Meriam Yahia Ibrahim Ishag, the Sudanese mother who was condemned to die for marrying a Christian, arrived in the United States Thursday evening with her American husband and two babies.
Welcoming her on a brief stopover in Philadelphia, the city’s mayor, Michael Nutter described her as a “world freedom fighter”.
I describe her as a modern day saint. I’m not even joking.
Meriam was tried and ordered to disavow her faith, but she refused, knowing that she would be condemned to death if she didn’t. She was sentenced to hang for apostasy by a Sudanese court – first to be whipped with 100 lashes, because the court also found her guilty of adultery for having sexual relations with her Christian husband.
The pregnant mother sat in her squalid prison cell for months – her situation desperate and her future in peril. Think about the brave face she must have put on for her toddler son Martin, who was in prison with his mama from the time of her arrest on Feb. 17 to when she was finally freed in June. She gave birth to her daughter, Maya, in prison while shackled in chains.
After worldwide condemnation, Meriam’s life was spared and she and her family fled to Italy, where she met the Pope who blessed her and praised her “courageous witness to faith.”
Thursday, she “flew from Rome to Philadelphia with her husband and two
children, en route to Manchester, New Hampshire, where her husband has
relatives and the family hope to settle.”
Via NBC News:
The Rev. Joel Kruggel, pastor of Bethany Covenant Church, which sponsors the Sudanese congregation, told NBC News the next step would be to get the family out of Wani’s studio apartment and into a larger home. “There’s been tons of support. There’s been tons of love,” he said Thursday night. Now the community is focused on helping the family “absorb the fact that they are safe in New Hampshire, where life can be closer to normal.”