Sudan 'apostate' meets Pope

2014-07-25 09:03
Pope Francis meets Meriam Ibrahim, from Sudan, with her daughter Maya in her arms, in his Santa Marta residence, at the Vatican. (AP)

Pope Francis meets Meriam Ibrahim, from Sudan, with her daughter Maya in her arms, in his Santa Marta residence, at the Vatican. (AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

kalahari.com

  • Pope Francis
    Read up on Pope Francis in the biography that paints a peceptive portrait of Jorge Mario Bergoglio. Now R227.00
    buy now
Rome - A Sudanese Christian woman whose death sentence for renouncing Islam sparked a global outcry that eventually led to an acquittal, met Pope Francis after arriving in Italy en route to the United States.

Meriam Yahia Ibrahim Ishag and her family were received by the Argentine pontiff at his home for a 30-minute meeting on Thursday in which he thanked her for her "courageous testament of faith" and her "tenacity", the Vatican said in a statement.

Ishag and her American husband Daniel Wani in turn thanked Francis for the "great support and comfort" they had taken from "the pope's and many other believers' prayers".

The meeting was "a sign of closeness and solidarity for all those who suffer for their faith, in particular Christians who suffer persecution", the Vatican added.

'Affectionate and warm' chat

The 77-year-old pope gave Ishag rosary beads after an "affectionate and warm" chat about her plans in the United States, where she is expected to fly with her family in a few days' time, Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi said.

The White House in Washington said it was "delighted" Ishaq is now "safe and free and will soon be traveling to the United States".

"For months, Americans of all faiths kept Ms Ishag in their thoughts and prayers as Sudanese authorities sentenced her to death for the alleged crime of apostasy," read a statement released by President Barack Obama's national security adviser Susan Rice.

Journey to freedom

"Today, she and her family have left Sudan on their journey to freedom. Her departure with her immediate family - including her infant daughter, born in custody - is a testament to her unyielding faith and the support she received from friends and allies, including our Embassy in Khartoum and the broader US government," Rice said.

"We look forward to the day when they arrive in America."

The statement thanked the Italian government for its efforts on Ishag's behalf.

'A day of celebration'

The family flew into a military airport in Rome early Thursday and were greeted by Prime Minister Matteo Renzi and his wife, as well as Foreign Minister Federica Mogherini.

"Today is a day of celebration," Renzi said.

Italian Deputy Foreign Minister Lapo Pistelli, who accompanied the family on the flight to Rome, tweeted a photo of the young mother aboard the plane cradling her infant daughter as her toddler son drank from a bottle.

"Mission accomplished," he wrote.

A global outcry erupted in May after Ishag was sentenced under Sharia law to hang for apostasy.

'Forged documents'

Days after her conviction, the 26-year-old gave birth to a second child in prison.

Ishag's conviction was overturned in June, but she was immediately rearrested while trying to leave Sudan using what prosecutors claimed were forged documents.

Two days later, Ishag was released from prison and she and her family - including her American husband Daniel Wani and the two infant children - took refuge in the US embassy.

Ishag was born to a Muslim father who abandoned the family, and was raised by her Ethiopian Orthodox Christian mother. The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Khartoum says Ishaq joined the Catholic Church shortly before she married in 2011.

She was convicted under Islamic Sharia law that has been in force in Sudan since 1983, and that says Muslim conversion to another faith is punishable by death.

Vocal protests

The court had also sentenced her to 100 lashings because under Sharia law it considered her union with her non-Muslim husband to be adultery.

Ishag's case raised questions of religious freedom in mostly-Muslim Sudan and sparked vocal protests from Western governments and human rights groups.

The case has re-focused attention on a country which has slipped from the international spotlight but where an 11-year-old war continues with millions of people in need of humanitarian aid.

Ishag's husband Wani said her family had sought protection at the US embassy because of mounting death threats.

Ishag, Wani and their children are being hosted by the Italian government in Rome for a few days before they fly to New York.
Read more on:    meriam yahia ibrahim ishag  |  pope francis  |  us  |  italy  |  sudan  |  east africa
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/Sport
 

Printable solar panels will bring exciting new opportunities!

Printed sheets of flexible solar cells can mean your electronic devices can soon be charged with the use of renewable energy.

 
 

For chic geeks...

Now there’s a special lane for texting while walking
LOL! 7 brutally honest texts from parents
This lock means keys are something of the past!
7 things you didn't know about Apple

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

TOWNHOUSES FOR SALE IN Stellenbosch

Townhouses R 3 200 000

HOUSES FOR SALE IN Durbanville

Houses R 3 995 000

APARTMENTS / FLATS FOR SALE IN Cape Town, Newlands

Apartments / Flats R 2 495 000

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Mind blow low prices on electronics

Get either the Prestigio multiphone or Proline tablet 7” tablet for only R699. Offers valid while stocks last. Shop now!

30% off Barbie toys

Save 30% on all Barbie toys and accessories. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Baby extravanganza month at kalahari.com

Celebrate baby month with a wide range of awesome baby products. Offers valid while stocks last. Shop now.

30% off new fiction books!

Save 30% on new captivating books from great authors such as Wilbur Smith, James Pettereson and more. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now.

Camping gear!

We’ve got all your camping must have’s right here at mind blowing low prices. Check them out now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

As the Moon moves out of restless Gemini into sensitive Cancer today you are able to relax your active mind and be more receptive...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.