Her face has become famous, her plight, infamous. Sudanese Christian mother Meriam Ibrahim, 27, who has suffered great persecution for her Christian faith, fears her newborn daughter is disabled due to conditions of delivery.
“I gave birth chained,” she told the UK Telegraph, describing the May 27 delivery. “Not cuffs – but chains on my legs. I couldn’t open my legs so the women had to lift me off the table. I wasn’t lying on the table.”
Such an unconventional method, Meriam believes, has negatively impacted her baby girl Maya. “Something has happened to the baby,” she said. “I don’t know in the future whether she’ll need support to walk or not.” Only time will tell.
For now, the wife and mother of two children—she also has a 20-month-old with husband Daniel Wani—simply wants things to go back to normal.
Unfortunately, since the hullabaloo began before Christmas after authorities claimed she had “abandoned” Islam, her life has been enormously difficult.
Under Sharia law, by which Sudan has been governed since 1983, daughters must follow the religion of the father, or else be charged with apostasy, punishable by death.
“I’ve always been Christian,” Meriam told CNN. “I couldn’t have been Muslim.”
Despite the fact that, as she claims, she indeed was raised Christian by a devout Ethiopian Christian mother after her Muslim father abandoned the family when she was six, government labeled her Muslim.
Marrying a Christian man was viewed as a criminal act.
After being locked up in Omdurman women’s’ prison, Meriam was subjected to constant ridicule, mockery and mistreatment for her faith.
She said there were “women in prison saying all sorts of things like: ‘Don’t eat the non-believer’s food’. There was all this talk and taunts. Even the officers in the prison would join in.”
Religious scholars were sent in to change her religious beliefs—”a different sheikh (Arab leader) coming to speak to me every other time,” she explained.
While Meriam was confined, her husband Daniel, who has joint American-South Sudanese citizenship, did all he could to secure a visa for his wife to travel to the United States.
When he achieved that goal and Meriam was released, the two were headed out of Sudan when authorities detained them at the airport. New accusations were brought against Meriam, alleging that she had forged documents, which she denies.
“How can my paperwork be wrong? My paperwork came from the Embassy. Its 100 per cent correct and it was approved by the South Sudan ambassador and the American ambassador.
“It’s my right to use the papers and have a South Sudanese passport because my husband is a South Sudanese citizen. He has an American passport and South Sudanese passport.
“I never forged any papers.”
After all Meriam has been through, she is exhausted and is finding it quite hard to focus on what’s next.
“I can’t even decide what I should do right now. I want to travel but at the same time I don’t want to travel. But the state I’m in right now means that I’m forced to. There’s a new problem everyday about me leaving.
(Source: EEW Magazine)