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Lawyer: ‘Sudan govt covering-up church arson’

February 14 - 2020 KHARTOUM / BLUE NILE STATE
Christian women worshipping in a Sudanese church (File photo: barnabasfund.org)
Christian women worshipping in a Sudanese church (File photo: barnabasfund.org)

Lawyer Demas Marjan has accused the Sudanese government authorities of practicing a media blackout on the burning of three churches in Blue Nile state, allegedly by an extremist group two months ago. The SPLM-North faction led by Abdelaziz Adam El Hilu has renewed its demand for secularism and the separation of religion and state "to liberate religion from politicisation".

In an interview with Radio Dabanga, Marjan described the government silence on the burned church buildings as “not in line with the glorious aims of the December revolution” and explained that the intention of the government’s obscurity is to keep the matter secret so that it does not affect the issue of religious freedoms in Sudan.

He stated that “it is better for the revolutionary government to deal with this issue in a respectful manner by expressing a refusal to attack any of the religious sanctities regardless of their material value, rather than dealing with the incident as if it did not happen.”

He described this approach as the behaviour of the former regime and regretted its continuation under the revolution government and its practice by ministers who are supposed to represent the revolutionaries.

As previously reported by Radio Dabanga, on the evening of December 28 last year, unknown persons simultaneously torched church buildings belonging to the Sudan Internal Church, the Catholic Church, and the Orthodox Church in the town. Church members managed to rebuild the three churches with local materials, but in the evening of January 16, the churches were torched again.

Separation of religion and state

On Wednesday, the SPLM North faction led by Abdelaziz Adam El Hilu, issued a statement, renewing its demand for secularism and the separation of religion and state “to liberate religion from politicisation by preventing its political exploitation, removing all forms of persecution and discrimination on the basis of religion, and confiscating freedom of belief devotion and the practice of religious rites, so that the state stands at the same distance from all religions.”

A statement by Jabir Kumondan Kumi, the spokesman for the movement, affirmed that the grave violations committed in war zones, campaigns of killing, rape, ethnic cleansing and genocide were based on religious fatwas that made the ongoing war in Sudan a religious war with distinction, where all violations were practiced in the name of religion and jihad.

In its statement, the movement demanded the return of all the confiscated properties of Christians in Sudan, including “the Catholic Club”, as an important step in building the state of citizenship and equal rights.


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