Christian woman threatened with execution arrives in U.S.

Holding fast to her Christian faith in the face of execution, Meriam Ibrahim from Sudan arrived in the United States to cheering supporters at an airport in Manchester, NH.

Ibrahim flew from Rome to Philadelphia and then on to Manchester with her husband Daniel Wani and two children. With his face streaked with tears of joy, Wani thanked New Hampshire’s Sudanese community for their support of Ibrahim and his family.

In 2011, Ibrahim had been sentenced to death on charges of apostasy, refusing to recant her Christian faith and converting to Islam. Her father was a Muslim and her mother was an Orthodox Christian. Ibrahim married Wani, a Christian. But Muslim women in Sudan are prohibited from marrying non-Muslims and by law must follow their father’s religion.

Ibrahim was initially forbidden from leaving the country even though Sudan’s highest court overturned her death sentence in June. After taking refuge at the US embassy in Khartoum, Ibrahim and her family eventually left the country where she met Pope Benedict in the Vatican.

Manchester, located just north of the Massachusetts state line, has a substantial Sudanese community numbering more than 500 residents.

Ibrahim’s husband had been granted U.S. citizenship when he fled Sudan to the United States as a child to escape civil war. Living in New Hampshire, he later returned and was a citizen of South Sudan.

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