Sudanese woman who refused to recant Christianity arrives in new U.S. home
Meriam Ibrahim holds her baby girl Maya after landing from Khartoum, at Ciampino's military airport, on the outskirts of Rome, Thursday, July 24, 2014. (Lapresse / Daniele Leone)
The Associated Press
Published Thursday, July 31, 2014 12:24PM EDT
Last Updated Thursday, July 31, 2014 6:18PM EDT
PHILADELPHIA -- A Sudanese woman who refused to recant her Christian faith in the face of a death sentence, which was later overturned, arrived in the United States on Thursday after a flight from Rome.
Meriam Ibrahim stopped in Philadelphia briefly before flying on to New Hampshire, where she will make her new home.
Her husband, Daniel Wani, who has U.S. citizenship, had previously lived in New Hampshire and has family there.
While in Rome, Ibrahim last week met privately with Pope Francis.
Hundreds of southern Sudanese refugees have settled in New Hampshire over the years.
Wani had been granted U.S. citizenship when he fled to the United States as a child to escape civil war, but he later returned and was a citizen of South Sudan.
Sudan initially blocked Ibrahim from leaving the country, even after its highest court overturned her death sentence in June. At one point, the family took refuge at the U.S. embassy in Khartoum.
Ibrahim had been sentenced to death over charges of apostasy. Her father was Muslim, and her mother was an Orthodox Christian. She married Wani, a Christian, in 2011. Muslim women in Sudan are prohibited from marrying non-Muslims. By law, children must follow their father's religion.
A small gathering is planned at the airport in Manchester, New Hampshire, later Thursday, said Gabriel Wani, Ibrahim's brother-in-law. He spoke to his brother and said the family is doing well.