NCC celebrates release of Christian woman once condemned to die in Sudan because of her faith

Washington, July 25, 2014 – The National Council of Churches expressed “gratitude to God” Friday following the release of Meriam Ibrahim, the Sudanese Christian woman condemned to die earlier this year because she would not renounce her faith.

Ms. Ibrahim, whose death sentence was commuted in late June when the Sudan government came under intense pressure from the international community and religious groups including the NCC, had been released from prison but detained in Sudan.

She was finally released Thursday and allowed to leave the country. Italian diplomats played a significant role in negotiating her release and she was flown to Rome yesterday.

“We are grateful that the Sudan government listened to the united voices of persons of faith around the world and saw the importance of honoring the freedom of religion that is endorsed by most Christians, Muslims, Jews, and others,” said Dr. Antonios Kireopoulos, NCC associate general secretary, Faith & Order and Interfaith Relations.

“An individual’s embrace of one religion does not in any way express disrespect for other religions,” Kireopoulos said. “We are grateful Ms. Ibrahim is now able to freely practice her faith without persecution and fear.”

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Since its founding in 1950, the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA has been the leading force for shared ecumenical witness among Christians in the United States. The NCC's 37 member communions -- from a wide spectrum of Protestant, Anglican, Orthodox, Evangelical, historic African American and Living Peace churches -- include 45 million persons in more than 100,000 local congregations in communities across the nation.

NCC News contact:  Philip E. Jenks, 646-853-4212 (cell), [email protected]