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Occurrences in the Congressional Record

Entry Title Date
Proposing An Amendment To The Constitution Of The United States Relating To Contributions And Expenditures Intended To Affect Elections—Motion To Proceed September 10, 2014
James Inhofe, R-OK
"As I told this group a few minutes ago, now and then we have a happy ending. I have been active—and a lot of people know this—in Africa now for 20 years. I have actually made 135 African country visits. I have seen all kinds of things take place in terms of religious intolerance, persecution. But I remember very well being in the new country called South Sudan. South Sudan is to the south of Sudan. Sudan is up there near Khartoum. We are all familiar with that and the problems taking place there, and we know how intolerant they are there."
The Troubling Case Of Meriam Ibrahim August 1, 2014
Christopher Smith, R-NJ
"Mr. Speaker, for weeks this spring, the world watched as Meriam Ibrahim Ishag, a pregnant Christian woman in Sudan, faced flogging and the death penalty because her government would not accept that she had lived her life as a Christian and married a Christian man. Meriam has demonstrated both courage and grace under pressure—giving birth in jail in May while chained and caring for her two children, including her newborn, not only under restraints, but also without the normal amenities that any pregnant woman and nursing mother should expect. The harsh application of Sharia law on non-Muslims was the trigger for a two-decade civil war in Sudan and the eventual secession of the South. Sudan is one of 20 countries in the world who have laws against apostasy—defined as the abandonment by an individual of their original religion. In Sudan, apostasy is effectively considered leaving the Muslim faith, particularly the interpretation of Islam followed by authorities. In Sudan, to leave the Muslim faith is an automatic death sentence. If you are considered an apostate, you cannot legally marry someone of another faith, and for this, Meriam also was charged with adultery and sentenced to flogging. However, this story is not just about harshly applied religious and legal principles in violation of national and international law. Daniel Wani, Meriam’s husband, is a Christian who is a dual American and South Sudanese citizen. He has lived in the United States for more than a decade. He married Meriam in late 2011, and they had a son a year later. Somehow, the U.S. Embassy in Khartoum could not find a way to help this American to get his family out of Sudan before a crisis developed, even after she was arrested and released last year in charges involving apostasy. A hearing that I recently convened was intended to examine the facts as we know them to determine how strictly applied rules almost led to the officially sanctioned beating and execution of a young woman who has lived as a Christian all her life, but who has now been told that she has no right to choose her religious belief. This hearing was originally supposed to take place in June, but at the urging of both the U.S. Government and Sudanese officials, we postponed it to allow for quiet diplomacy to take place. However, prior to the hearing, Meriam’s legal entanglements seem to be increasing rather than diminishing. A Sudanese court initially ruled that the mere fact that her father was Muslim means that she should have been raised as a Muslim. She was given three days to convert to Islam, but she told authorities she would not abandon her Christian faith. Her refusal to leave the faith she had practiced her entire life led to her being in mortal fear for her life. Fortunately, a Sudanese appeals court believed that she considered herself Christian and overturned her conviction on apostasy and adultery charges. However, members of her family have appealed the overturning of her conviction. Meanwhile, the Government of Sudan rearrested Meriam for using South Sudanese documents in an attempt to leave the country, and while she was released on bail. Fortunately, she was able to leave Sudan last week. We cannot be absolutely certain of the exact chain of events that led to the situation that Meriam was in prior to her release. The Department of State understandably declined to testify last week because of the sensitive nature of the then ongoing efforts to end the matter satisfactorily. Daniel and Meriam were still in Sudan at that point. Daniel was free to leave with his children, but he chose, of course, to stay with his wife, until she too could leave with her family. Since Meriam’s conviction in May, a bipartisan, bicameral Congressional coalition worked to undo the harsh penalties for her under the apostasy and adultery laws and secure her family’s repatriation to the United States. Contact was made with Daniel, as well as the U.S. Embassy in Khartoum and the Sudan embassy in Washington. Eventually, the headquarters offices of both the State Department and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services got involved. Yet one wonders why this matter had to come to a crisis stage before a means could be found to avoid what now seems to have been an inevitable outcome in this case. Daniel told congressional staff that he sought help from the U.S. Embassy in Khartoum but was told that he should seek an attorney since the situation was mostly focused on his wife, who was not an American. This was the advice he received even when he was arrested and had his passport seized. An American citizen should expect more from his government’s representatives in a foreign country when that country’s government has taken action against them."
Plight Of Meriam Ibrahim June 25, 2014
Ted Cruz, R-TX
"Meriam is married to a U.S. citizen, Daniel. Her two children are American citizens. Why was Meriam in leg irons in a prison cell in Sudan? She was there because the Government of Sudan had sentenced her to receive 100 lashes and to hang by the neck until dead for the crime of being a Christian."
Sudan Tragedy May 1, 2014
Frank Wolf, R-VA
"I return,” he said, “to the pledge today because of what is happening in parts of Sudan. We are outraged and gravely concerned at seeing the killings of hundreds of innocent civilians caught up in the internal conflict of the South Sudan Liberation Movement.”"
U.S. Policy Toward Sudan And South Sudan March 5, 2014
Christopher Smith, R-NJ
"A peace agreement between the main rebel force in Darfur and the Government of Sudan was signed in May 2006, but it did not last. In fact, no sustained agreement has been reached between the government and Darfur rebel groups—partly because these groups have continued to split and form offshoots, but also because the Khartoum government has not appeared willing to resolve the Darfur situation constructively. In June 2005, the International Criminal Court initiated an investigation that resulted in arrest warrants for Sudan President Omar al-Bashir and three other government officials and militia leaders. None of these warrants has been served, none of the four have been taken into custody and the Government of Sudan has refused to cooperate with the ICC."

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