Meriam Ibrahim; 'I will campaign for those persecuted for their faith'

Meriam Ibrahim, arriving in Italy in JulyAP Photo/Riccardo De Luca

Meriam Ibrahim, the Sudanese Christian woman who escaped the death penalty, has said she wants to campaign for religious freedom.

First imprisoned in January 2014, Ibrahim was charged with apostasy, for rejecting her estranged father's Muslim faith, and adultery, for marrying a Christian, American citizen Daniel Wani.

She was sentenced to death in May, and was forced to give birth to her daughter in prison, with shackles on her feet.

"I kept on receiving threats from the guards while I was in court, and the judge told me 'Be careful,' that I needed to convert to Islam," she said in an interview with the BBC this weekend.

"There are others who are in worse conditions in Sudan than what I was in," she said. "The law, instead of protecting people, is bringing harm to them."

Ibrahim was freed in June, following an international campaign for her release, but was initially prevented from leaving Sudan. She finally managed to leave in July, when she met Pope Francis in Rome.

She has said she wants to campaign for religious freedom worldwide, and hopes to return to Sudan one day.

Speaking of her faith during her imprisonment, she said: "I was sure that it was a test that I was going through, and I was sure that all things come together for those who love the Lord."

Since August, Ibrahim has been living in New Hampshire with her husband and two children, where she is seeking asylum.

Ibrahim was presented with an inaugural Cost of Discipleship Award at the Faith, Family and Freedom gala dinner at the end of the Values Voter Summit in Washington this weekend.

Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, who hosted the event, said: "We must recognise that there is a correlation between the increase in religious persecution abroad and the growing intolerance toward religion here at home from our government."

He said that "Meriam Ibrahim proved herself willing to give the last full measure of devotion, in so doing she provided an example of eternal witness, in a world desperate for meaning."

Accepting the award, Ibrahim's first response was in English: "God is good."