Sudanese Christian couple Nada and her husband Hamouda, who faced the threat of death after being accused of apostasy, have left Sudan with their three children to begin a new life in the USA.
Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF International) announced the news on 20 December stating that the family is now looking forward to their first Christmas in safety. ADF had provided lawyers to defend Nada and Hamouda in court hearings in Sudan in 2021 and 2022 against charges of adultery, to which the charge of apostasy was later added.
ADF International said that when it became clear after months of court hearings that the penalties and threats facing the couple were imminent and life-threatening, it decided to help the family to leave Sudan.
“If we lost the case, the punishment they faced could result in death. And if we won the case, Nada’s brother had publicly vowed to kill them himself. We knew we had to activate our networks to get them safely out of Sudan as quickly as possible,” said Kelsey Zorzi, Director of Advocacy for Global Religious Freedom for ADF International.
Working with the Shai Fund and Ambassador Services International, ADF helped Nada, Hamouda and their children to escape from Sudan to the United States.
Kelsey continued, “We are overjoyed that Nada, Hamouda and their children are now able to practise their faith without fear for their lives. After facing imminent risk of death in Sudan, they are now looking forward to celebrating Christmas in their new home, alongside their new community and church family.
“While international and Sudanese law protect Nada and Hamouda’s right to freely choose and live out their faith, it is clear that Christian converts in Sudan continue to face severe threats and hostility from government and community.”
An American Christian family who heard about their plight sponsored the family and met them at the airport when they arrived in the USA. Steve Berger said, “This is a miracle – a miracle of God’s love for people to rescue them. When we first heard about Nada and Hamouda, it was immediately made clear to us that we were to get involved and be the heart and hands of Jesus extended to them.” He and his wife Sarah met Nada, Hamouda and their three young children at the airport when they arrived in the USA and took them into their home. The family has now settled in their own home and become part of a local Sudanese church.
Hamouda (35) and Nada (26) were Muslims when they married in 2016, but when Hamouda became a Christian in 2018 Nada’s family sought and won a Sharia court decision to annul the marriage on the basis of his conversion. At the time, apostasy was a crime punishable by death, though it was decriminalised in 2020 following the ousting of Sudan’s Islamist president Omar al-Bashir in 2019.
Nada and the couple’s children went to stay with her family, but in 2021 she also converted to Christianity and returned to Hamouda with their children, whereupon her brother accused them of adultery.
Police arrested Hamouda and Nada on 17 August 2021 and charged them with adultery, based on the Sharia court’s annulment of their marriage. Hamouda and Nada were detained for four days before being released on bail. Their lawyer stated, “The court has interrogated the couple after two of the witnesses told the court that the marriage between the couple is illegal, and as a result they are accused of adultery under Article 146, but I told the court that the marriage is legal.” He added that the couple faced growing threats from hardline Muslims, in particular Nada’s brother.
In September 2022 the couple discovered that a charge of apostasy had been added to their case (despite the fact that apostasy was decriminalised in 2020). The apostasy charge was seen as an attempt to pressurise the couple into returning to Islam.
Images: ADF International