The demolition of 27 churches in the capital of Sudan has been delayed to later this week after an appeal was made to the Bahri Appeal Court on Monday.
The churches are located north and east of the Nile, in Soba El Aradi and one in Jebel Awliya in Khartoum. Lawyer Dimas James Marjan made the appeal against the demolition to the Administrative Appeal Court after attempts to make an appeal to the responsible ministry, he told Radio Dabanga.
The dispute started concerning the removal of three churches when land administrations as well as the ministry refused to provide the lawyers defending the case with the removal order.
“We were surprised to discover in that order that there were 25 churches in total scheduled for removal. Later two churches were added, one in Soba El Aradi and the other in Jebel Awliya.”
The new court session at Bahri court is scheduled for this Wednesday.
Khartoum does not allow churches to be built, forcing Christians in the suburbs to go to alternate 'churches'
Speaking to Radio Dabanga, a senior church member in Khartoum said that the churches which the authorities intend to demolish “are ordinary houses where Christians congregate for prayer, where they exercise worship, according to the right that's guaranteed by the law and the Constitution”.
The church member explained that authorities do not allow any permits to build churches. “This forces people to pray in houses in the periphery of the city, because it's difficult to access the churches in the heart of the capital.”
The houses carry no domes or crosses or other religious symbols, and the people praying in the churches which are planned for demolition “struggle to earn a daily living”, the source expressed its concern.
The government has stopped granting permits to build new churches in Sudan while ordering the demolition of a number of churches in the capital during the past years. A church in El Haj Yousif was destroyed in August last year on claims that it was illegally built in 1976. In July, fourteen people, including priests, were sentenced to paying a fine for obstructing police that tried to pull-down the Bahri Evangelical Church. In October 2015, two churches of the British Evangelical Lutheran Church in Omdurman were demolished in Omdurman.
Sudan Democracy First Group and the Hudo Centre have repeatedly claimed that Christians and their freedom of religion is targeted by Sudanese authorities.