U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) today praised the departure from Sudan of Meriam Yahia Ibrahim Ishag, a Sudanese Christian woman accused of apostasy, along with her husband, Daniel Wani, and their two children.
"Meriam and her family have been on a long journey over the past year, and I am encouraged to hear that they are together, safe, and free," said Inhofe. "Meriam's story reminds us that there are still many areas of the world where religious intolerance and persecution are not only alive but are being instigated by government leaders. My wife Kay and my prayers remain with Meriam and her family, as well as those around the world who desire to practice their deeply held faith peacefully and freely but are threatened with imprisonment, disownment, or even death. For the United States to remain an advocate for increased freedoms around the world, it must start with encouraging governments to protect the fundamental right to religious freedom. I appreciate the State Department remaining in constant contact with my office and for working with U.S. allies to assist in her safe release."
In March 2013, Inhofe introduced S.Res.69, a resolution calling for the United States to assist in the protection of religious minority rights and freedoms in the Arab world where many governments continue to tolerate violations of this basic human right.
On May 21, Inhofe joined three Senate colleagues in introducing S.Res.453, legislation condemning the death sentence of Ibrahim and calling for her immediate and unconditional release. The resolution passed the Senate on June 3 and also reaffirmed the U.S. government's commitment to ending religious discrimination and calls for the inclusion of religious freedom and respect for international human rights during the drafting of Sudan's new constitution.
On June 2, Inhofe sent a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry asking for the United States to seek the immediate release of Meriam Yahia Ibrahim Ishag, and for the State Department to explore granting Ibrahim and her family political asylum.