Please pray for a Sudanese Christian couple who have been arrested after being accused of apostasy (leaving one faith to take up another) and adultery, despite the fact this is no longer a criminal offense under the country’s law.
The couple were both Muslim when they married in 2016. When, two years later, Hamouda converted to Christianity, Nada’s family forced her to have their marriage annulled by an Islamic, or Sharia, court.
In Sudan it is unlawful for a Muslim woman to marry a non-Muslim man, and at the time, leaving Islam was punishable with the death penalty.
Under so much pressure, they divorced and Nada returned to live with her family with the couple’s two children. After apostasy was decriminalised in 2020, the couple reunited in 2021 and Nada announced she, too, had become a Christian.
The family reported them to the authorities and they were arrested on charges of adultery, because the Sharia court had declared them divorced, and the prosecutor regarded Nada’s conversion as not valid. The couple, if found guilty of adultery, face a possible sentence of 100 lashes and a year in internal exile.
“The psychological pressure on Nada and Hamouda is high,” Samuel said. “This is another example of the challenges Christians from a Muslim background face, both socially and legally. Judges open cases to intimidate and pressurize them to return to Islam and, even if charges are dropped, the accused become easily identifiable within their community and are subjected to greater threat and danger.”
Last month a court dismissed an apostasy case against four Christian converts from Darfur because of the fact that leaving Islam formally is no longer a criminal offence in Sudan.
In recent months, fear among Sudan’s Christians has been growing that their country is sliding back into the control of Islamists
Sudan’s transition to civilian rule after 30 years of military dictatorship under former president Omar al-Bashir that started in 2019, was halted by a coup by the army in October last year. Since then Sudan’s military have started to give influential positions to former members of the National Congress Party and allies of al-Bashir. Under the NCP, with al-Bashir at the helm, a strict interpretation of Sharia was introduced and institutionalised.
Father God, be with Nada and Hamouda. Thank You that they know Your love – bring them peace and hope today. I pray the cases against them will be dropped and that they will be able to live together as a family without fear of punishment. I pray that the Sudanese government would protect the rights of Christians and that the country would continue to take steps to ensure the freedom of its citizens. Amen.
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