Lieutenant-General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan
Although Sudan has taken significant steps towards religious freedom in the past year, Christians from a Muslim background still face extreme persecution from their families and communities. These believers no longer face the death penalty for leaving Islam, but may be attacked, ostracized or otherwise discriminated against if their faith is discovered. Church buildings are often attacked or even demolished.
Many still keep their faith secret, for the safety of them and their family. Some converts even choose not to raise their children as Christians, wary of retribution from community leaders. This fear of exposure even means some Christians from a Muslim background have Islamic funerals in Muslim cemeteries.
“The suffering of the brothers and sister here, and especially Christians from a Muslim background, is very tough. We need you to remember them and consider their suffering. May this be a great time that we can express our love practically to them.”
Since President Omar al-Bashir was ousted in April 2019, there has been uncertainty about the leadership of Sudan and how it would impact Christians. Thankfully, and in an amazing answer to prayer, there do seem to be significant steps towards freedom of religion. Islamic law will end after 30 years, and Christians from a Muslim background no longer face the death penalty. While persecution continues in Sudan, and attitudes are not eradicated overnight, this is very promising and the reason that Sudan has fallen six places on the World Watch List this year.
In areas like the Nuba Mountains, there is an ongoing conflict and tension between government forces and rebel groups. Since 2011, thousands of Christians have been killed in these attacks, which many believe to be effectively ethnic cleansing of minority ethnic groups, particularly Christians. Elsewhere in the country, Christians from a Muslim background are most vulnerable.
Open Doors partners with the local church in Sudan to provide theological and discipleship training, persecution survival training, trauma care, and community development and income-generating projects.