No new licenses for church buildings in Sudan

May 2, 2013 by  
Filed under newsletter-asia

A Sudanese government minister has announced that no new licenses will be granted for church buildings, in the latest of a series of moves that have put pressure on the vulnerable Christian minority.

The remains of a demolished church building in KhartoumSudan, May 01, 2013: Al-Fatih Taj El-sir, the government minister who oversees religious affairs, explained the decision by saying that no new church buildings are needed as the existing ones can accommodate worshippers. The Minister of Guidance and Endowments claimed that, due to a lack of worshippers and a growth in the number of abandoned church buildings, no new churches had been established in Sudan since South Sudan seceded in July 2011.

The news that no new church buildings can now legally be built compounds existing fears that the government is trying systematically to eradicate Christianity from Sudan. Although the minister also maintained in his announcement on 17 April that the freedom to worship is guaranteed in Sudan, this claim is belied by a succession of anti-Christian actions taken by Islamist President Omar al-Bashir’s government since late 2012.

Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) reported that just days before the announcement the government deported a senior church leader and two expatriate missionaries, one from France and one from Egypt, who had been working with children in Khartoum. No reason was given to the three Christians for their expulsion on 12 April.

These deportations followed those of around 100 foreign workers, who were reportedly expelled after a story surfaced that a Muslim girl had been baptised. At least 55 Sudanese Christians were also arrested in February after they were falsely accused of receiving money from foreign countries.

On 18 February, the Evangelical Literature Centre at the Sudan Presbyterian Evangelical Church in Khartoum was raided; three people of South Sudanese origin were arrested, and items including books and films were confiscated.

The government has also demolished numerous church buildings on the pretext of paperwork irregularities. Seven churches in the Khartoum area were flattened in two days in January.

This crack-down on Christian activities has been accompanied by a media campaign against “Christianisation” of the country. CSW also reported that members of African ethnic groups are being systematically targeted. These developments add further weight to concerns that the government may trying both to Islamise and to Arabise the country. President Bashir has repeatedly declared that the country’s next constitution will be “100% Islamic”.

Barnabas Fund’s Exodus project, which is bringing Christians of South Sudanese origin who are stranded in Sudan to safety in South Sudan, has now rescued a total of 4,415 vulnerable Christians. The mission is continuing.

– barnabas team

Enter Google AdSense Code Here

Comments are closed.