The plight of a pregnant Sudanese woman, wife of a naturalized American, on death row for marrying a Christian, is horrifying no matter what your politics, religion or nationality. During his appearance on The Kelly File last night, Senator Ted Cruz made a splashy exhibition of humanitarian concern. But he was clearly more interested in promoting his own political career and agenda than in helping the poor woman. One of the "first questions" that came to his mind, he said, was not what he could do to help but how much President Obama is at fault. Not surprisingly, host Megyn Kelly didn't challenge Cruz' self-serving behavior.
A May article in The Daily Beast explained the case of Meriam Yehya Ibrahim:
Ibrahim is a 27 year old Sudanese mother now eight-months pregnant with her second child, the wife of a naturalized American citizen from South Sudan, and a medical school graduate. She is also a condemned prisoner on death row in Khartoum.
On Thursday, the Sudanese Public Order Court affirmed that Ibrahim is to be sentenced to 100 lashes of the whip and then to death by hanging. Under Sudan’s application of sharia law, the former punishment is for adultery due to the fact that she is a Muslim woman married to a Christian man, a marriage considered invalid, and the latter, somewhat contradictorily, for having left Islam to become a Christian, which is a capital crime. Her husband, Daniel Wani, has not been charged with adultery.
Last night, in a video FoxNews.com laughably called, “Sen. Ted Cruz on helping Sudanese woman on death row,” Cruz revealed – perhaps inadvertently – he is far more focused on helping his political partisanship than Ibrahim.
Megyn Kelly’s outrage-o-meter was dialed up as she introduced the segment with photos of Ibrahim accompanied by her own hammy display of sympathy: “Look at her! She looks emaciated! …She’s been locked up for months with her infant and her 20-month old, after she was arrested for marrying her husband – a Christian and a U.S. citizen and refusing to renounce her Christian faith!” Kelly exclaimed.
But instead of exploring options to help her, Kelly immediately segued to promoting attacks on President Obama. “Today, protesters took to the White House here, demanding action. Senator Ted Cruz and Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council, among others, calling on President Obama to act.”
In her interview, Kelly said that a Republican member of the House of Representatives, who just happens to be in a tight Senate race, was sponsoring legislation to grant the woman U.S. citizenship. “Will we do that? How can we and will it help?” Kelly asked. Points to Kelly for a legitimate and substantive question.
But Cruz quickly indicated he was far more interested in his own future than working to improve Ibrahim’s. Check out the amount of time he talked about his efforts to help her vs. the amount of time he spent grandstanding and attacking President Obama:
It would certainly help. It’s something I’m working with a number of senators in the U.S. Senate to do the exact same thing and I commend (he named the Republican congressman) for taking the lead in the House on this matter.
You know, our country was founded by people fleeing religious oppression and we sometimes forget how lucky we are to have religious liberty. Meriam Ibrahim (which he pronounced “Abraham”) is in a Sudanese prison with her toddler son and her newborn baby girl, and she has been sentenced to die for being a Christian. The sentence is that she will be whipped 100 times and then hung by the neck ‘til dead unless she renounces Christ. And Meriam Ibrahim has said, “I will not renounce Christ.” And she is married to an American from New Hampshire.
And I have to say, Megyn, that as you look at this, this outrage, this atrocity, one of the first questions that comes to mind is where is the president? Where is the president of the United States? Why is President Obama not standing up on the world stage as saying, “Bring Meriam Ibrahim. You are not going to execute this woman for her religious faith, For her Christian faith. You are not going to with her to death and take her away from her babies who are US citizens, from her husband who’s a US citizen.” We need American leadership because this is heartbreaking and we also need the prayers of Americans all across this country.
Kelly did not question what Cruz will actually do to help Ibrahim, beyond using her to attack his political foe. Instead, Kelly opened the door to further politicization by saying she initially thought that the U.S. State Department would be helping “behind the scenes.” But, Kelly added, “The husband says no, they’re not. He says he’s not getting help on this. Do you believe that to be the case?”
“I’m so concerned” Cruz obviously had no idea and he showed no interest in finding out or – more importantly – urging the State Department to work on it. Instead, he quickly segued to tooting his own horn and using Ibrahim to attack Obama as not pro-Christian enough:
Well, if the State Department is working behind the scenes, I don’t know of it? I can tell you, a couple of weeks ago, I was in Israel and I visited with Natan Sharansky, the famed Soviet dissidents who spent two years in the Soviet gulag. And he talked about the power of the president of the United States speaking out for freedom. He talked about how, in the Soviet gulags, the prisoners would pass from cell to cell notes, "Did you hear what President Reagan said? He called the Soviet Union, ‘an evil empire. He said, ‘Tear down this wall.’" Megyn, why isn’t this President speaking out against this grotesque violation of religious freedom? This woman is sentenced to death for being a Christian. The president of the United States should be outraged and no one can can speak to this with the force and power of the president. We need to see presidential leadership here.”
Kelly did not call out such suspect behavior on Cruz’ part. Nor did she press him about taking any actions on his own part. She merely said, “We’re going to stay on this.”
“Thank you,” Cruz said with showy concern. He made no similar promise.
Miriam’s case has rightly attracted worldwide attention but religion is not the main issue at stake. The true issue is gender relations and Miriam is a woman.
Throughout the world, including our own society, women are simply not supposed to …. (ask Bill O’Reilly, for heaven’s sake). Top of our own list in the Deep South used to be marrying a colored man. When that changed, perpetually outraged men had to invent a new one. No-brainer that marrying a Muslim is frowned upon in the world of Fox.
I take this opportunity to remind the pack that there’s a summit on sexual violence going on right now in London. Women throughout the world are starting to raise their heads: be skeered, little men, be very skeered, cause we’ve had just about enough of your macho attitudes.