Meriam Ibrahim, Daniel Wani and Children Leave Rome for US After Escaping Sudan

meriam-ibrahimBy Nicola Menzie , Christian Post – Meriam Ibrahim, her husband, Daniel Wani, and their two children will be greeted quietly Thursday afternoon by Philadelphia’s Mayor Michael Nutter upon their arrival at the Philadelphia International Airport, in another leg of a harrowing persecution case that nearly resulted in the Orthodox Christian woman being executed for her faith by Sudanese authorities.

The family departed earlier this morning from Fiumicino Airport in Rome, where they had been transported after a hellish year-long ordeal that has enshrined Ibrahim, 27, as a near-martyr and resulted in her giving birth to her youngest child while shackled in prison.

The family is expected to touch down on an American Airlines or US Airways flight at the Philadelphia International Airport just a little after 3 p.m. According to an email sent Thursday morning by the Philadelphia mayor’s office, “Mayor Nutter will welcome Meriam Ibrahim and her family at the airport.”

According to a source close to the situation, Ibrahim, Wani and their children were being heavily shielded by the FBI and the TSA, so the family’s welcome by Mayor Nutter reportedly will happen quietly with no fanfare.

Ibrahim, holding her months-old daughter, Maya, was photographed as they made their way through Fiumicino Airport to catch their flight leaving Rome.

According to Antonella Napoli, an Italian journalist and activist who has been working closely with the family, Ibrahim stated that she was “a bit scared to leave Rome.”

“We have been very happy here. We have felt like a real family,” said the 27-year-old woman.

During their week in Rome, the family reportedly visited the Roman amphitheater or Colosseum, where in the third century Christians were martyred for amusement.

Ibrahim added, “We saw the whole city, we went to the Colosseum, we went to mass on Sunday, and we went shopping. We returned to life. And now I don’t know what to expect but at least we will all be together.”

As for Wani, Ibrahim’s husband, he was looking forward to returning to his home in Manchester, New Hampshire, where his brother, Gabriel Wani, also lives. Members of the local Sudanese Evangelical Covenant Church were also waiting with anticipation to welcome the brave family home.

“My brother will help us, I’m sure, and the Christian community in New Hampshire will be with us. The future is always unknown but I am optimistic,” Wani said, according to the Daily Mail.

Napoli, apparently travelling with the family from Rome to the U.S., shared a photo of Ibrahim, Wani and baby Maya seated on the plane and prepared for departure.

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