7

Sudan Facts

Score: 85/ 100
Region: Africa
Persecution Type: Islamic oppression
Persecution Level: Extreme
Population: 42,514,000
Christians: 1,963,000
Main Religion: Islam
Government: Transitional
Leader: Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok

Profile of Persecution

Violence 62%
Church Life 97%
National Life 94%
Community Life 87%
Family Life 87%
Private Life 85%

Intimidation, arrests and church demolition

Sudan’s current political chaos has left Christians in limbo. The secession of South Sudan in 2011 has also made Christians more vulnerable as Islamic conservatives in Sudan push for a Shariah State. Recently, the government has arrested or intimidated many Christian leaders, and numerous churches have been demolished—including places of worship that had been in use for years. Extremists have attacked Christians, especially in the Nuba Mountain region, where thousands of Christians have been killed or displaced.

The ethnic-cultural landscape of the country is also complicated: Arab versus ethnic African, Muslim versus Christian. This is particularly true for ethnic Africans, as a significant number are Christian and still living in the country. All Christian communities in Sudan are afraid of having conversations about their faith with Sudanese Muslims as this might be construed as being an “act that encourages apostasy against Islam.” The level of persecution that converts and ethnic Africans face is enormous. There have been arrests; many churches have been demolished and others are on an official list awaiting demolition; many Christians have been attacked indiscriminately in areas like the Nuba Mountains where there is an ongoing conflict between government forces and rebel groups.

So as not to be discovered, converts from Islam will often refrain from raising their children as Christians because this might attract the attention of the government and community leaders (since children might inadvertently reveal the faith of their parents). This fear even extends to funerals where deceased Christians with a Muslim background are often buried according to Islamic rites in Muslim cemeteries, even though Christian and Muslim cemeteries are separate.

Persecution in focus

Christian converts with a Muslim background are particularly at risk since the law officially punishes conversion from Islam to another religion by death. They usually refrain from owning Christian materials or accessing Christian TV or websites. If discovered, these could be used as evidence against them by family or officials.

Christian children are often harassed in school or playgrounds due to their parent’s faith.

A very high level of violence against Christians is evident, particularly in the Nuba Mountains, Darfur, South Kordofan and the Blue Nile State regions where Christians are targeted indiscriminately by government security forces.

Population and number of Christian statistics: Johnson T M and Zurlo G A, eds., World Christian Database (Leiden/Boston: Brill, accessed April 2019).

 

Pray for Sudan

  • In 2019, civilian protests brought an end to the rule of dictator Hassan al Bashir. Further civilian protests forced the transitional military council to seek agreement with the coalition of opposition forces. Thank the Lord for these changes and the agreement that was reached. Pray for continued openness as much uncertainty still remains, especially for religious minorities like Christians.
  • Pray for wisdom and accountability for the new transitional council headed by Abdalla Hamdok.
  • As the future of religious freedom remains unclear following the coup, pray that true religious freedom will be implemented.
  • People are still mourning the 100 people killed in the violent crackdown on pro-democracy protesters by Sudan’s security forces in the summer of 2019.  Pray that the Lord will be at work in these circumstances, saving the lost and encouraging His children.

Stories from Sudan

September 13, 2020

Sudan ends 30 years of Islamic law—historic move abolishes death penalty for leaving Islam

After 30 years of hardline enforcement of Islamic law, Sudan's transitional government has called for democracy, giving Christians and those who want to leave Islam and follow Jesus newfound freedom. Read More

+ READ MORE

July 28, 2020

Violence and COVID-19 turn African Christians into ‘endangered species’

A lethal combination of attacks and coronavirus food shortages is crippling the church in Nigeria and throughout sub-Saharan Africa. Read More

+ READ MORE

June 12, 2020

Historic Executive Order provides $50 million in aid for advancing global religious freedom

The new Executive Order is believed to be the first-ever to exclusively address the issue of international religious freedom. Read More

+ READ MORE

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