05/11/2022 Sudan (International Christian Concern) – A young Christian couple in Sudan who have two children together face 100 lashes for ‘adultery’ after a Sharia (Islamic law) court annulled their marriage following the husband’s conversion to Christianity.
The couple, Hamouda, 34, and Nada, 25, from Al Jazirah state, married in 2016 despite being both Muslims. In 2018, after being married for two years, Kafi became Christians and the couple faced severe backlash from their community.
The family of Nada, Hamouda’s wife, filed a complaint in a Sharia court. Their marriage was dissolved by the court, as apostasy was a crime punishable by death at the time.
In 2021, Nada also converted to Christianity and returned with their two children to her husband, Sudan having decriminalized apostasy a year after the end of the Islamist regime of President Omar al-Bashir. Both are members of a Baptist church.
However, conversion to Christianity is still not socially acceptable in the Muslim community in Sudan.
Nada’s brother charged the couple with adultery under Article 146 of the Sudanese Penal Law of 1991 based on the annulment of their marriage by the Sharia court, which led to the arrest of the couple last August.
While the couple were released on bail four days later, the charges remained.
“The court questioned the couple after two of the witnesses told the court that the marriage between the couple was illegal. Accordingly, they are charged with adultery,” their attorney was quoted as saying.
In the event of adultery by an unmarried person, Article 146 provides for a penalty of flogging and expulsion from the area. If the convict is married, adultery is punishable by death by stoning under Article 146.
After being consistently included among the world’s worst countries for Christian persecution, Sudan was removed from the US State Department’s “Countries of Particular Concern” list in December 2019. The “CPC” list refers to nations that condone or engage in gross violations of religious freedom.
However, advances in religious freedom only lasted two years in Sudan until the military coup last October.
The coup has reignited fears of repression and harsh enforcement of Islamic law, as an Islamist “deep state” rooted in former President al-Bashir’s 30 years in power remains influential.
Please join ICC in praying for this couple and their young children as they face persecution from their community.
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