Miriam could not marry whomever she wanted. She was shackled to the ground in a hot, prison cell. Pregnant, and alone with her 17-month old son – an American citizen. All because she refused to recant her faith in Christianity.
The government sentenced Miriam to death because according to the law, her father was a Muslim and therefore she must be a Muslim. But when she claimed to be a Christian, the faith of her mother, and married a Christian man, she was sent to prison.
Miriam had a choice – recant or be put to death.
Every year in Sudan, hundreds of innocent people are harassed by the courts and forced to recant their faith in Christianity or face the death penalty. But Miriam’s story was different.
As one of the leaders Hardwired trained shared, “When you are a woman in Sudan, you are doubly persecuted – once for being a woman by the religious police who harass us daily, and second for our faith.”
When Miriam was sentenced, a crowd gathered outside of the courthouse. They held signs that said, “Miriam deserves freedom,” “We are Miriam,” and “This is not Islam.”
But these signs were not being held by family and friends – she didn’t know any of them. They were being held by Muslim students, advocates, and others who had learned about the importance of religious freedom through Hardwired’s training and were willing to risk their lives to stand in her defense.
They didn’t share her faith, but they risked everything for her freedom.
Miriam had five Muslim lawyers standing in her defense. One of them told her, “Do not recant, we will stand with you. There are many people like you. Now, it is time to fight. And because of you, others will be free.”
Leaders Hardwired had trained came to their aid – they protested, they organized, and they supported her legal team. For six weeks, her story captivated an international audience. How could the Sudanese government put a pregnant woman to death?
In her prison cell, Miriam gave birth to her baby girl; still shackled to the ground.
And then, finally, the chains began to break – the top Islamic political party challenged her sentence. The government caved; and she was freed.
But the fight for women and other people of faith in Sudan was not over.
Miriam’s lawyers continued to fight the unjust laws that forced her to flee her country. There were many more cases. But while Miriam found freedom in America, her lawyers continued to risk their lives for the freedom of millions of others who remained.
In the summer of 2019, the dictator of Sudan – Omar al Bashir – a man responsible for genocide against his own people, who had sentenced this innocent woman to death for refusing to recant her faith, was forced to step down from power.
Miriam wanted to live according to the dictates of her conscience.
She wanted to marry whoever she chose.
She wanted her children to have the freedom to choose what to believe, too.
But she did not know how to fight for her freedom and dignity.
That is where Hardwired’s unique training program has helped women like Miriam experience the dignity and freedom they deserve. When she was attacked, dozens of Hardwired-trained leaders were ready to come to her defense. They challenged the status quo, they fought for her rights. They stood by her lawyers who volunteered to take a case they would have to risk their lives to win.
And around the world, we made sure that the whole world was watching. Each working together, to fight for one woman’s dignity and freedom.
When you donate to Hardwired, you are putting a leader – a Defender of Freedom – into this situation to help Miriam gain the freedom and dignity she deserves.
Thank you for helping us give Miriam the opportunity to live out her religious freedom in this world.