Mariam Ibraheem is the author of the book “Shackled”. Mariam’s journey is one of a woman born in a refugee camp. Her father a Muslim, died when she was just six years old and she was subsequently raised by her Ethiopian Orthodox Christian mother.
Mariam, her mother, and siblings suffered terrible abuse at the hands of her father as the demons from his past came to haunt him. He had killed his 12-year-old sister and a young man she was talking to in an honor killing.
At the age of seven Mariam would be subjected to female genital mutilation, also known as female circumcision, branded with burning hot iron rods several times as medical remedies for ailments under Sunnah teachings. As her father was a Muslim, the assumption was that Mariam and her family also were, so she would spend most of her younger years living as a Muslim, efforts so that Mariam would renounce her Christian faith. Something Mariam could not and would not do.
Mariam dropped out of High School at 14 years old as she would not say the Shahada. She became an apprentice to her mother who by now had become a successful businesswoman. Saying the Shahada would have allowed her the opportunity to graduate. The Shahada is the belief that there is no god but Allah and Mohammed is his prophet.
Mariam would later be accepted into and graduate from Combini Catholic School and then Khartoum University, get married to a South Sudanese Christian man and have a baby. Mariam being married to a Christian would land her in prison in 2013 with her 9-month-old son where she would be flogged and whipped weekly while on death row, facing death by hanging. It was while still in prison in 2014 that Mariam would give birth to her second child while shackled in chains and circumcised a second time after her daughter’s birth. This was all because she married a Christian man and still would not renounce her Christian faith.
Mariam is now free after a public international outcry, lives in the US and works for Tahrir Alnisa as their Director of Global Mobilization.
Tahrir Alnisa means “setting women free.” They are a team of women who know what it’s like to be abused or to help those who have been abused by someone they love.
Helping women escape and recover from domestic abuse, a rare living martyr, Mariam received continued international publicity and has spoken before the European Union and Pope Francis. She continues to speak publicly about religious freedom issues and on behalf of those who are oppressed globally. Mariam publicly advocates for those who are persecuted for their faith and those who are trying to escape the private prison of domestic abuse.
The more we have these conversations, the more these conversations can be had. ~ Alison Jaye