A Sudanese woman who fled to Italy after being spared a death sentence for renouncing Islam has arrived in the US. Meriam Yahia Ibrahim Ishag arrived in New Hampshire on Thursday 31ST July 2014 evening with her American husband and her children.
Welcoming her on a brief stopover in Philadelphia, the city’s mayor, Michael Nutter, described her as a “world freedom fighter”.
There was global condemnation when she was sentenced to hang for apostasy by a Sudanese court earlier this year. Ibrahim’s father is Muslim so according to Sudan’s version of Islamic law she is also Muslim and cannot convert. She maintains she was never Muslim having been raised by her Christian mother.
Ibrahim 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.
While in Philadelphia, Nutter said people would remember her just like “others who stood up so we could be free”.
He compared her to Rosa Parks, who became a symbol of the civil rights movement in the US when she refused to give up her seat to a white man on a bus in Alabama, and he also presented Ibrahim with a small replica of the Liberty Bell, a symbol of American independence.