After Visiting with the Pope in Rome, the Ibrahims Are Set to Be Received by Manchester, New Hampshire's Expat Community
International Christian Concern
International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that Meriam Yahia Ibrahim, husband Daniel Wani, and their two children, Martin and Maya, have boarded a plane for the United States. Flying from Rome to Philadelphia, en route to Manchester, New Hampshire, the Ibrahims are expected to be received by a community that-for months-has eagerly awaited their arrival.
Zakaria Aging, a Sudanese national who fled to the United States in 2000, told CNN earlier this month, "We can't wait to see them, so many people have been waiting...you can't imagine how many people will be at the airport."
Wani, who holds dual U.S. and South Sudanese citizenship, fled with his brother-also expected to receive the family later today-to Manchester in the late 1990s as a political asylum seeker. Ibrahim and Wani married in 2011 after meeting in Sudan on one of Wani's regular trips to the East African nation.
When in Rome, Ibrahim told La Repubblica, "My husband...lost his job because of my event. Now we will go to New Hampshire where my brother-in-law Gabriel lives. They will help us. We will be all together as a true family."
An international non-profit has, at the request of the State Department, put together a media tour for the family in Washington, D.C., though it remains unclear as to whether the family holds any interest in participating or when it will take place. During their stay in Italy, the Ibrahims visited with Pope Francis, fulfilling a "lifelong dream" of Ibrahim's, who later commented, "I have always wanted and only wanted my faith."
Questions have been raised regarding the immigration status of the family as the State Department has not yet confirmed the citizenship of the Ibrahims' two children.
Cameron Thomas, ICC's Regional Manager for Africa, said, "We are pleased to know that Meriam, Daniel, and their two children, Martin and Maya are making their way to a new life, free from religious persecution. While we applaud the U.S. in welcoming the Ibrahims with open arms, we recognize that this administration failed to speak Meriam's name publicly at any point prior to her departure from Sudan, to confirm the citizenship of a toddler who subsequently spent 126 days in a Sudanese prison where, on average, one child dies every week in custody, and to secure the family's safe departure, which the government of Italy ultimately mediated. While today is a day to celebrate, it's also a day to remember Pastors Saeed Abedini and Kenneth Bae, both American Christians who continue to suffer in the shadows of repressive regimes bent on eliminating any semblance of religious freedom in their respective countries."
For interviews, contact Cameron Thomas, Regional Manager for Africa: RM-Africa@persecution.org
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