Sudan prohibits construction of new churches
The Sudanese Minister of Guidance and Religious Endowments has announced that the government will not issue permits anymore for the building of new churches in the country. Sudanese Christian leaders have criticised the statement.
Minister Shalil Abdallah told the Khartoum-based El Jareeda newspaper recently that the existing churches are enough for the Christians remaining in Sudan, after the secession of South Sudan in 2011.
He pointed out that South Sudan became an independent country where the majority of its people are Christians, while the number of Christians in Sudan is small.
Reacting to the news, Rev. Kori El Ramli, the Secretary-General of the Sudan Council of Churches told Radio Tamazuj on Thursday that the minister’s statement contradicts the Sudanese 2005 Interim Constitution.
“Yes, we are a minority, but we have freedom of worship and belief just like the rest of the Sudanese, as long as we are Sudanese nationals like them,” he explained.
The pastor also criticised the demolition of a church of the Sudanese Church of Christ, built in 1983 at El Izba residential area in Khartoum North on 1 July.
Most congregants of the Sudanese Church of Christ are Nuba from South Kordofan.
In a report issued in April 2013, Christian Solidarity Worldwide noted an increase in arrests, detentions and deportations of Christians by Sudan since December 2012. The organisation also reported that systematic targeting of Nuba and other ethnic groups suggests the resurgence of an official policy of “Islamisation and Arabisation.”
Due to its treatment of Christians, and other human rights violations, Sudan has been designated a Country of Particular Concern by the US State Department in 1999. In April 2013, the US Commission on International Religious Freedom recommended the country remain on the list.
(Source: Radio Tamazuj)
File photo: Demolition of a church building of the Sudanese Church of Christ in Omdurman, 17 February 2014 (Morning Star)
Sudan demolishes church in Khartoum (1 July 2014)
Sudanese Church of Christ building bulldozed (20 February 2014)
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