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Sudan woman who faced death over faith arrives in US

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.

Join the discussion

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Miss Molly July 31 2014 at 7:48 PM

Before any of you get your panties in a bunch - she is a doctor and her husband is a biochemist. Look around your living rooms and see if your video game playing, selfie taking born in the USA family members can stack up to them.

Flag Reply +44 rate up
11 replies
jneal11254 July 31 2014 at 7:44 PM

I am a 60 year old Republican from Tennessee. I am shocked at the insulting and rascist comments I read here. Have you so quickly forgotten the words on the base of the Statue of Liberty? This is a nation of inclusion, and virtually all of us are either immigrants or the descendents of immigrants. My own family includes good old Scotch/Irish, two Australians, a Swede, two Russians and a Ukrainian. We should be proud that our nation provides opportunity and sanctuary for those that need it. To Ms. Ibrahim I say "Welcome to America. We are glad to have you!"

Flag Reply +38 rate up
16 replies
MAD_DAWG1 July 31 2014 at 7:09 PM

Why do they have to live in the US.
WE ARE NOW THE DUMPING GROUND FOR EVERYBODY.
Other countrys do not allow this

Flag Reply +17 rate up
19 replies
julklinger July 31 2014 at 8:37 PM

If they work, pay taxes and provide for their family without longterm public assistance then Welcome to America! There are plenty of Americans who dont even do that. Maybe we can trade

Flag Reply +16 rate up
1 reply
Jennifer julklinger July 31 2014 at 11:59 PM

Considering she is a physician she could support YOU!

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1 reply
Wendy Jennifer August 01 2014 at 12:22 PM

Even though she was a physician in Sudan, she does not receive reciprocity in America. It will be several years before she can be licensed here and allowed to practice her profession.

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lockworks07 July 31 2014 at 7:18 PM

Very brave woman.

Flag Reply +16 rate up
Love center July 31 2014 at 7:32 PM

AWESOME, But what is sad is 1 in 100,000 will be as fortunate as her. Next Year more than 100,000 Christians will be killed Just for Being Christians. That is more than that of that are killed for being Gay. So since Christians Stand up for Gays that are being Killed, I think Gays otta stand up for Christians that are being killed. Its the Idiots that Kill, Not True Christians!

Flag Reply +14 rate up
4 replies
Tbears July 31 2014 at 7:43 PM

Wonderful woman. God bless her and damn those Muslim savages and their horrible religion

Flag Reply +14 rate up
5 replies
fredawright3 July 31 2014 at 7:12 PM

is their church going to support this family or am i?

Flag Reply +14 rate up
27 replies
debnaert July 31 2014 at 9:58 PM

As a Republican conservative I PRAISE this woman's COURAGE and FAITH... I wish them all the best in their new HOME!

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2 replies
bbowens8 debnaert August 01 2014 at 2:38 AM

just don't run for office you will be reminded of where you came from!

Flag Reply 0 rate up
raptureus210 debnaert August 01 2014 at 6:42 AM

Bbowens8: Where we came from is a lot better than where we're going!

Flag Reply 0 rate up
fernandezarthr July 31 2014 at 7:24 PM

Finally, the "Animals" decided set her free!!!......nuke the bastards!.....

Flag Reply +9 rate up
6 replies
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