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WASHINGTON, D.C. - Family Research Council (FRC) President Tony Perkins expressed deep gratitude and relief early this morning after learning that Meriam Ibrahim and her family arrived in Italy.
Meriam is a Sudanese Christian, married to a U.S. citizen, who was sentenced to death by a Sudan court for the "crime" of converting from Islam, and 100 lashes for "adultery." Meriam spent months in a notoriously rank Sudanese prison with her 21-month-old son and her newborn daughter. More than 53,000 people signed a WhiteHouse.gov petition launched by FRC asking President Obama to grant her expedited safe haven in the United States. Yesterday, Perkins testified before the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations regarding her case.
FRC President Tony Perkins responded with the following comments:
"We celebrate Meriam Ibrahim and her family's escape to freedom. It is our hope and prayer that Meriam and her family will now enjoy the liberty to practice their Christian faith without government interference or persecution.
"Meriam's bold stand for Jesus Christ as she faced death is both an inspiration for Christians to be courageous, but also a reminder of the vigilance required to preserve and promote not just our First Freedom as Americans, but the basic human right of the freedom of religion.
"We are grateful to several members of Congress on both sides of the aisle who have worked to secure Meriam's freedom and facilitate her entry into the United States. Particular thanks to U.S. Reps. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), Chris Smith (R-N.J.), and House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), who were very instrumental in Meriam's release.
"Additionally I want to applaud the efforts of other Members of Congress like Trent Franks (R-Ariz.), Frank Wolf (R-Va.) and Sens. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Mary Landrieu (D-La.) who were deeply involved in securing Meriam's freedom. I also thank the European governments that worked to secure her release.
"The ordeal of Meriam and her family underscore the need for the Obama administration to make the promotion of religious freedom a priority at the State Department rather than an afterthought. The reality is that there are thousands of Meriams looking toward America, hoping they are not forgotten and that someone will speak out on their behalf," concluded Perkins.