Sudan Tries 27 Muslims on Apostasy, Potential Death Sentences

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Twenty-seven Muslims are are being tried in Sudan on charges of apostasy – all of which are facing the death sentence if found guilty.

Among the group are thought to be three children and two imams who were arrested for giving speeches about their beliefs outside a small mosque. The group are accused of being Quranists – a section of Muslim believers who use the Quran as their only source guidance.

 

Charges of apostasy

“They are facing trial because they are Quranists, who follow the Holy Quran as their only guide,” the center’s Mohamed Badawi told Bloomberg. “They are not committed to the religious authority of the Hadith – narratives of what the Prophet Muhammad is reported to have said and done.”

The Hadith and other texts are essential to many Muslim groups, including Sunni and Shi’ite – both of which rely on the sunnah as a source of Islamic Law. Renouncing such texts in Sudan, where the vast majority of Muslims are Sunni, can land you in prison with your life on the line.

Potential death sentences

If found guilty, the group could each face the death penalty under a Sudanese law that has existed since 1983. Badawi has urged international bodies to once again put pressure on the Sudan government to dismiss the charges and change its laws surrounding religious freedom.

“It is a worry they are on trial for having a totally different opinion to what is the way to believe in Islam,” he said. “The trial is being used to repress people.”

The case comes after a Sudanese court sentenced Meriam Yehia Ibrahim to death after she refused to dismiss her Christian faith in favour of Islam. It was only after international outcry that an appeals court finally revoked the sentence and dropped all charges against her. Ibrahim was eventually able to leave the country a free woman, where she was received by Pope Francis.

 

Featured image:

An ode from the Quran written out by Bechran Wellcome L0040183” by http://wellcomeimages.org/indexplus/obf_images/d6/36/d4437499bede9c2f031514def31f.jpgGallery: http://wellcomeimages.org/indexplus/image/L0040183.html. Licensed under CC BY 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons.