Meriam Ibrahim and Family Fly to Freedom, Heading to U.S.

Meriam Ibrahim, the Sudanese Christian woman who was condemned to death by an Islamic judge for refusing to renounce her faith, has been released by her Muslim captors. The 27-year-old Christian woman, her husband (a U.S. citizen), and their two children — one of whom Ibrahim delivered in a Sudanese prison — were flown on an Italian government jet to Rome on July 24, bringing to a close months of persecution and ongoing threats of execution by Sudanese authorities.

In late April Ibrahim, who was eight months pregnant and confined with her 20-month-old son in a Sudanese jail cell, was convicted by a Muslim court of apostasy for refusing to abandon her Christian faith for Islam, as well as of adultery for marrying a Christian man. Islam considers such relationships illicit, although Ibrahim had never practiced the Muslim faith and was raised by her mother as a Christian after her Muslim father abandoned the family.

Following her conviction, Ibrahim was given 15 days to recant her Christian faith and convert to Islam, but she refused, telling the judge, “I am a Christian, and I have never been a Muslim.” Her response earned her a sentence of death by hanging, as well as 100 lashes on the adultery charge — to be administered at some unspecified time following the birth of her baby.

While given continued opportunity to save herself from execution, Ibrahim steadfastly refused to deny her Christian faith. According to one of her attorneys, Ibrahim told her husband during a rare visit that “if they want to execute me then they should go ahead and do it because I’m not going to change my faith. I refuse to change. I am not giving up Christianity just so that I can live.”