Another church has been destroyed in Sudan. According to information given to Open Doors, a Baptist church in Omdurman, across the Nile from the capital Khartoum, was demolished on 2 August.
The church is the third of some 27 churches designated for destruction last year by the Sudanese government. The authorities claim that these buildings are in violation of the designated purposes of the land on which they were built.
The issue of church demolitions was raised by Ján Figel, the EU Special Envoy for Freedom of Religion or Belief, during a recent visit to the country. He was assured that demolitions had been temporarily halted, but since then at least two more churches have been destroyed and a church worker lost his life when he tried to intervene.
Christians face ever-increasing pressure in Sudan. There have been calls for all Christian-run schools in Khartoum to treat Sundays as a work day. Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, also spent three days in Sudan, where he raised the issue of religious freedom with the Sudanese President, Omar al-Bashir.
“My prayer for Sudan is that there will be freedom continually so that Christians may live confidently, blessing their country. The more they are free, the more they will be a blessing to Sudan,” the Archbishop said.
Sudan is ranked at number 5 on the 2017 Open Doors World Watch List. At least five Sudanese Christians were killed and 12 were imprisoned for their faith in 2016.
Sharia (Islamic law) is the foundation of Sudan’s legal system, and leaving Islam is punishable by death; Christians are afraid even to talk about their faith in case this is construed as an ‘act that encourages apostasy’. When President al-Bashir wants to gain support his government will often use inflammatory language against the West; Christianity is seen as Western, so this has a knock-on effect on Sudanese Christians.
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imprisoned, falsely accused, and hated simply for following Jesus.