We have seen with the kidnapped Nigerian girls that a hash tag campaign can exponentially increase the media’s attention on a case. A subject that was almost unheard of in the Western world became front-page news. That front-page news got the First Lady to support the hash tag campaign and the White House to pay attention and send aid to Nigeria.
International Christian Concern (ICC) is based in Washington, DC and helps the persecuted church in all areas of the globe. It wants to start a hash tag campaign to help Meriam, a Christian who has been convicted of adultery and apostasy. Adultery, because her marriage to her Christian husband is not recognized by Sudan. Apostasy, because in Sudan, you are a Muslim from birth if you are born there. So, despite her being raised in a Christian home, she is still considered Muslim. Therefore, her Christianity is considered apostasy.
The Sudanese court sentenced Meriam to death on Mother’s Day. It gave her three days to recant Christianity and convert to Islam. Today, after spending time with an Islamic cleric, Meriam claimed she was a Christian and will always remain one. The response of the court was to sentence her to 100 lashes for adultery and death by hanging for apostasy.
Meriam is 8 months pregnant and incarcerated with her two-year-old son. This little boy is suffering from sickness due to poor hygiene and bugs. Her husband is not allowed to take custody of the children because he is a Christian. Upon her death, the children will be handed over to the state of Sudan. Experts believe that Meriam will be executed after she gives birth to her second child. It is possible that they will wait until the child has been weaned.
Meriam’s husband, Daniel, is also suffering greatly. Despite the emotional toll this is taking, Daniel also depends on his wife for almost everything, as he is wheelchair bound. He is struggling to just survive. He told CNN that all he can do is pray, something he is doing constantly.
Meriam is facing beatings, mental abuse, lack of medical care and lack of prenatal care. A small group in her country has been protesting on her behalf. They need our help. They need help like the Nigerian girls are getting, international pressure.
Will a hash tag campaign work? Will an Islamic government actually care what the West has to say? We won’t know until everything plays out. Two things are for certain. First, a hash tag campaign brought a lot of media attention to the plight of Nigerian girls. Second, the campaign will only work if we are involved. And what a simple way to help others in need.
So share Meriam’s story and use the hash tag #ForMeriam!.
To learn more about contacting Sudan’s embassies around the world, go to http://followldm.blogspot.com/2014/05/meriam-yahia-ibrahim-update.html.