Meriam Yehya Ibrahim and The First World Problem of “Religious Persecution”

Recently, a Sudanese court imposed the death penalty on 27 year old Meriam Yehya Ibrahim, who at the time was pregnant. Ibrahim, a Christian, was legally considered a Muslim though she had been raised a Christian. Ibrahim was given the opportunity to officially reject her Christian faith prior to sentencing, but refused. As a result, she was sentence to 100 lashes plus death by hanging.

Thanks to an international outcry on the part of governments, world leaders, and human rights organizations, Ibrahim had her sentence overturned and was subsequently set free– for a time.

Yesterday news reports broke that she was re-arrested while she and her family were attempting to leave the country. One could almost hear a collective gulp of shock reverberate across the entire internet, as all those who had hoped, prayed and advocated for her release began to let the news sink in. With her own brother denouncing her release and calling for vengeance to restore the family’s honor, there was simply no telling what would happen. Thankfully, within a few hours of her arrest, news broke that she had been freed from custody and would be allowed to depart Sudan for the United States, where she will have complete freedom to practice her religion without fear of death or detainment.

Meanwhile in the United States, we’re going about our daily lives panicking with cries of religious persecution as well… although, they’re not the cries one would think. Instead of a collective focus on wide-spread human rights abuses and religious persecution in places like Sudan, North Korea where an estimated 33,000 Christians have been incarcerated in prison camps, or the estimated thousands who actually die for their religious faith each year, we’re focused on a first world version of persecution that’s not really persecution at all.

When A&E temporarily made the decision to disassociate with Phil from Duck Dynasty over anti-gay comments he made in the media, it was labeled as “persecution”.

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