Meriam Ibrahim to Settle in New Hampshire with Family in Sudanese Christian Community

( [email protected] ) Jul 28, 2014 06:03 PM EDT
Meriam Ibrahim
Meriam Ibrahim pictured with her daughter, Maya, and husband Daniel Wani at the U.S. Embassy. (AP)

Sudanese Christian mother Meriam Ibrahim is expected to fly with her family from Rome to New Hampshire to settle in Manchester this week.

According to Ibrahim's brother-in-law, Gabriel Wani, Ibrahim and her family will likely first visit Washington D.C. to thank those who contributed to her release. Then, Ibrahim, her husband Daniel Wani, and their two young children will settle in a Sudanese Christian community in Manchester, NH.

"[Daniel Wani's] plan all along was to bring his family to New Hampshire, Gabriel told the Associated Press, saying he had spoken to his brother several times on the phone.  "I was crying. He said they were coming to New Hampshire. This is his place now."

The Sudanese Evangelical Covenant Church is preparing to host a welcome reception for the family upon their arrival, and several church members plan to meet them at the airport.

"A lot of people have been waiting for them," Gabriel stated. "The whole community wants to welcome them."

Daniel Wani, who is a U.S. naturalized citizen, is a board chairman of the South Sudan Community of New Hampshire, a nonprofit that provides translators, English classes, tuition for children and outreach services.

Ibrahim's story gained international attention when she was arrested and sentenced to death for refusing to renounce her Christian faith.

According to Sudan's Islamic law, Ibrahim was recognized her as a Muslim because her father was one, thus making her marriage to a Christian man illegal. However, the young mother refused to recant her faith, saying she had "never been a Muslim" as she was raised by her Christian mother.  

While in prison, she gave birth to a baby girl, who she named Maya. Although her sentence was overturned by an appeals court several weeks ago, Ibrahim was arrested again on June 24 when she and her family attempted to leave Sudan for the United States.

After her family dropped all charges, Ibrahim and her family finally left Sudan and arrived in Rome, where the Prime Minister declared a "day of celebration. The family also met with Pope Francis accompanied by Italian Deputy Foreign Minister, Lapo Pistelli, who said the meeting happened in a "very serene and affectionate" environment.  The pope also praised Ibrahim for her "courageous witness to perseverance in the faith."