By Robert P. George
(CNN) — The recent ordeal of Meriam Yahia Ibrahim Ishag, a Sudanese mother and wife of an American citizen — coupled with Iran’s continued imprisonment of Saeed Abedini, also an American citizen and a pastor — should awaken our conscience to one grim and inescapable fact: The persecution of Christians continues.
Charged with leaving Islam to marry a Christian, despite being raised a Christian and remaining one throughout her 27 years, Meriam was sentenced to death last month for apostasy. After an international outcry, she was released, rearrested, and released again, according to the U.S. State Department.
In Sudan and Iran, as well as countries like Saudi Arabia, leaders and movements impose their own extreme interpretations of Islam, while restricting the rights of Christians and other religious minorities.
Elsewhere in the Middle East, mass violence as well as repression arises from such movements. In Iraq and Syria, forces of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) commit horrific abuses against Christians and others, from torture to murder. In Egypt, scores of churches and other Christian structures were burned by radicals last autumn following President Mohamed Morsy’s fall. While Christians faced repression under prior regimes like Hosni Mubarak’s, their predicament has worsened in a post-Arab Spring world.