Faith leaders in the UK have called for the death sentence on a Christian woman in Sudan to be dropped.
Meriam Yahya Ibrahim was arrested after a relative claimed her marriage to a US citizen was invalid, and therefore adulterous, because he is a Christian. Ibrahim was also found guilty of apostasy. She said she had been brought up a Christian and has refused to renounce her faith.
She has recieved a death sentence and has also been sentenced to receive 100 lashes. More than 100,000 people have backed a call by Amnesty International for her release.
Shaykh Ibrahim Mogra, Assistant Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Britain and Paul Hendricks, Auxiliary bishop of Southwark Diocese, write: "As Co-Chairs of the Christian Muslim Forum, we call for compassion in this situation and for the death sentence against Mariam Yehya Ibrahim Ishag to be dropped. Our religions tell us that human interactions should be shaped by compassion and humanity, not by death sentences. It is vital that all people should enjoy freedom of conscience and be able to follow their own religion, as we have already highlighted in our Ethical Witness Guidelines.
"Christians and Muslims should be able to coexist alongside each other, we emphasise that force and compulsion are not characteristics of either faith."
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, said he "wholeheartedly" endorses the call. A patron of the Forum himself, the Archbishop said: "The Christian Muslim Forum brings together both leaders and scholars from the range of Muslim and Christian communities in this country. This statement therefore has weight and deserves to be widely shared. I wholeheartedly endorse this call from the Christian Muslim Forum for the death sentence against Mariam Yahya to be dropped."
* Read the Christian and Muslim Forum's Ethical Witness Guidelines here: http://www.christianmuslimforum.org/downloads/Ethical_Guidelines_for_Wit...