Harming? The Provision of Health Care by Peacekeepers
- Nigeria: Rebuilding After Boko Haram
Article: Copyright ©, Tribune Content Agency