Sudan woman who faced death over faith arrives in US

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Sudan woman who faced death over faith arrives in US
In this photo provided by the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano, Pope Francis meets Meriam Ibrahim, from Sudan, with her daughter Maya in her arms, in his Santa Marta residence, at the Vatican, Thursday, July 24, 2014. The Sudanese woman who was sentenced to death in Sudan for refusing to recant her Christian faith has arrived in Italy along with her family, including the infant born in prison. Ibrahim, whose father was Muslim but whose mother was an Orthodox Christian from Ethiopia, was sentenced to death over charges of apostasy. She married her husband, a Christian, in a church ceremony in 2011. (AP Photo/L'Osservatore Romano, File)
Meriam Ibrahim, from Sudan, disembarks with her children Maya, in her arms, and Martin, accompanied by Italian deputy Foreign Minister Lapo Pistelli, after landing from Khartoum, at Ciampino's military airport, on the outskirts of Rome, Thursday, July 24, 2014. The Sudanese woman who was sentenced to death in Sudan for refusing to recant her Christian faith has arrived in Italy along with her family, including an infant born in prison. An Italian diplomat who accompanied the family from Sudan said Italy leveraged its historic ties within the Horn of Africa region to help win her release. (AP Photo/Riccardo De Luca)
In this photo provided by the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano, Pope Francis meets in his Santa Marta residence Meriam Ibrahim, from Sudan, center, with her children Maya in her arms, Martin, and her husband, Daniel Wani, right, at the Vatican, Thursday, July 24, 2014. The Sudanese woman who was sentenced to death in Sudan for refusing to recant her Christian faith has arrived in Italy along with her family, including the infant born in prison. Ibrahim, whose father was Muslim but whose mother was an Orthodox Christian from Ethiopia, was sentenced to death over charges of apostasy. She married her husband, a Christian, in a church ceremony in 2011. As in many Muslim nations, Muslim women in Sudan are prohibited from marrying non-Muslims, though Muslim men can marry outside their faith. (AP Photo/L'Osservatore Romano)
In this photo provided by the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano, Pope Francis meets Meriam Ibrahim, from Sudan, with her daughter Maya in her arms, in his Santa Marta residence, at the Vatican, Thursday, July 24, 2014. Pope Francis has met privately with the Sudanese woman who arrived in Italy after escaping a death sentence in Sudan for refusing to recant her Christian faith. The Vatican said Pope Francis had "a very affectionate" meeting with Meriam Ibrahim, 27, her husband and their two small children. Vatican spokesman the Rev. Federico Lombardi said the pope "thanked her for her faith and courage, and she thanked him for his prayer and solidarity" during the half-hour meeting. (AP Photo/L'Osservatore Romano)
In this photo provided by the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano, Pope Francis meets in his Santa Marta residence Meriam Ibrahim, from Sudan, center, with her children Maya in her arms, Martin, and her husband, Daniel Wani, right, at the Vatican, Thursday, July 24, 2014. Pope Francis has met privately with the Sudanese woman who arrived in Italy after escaping a death sentence in Sudan for refusing to recant her Christian faith. The Vatican said Pope Francis had "a very affectionate" meeting with Meriam Ibrahim, 27, her husband and their two small children. Vatican spokesman the Rev. Federico Lombardi said the pope "thanked her for her faith and courage, and she thanked him for his prayer and solidarity" during the half-hour meeting. (AP Photo/L'Osservatore Romano)
Meriam Yahia Ibrahim Ishag, a 27-year-old Christian Sudanese woman sentenced to hang for apostasy, sits in her cell a day after she gave birth to a baby girl at a women's prison in Khartoum's twin city of Omdurman on May 28, 2014. Sudan denied on June 1, 2014 Ishag would be freed soon, saying quotes attributed to a foreign ministry official had been taken out of context. AFP PHOTO / STR (Photo credit should read -/AFP/Getty Images)
Meriam Yahia Ibrahim Ishag, a 27-year-old Christian Sudanese woman sentenced to hang for apostasy, sits in her cell with her baby girl a day after she gave her birth at a women's prison in Khartoum's twin city of Omdurman on May 28, 2014. Sudan denied on June 1, 2014 Ishag would be freed soon, saying quotes attributed to a foreign ministry official had been taken out of context. AFP PHOTO / STR (Photo credit should read -/AFP/Getty Images)
In this image made from an undated video provided Thursday, June 5, 2014, by Al Fajer, a Sudanese nongovernmental organization, Meriam Ibrahim, sitting next to Martin, her 18-month-old son, holds her newborn baby girl that she gave birth to in jail last week, as the NGO visits her in a room at a prison in Khartoum, Sudan. The Sudanese woman sentenced to death for refusing to recant her Christian faith after allegedly converting from Islam has appealed the sentence, her lawyer said. (AP Photo/Al Fajer)
In this image made from an undated video provided Thursday, June 5, 2014, by Al Fajer, a Sudanese nongovernmental organization, Meriam Ibrahim breastfeeds her newborn baby girl that she gave birth to in jail last week, as the NGO visits her in a room at a prison in Khartoum, Sudan. The Sudanese woman sentenced to death for refusing to recant her Christian faith after allegedly converting from Islam has appealed the sentence, her lawyer said. (AP Photo/Al Fajer)
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By GEOFF MULVIHILL

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - A Sudanese woman who refused to recant her Christian faith in the face of a death sentence, which was later overturned, has arrived in the United States after a flight from Rome.

Meriam Ibrahim arrived with her husband and two children Thursday, officials at Philadelphia International Airport said, and she was to be greeted by Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter.

She was to remain at the airport only briefly before flying on to Manchester, New Hampshire, where she will make her new home. Meriam's husband, Daniel Wani, had previously lived in New Hampshire, where he has family and where hundreds of southern Sudanese refugees have settled over the years.

He 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 from southern Sudan, in 2011. Muslim women in Sudan are prohibited from marrying non-Muslims. By law, children must follow their father's religion.

Manchester, with 110,000 people, is northern New England's largest city and has been a magnet for immigrants and refugees for decades. There are about 500 Sudanese living in the city just north of the Massachusetts state line.

A small gathering was planned at the airport Thursday night, said Gabriel Wani, Ibrahim's brother-in-law. He spoke to his brother and said the family is doing well.

"We're just going to go and bring them home," he said. "They want to come home and they want to rest."

Monyroor Teng, pastor of the Sudanese Evangelical Covenant Church in Manchester, said Ibrahim's release gives him hope.

"People are really happy to receive them when they come home," he said. "It's a miracle to me. I didn't think that something like this would happen because in Sudan, when something happens like that, it's unreal. It happens to so many people. Maybe, who knows, I'm praying for those (other) ladies who are in jail and those who have died."

The Rev. William Devlin, a New York City pastor who had helped the family, said Ibrahim expressed some sadness when he talked to her Wednesday.

"She is leaving everything she knows behind," he said.

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