Meriam Ibrahim: 'I have always wanted and only wanted my faith'

Meriam Ibrahim holding her daughter as she arrived in Rome last week.AP Photo/Riccardo De Luca

Meriam Ibrahim, the Christian woman who has escaped Sudan after her death sentence for apostasy was repealed, is to settle in the US with her extended family.

"We will begin a new life...We will go to New Hampshire where my brother-in-law Gabriel lives," she told Antonella Napoli, head of Italians for Darfur.

"They will help us. We will be all together as a true family."

Ibrahim, who was quoted in Italian newspaper La Repubblica, was flown to Rome last week where she was given a 30 minute audience with Pope Francis; an experience Ibrahim called the fulfilment of a "lifelong dream".

The Pontiff reportedly thanked her for her "witness to faith" and "perseverance".

"I have always wanted and only wanted my faith. The love of my husband is a gift from God," Ibrahim said following the meeting.

She was sentenced to 100 lashes and death by hanging in Sudan on May 11 this year. Though she was bought up as a Christian her whole life, Ibrahim was found guilty of converting from Islam and was also accused of adultery after marrying a Christian man – a union deemed invalid under Sharia law.

She gave birth in Khartoum prison to a daughter, Maya, and – despite terrible treatment – refused to renounce her religious faith. She was later released following an international outcry.

"When I was asked to renounce my Christian faith, I knew what I was risking," Ibrahim told La Repubblica.