Although persecuted, Sudan’s Christian population is growing

Life may be awful in Muslim Sudan, but it is even worse in largely-Christian South Sudan. Link to image.

“IF SOUTH SUDAN secedes,” Omar al-Bashir told supporters at a rally in 2010, “we will change the constitution”, paying no attention to “diversity of culture”. The Sudanese president revisited the subject two years later. “Our template is clear: a 100% Islamic constitution,” he said in a speech to Muslim leaders in the capital, Khartoum. As for non-Muslims: “Nothing will preserve your rights except for Islamic sharia.”

The south seceded in 2011, taking with it most of Sudan’s Christians. After the split churches in the north were burned. Then came demolitions: at least 20 since 2011. Four took place in August this year. About 27 other churches are listed for bulldozing. The government says it is merely removing unlicensed buildings. But only churches seem to be getting knocked down. In any case, the government announced in 2013 that it would no longer grant licences for the construction of new churches. “Christians have no rights here any longer,” says Reverend Kuwa Shamal of the Sudanese Church of Christ, one of several church leaders who have been arrested on specious charges of spying and undermining the constitution.

Sudan’s treatment of Christians has long been dire. Forced assimilation in the 1980s and 1990s helped spark its decades-long civil war. “Denial of religious freedom” was cited by Bill Clinton, then America’s president, among his reasons for imposing sanctions on Sudan in 1997. A peace agreement with southern rebels in 2005 brought some respite, but “after the independence of South Sudan the government decided there was no space for Christians,” says Muhanad Nur, a human-rights lawyer in Khartoum.

Many Western observers agree. On November 17th America’s deputy secretary of state, John Sullivan, told Sudan to stop smashing churches. Open Doors, an NGO, ranks Sudan as the fifth-worst country in the world for the persecution of Christians. In June, American congressmen from both parties wrote to President Donald Trump urging him to delay lifting sanctions for another year, citing in particular “state-sanctioned persecution of Christians”. (They were lifted anyway on October 12th to prise Sudan from the orbit of Iran, a long-standing ally.)

Although foreigners focus on Sudan’s central government, much of the repression is happening locally and sporadically. Church demolitions in Khartoum, for instance, are carried out by local authorities. Many suspect they are more interested in grabbing valuable land than in suppressing religious minorities. The governor of Khartoum, Abdel Rahim Muhammad Hussein, has threatened to kick out tens of thousands of South Sudanese refugees, many of whom are Christian. He claims they cause insecurity and spread disease. Such words are worrying when coming from a man who, like Mr Bashir, is wanted by the International Criminal Court on charges of crimes against humanity.

Yet Sudanese citizens are far more welcoming. Sudan still has many Christian schools, most of whose pupils are Muslim. And many of the Christians that Sudan lost when the south broke away have since returned: about half a million South Sudanese have crossed the border since the start of a civil war there in 2013. Father Juma Charles of St Matthew’s Catholic Cathedral in Khartoum says that so many of his flock have returned that prayer centres that were closed in 2011 are open again.

This article appeared in the Middle East and Africa section of the print edition under the headline “Rendering unto Bashir”

Link to article.

Some of the main news items for this week

Below is extracts of articles with some of the most important news information this week. The news on the revocation of many of the long-standing sanctions against Sudan is by far the most news-worthy item of the week. Click on the links to access the full articles.

US revokes Sudan sanctions

On 6 October, the US decided to revoke long-standing economic sanctions against Sudan, in recognition of its progress towards maintaining a cessation of hostilities in Sudanese conflict areas, improving humanitarian access throughout Sudan, and maintaining cooperation with the US on addressing regional conflicts and the threat of terrorism. Although not a condition for revoking the sanctions, the US also secured a commitment from Sudan not to pursue arms deals with North Korea. The revocation is set to take effect on 12 October 2017.

Sudan, however, will continue to remain on the US list of State Sponsors of Terrorism – alongside Iran and Syria – which carries, among other things, a ban on weapon sales and restrictions on US foreign assistance.

One more on that topic:

Trump moves to ease sanctions on Sudan

 

Bern demands release of Swiss woman abducted in Darfur

The Swiss Foreign Ministry has called for the quick release of a Swiss aid worker who was kidnapped by unknown gunmen from her house in El Fasher, capital of North Darfur, on Saturday evening.

South Sudan winning against Guinea worm, says Jimmy Carter

War-torn South Sudan “should serve as an example” for other countries in the progress it is making in eradicating Guinea worm, said former United States President Jimmy Carter.

Speaking to the Associated Press, Carter praised the world’s youngest nation for making steady progress in ridding itself of the debilitating parasite despite the “tremendous problems.”

Help Danie Retief in blessing the children of South Sudan

This weekend Danie Retief is running, swimming and cycling to make a difference in the lives of South Sudanese children. Danie is representing South Africa in the World Triathlon Championships in Rotterdam, Amsterdam.

The event consists of participation in a 1500 m swim, 40 km bicycle ride and 10 km run, which represents the Olympic distance. More information on the event is available at this link.

To DONATE to help Danie bless the children of South Sudan click here.

Danie is required to raise funds for all of his participation AND at the same time wants to raise funds to bless the children of South Sudan.

Click here to read more about the World Triathlon Championships taking pace THIS weekend in Rotterdam, Netherlands.

Danie Retief, representing the South African national team at the World Triathlon Championships this weekend.

Danie aims to help the children of South Sudan through his participation at the World Triathlon Championships in Rotterdam, Amsterdam.

To DONATE to help Danie bless the children of South Sudan click here.

We pray for a very blessed time and that Danie’s dream of making a difference in the lives of South Sudanese children would be fulfilled.

Regular updates available on our blogs

The SSNet [Sudans Support Network] is just what the name implies…a SUPPORT NETWORK…for both Sudan and South Sudan. Many people is involved to bless and change both those nations. Because of what the SSNET does to make change happen is of such a variety in nature, we have created TWO blogs to help supporters follow and support these efforts.

Sudan and South Sudan News Updates

On this blog NEWS updates on Sudan and South Sudan are posted. This would allow you, the reader, insight into how the story of each nation unfolds and what we could do to help.

 

Here are links to some of the latest stories posted on this blog:

Aid workers in South Sudan blocked by government

South Sudan threatens to suspend UN mission’s air operations over dispute

Sudan warns of massive floods as Nile rises to record levels

 

People in Sudan’s capital are queuing again for bread 

The U.S. Military Is Cozying Up to Sudan, of All Countries

 

The S4J Blog

The S4J Blog [Sudan4Jesus Blog] focus on the stories of athletes helping the people of Sudan and South Sudan through fundraising initiatives.

Here is the newest story published. The S4J team served athletes as a water-point during the Romans Pizza Phobians 15 km race.

S4J at Romans Pizza Phobians 15 km race

It was a cold, windy day. Yet hearts were warm at the Romans Pizza Phobians 15 km race. The S4J team had the privilege to serve athletes at a water-point at the 9 km mark. Here is some of the memories of this day. In the LINK to the article, more pics on the day is posted.

We trust that through the two blogs, new, potential and current supporters could be updated regularly.

Together we can make a greater impact. Changing lives and changing nations.

Sudans Prayer Focus – 10 to 13 Aug 2017

Theme: PRAY for the DESTINY of NATIONS

First of all, PRAY for Sudan and South Sudan;
but ALSO PRAY for the nation that you represent (from where you are).
To link to the events page, please click here.

As you commit to set aside a suitable time to PRAY for the Sudans during these 4 days, you’re encouraged to click on the GOING button, to encourage others that will pray too.

Hub for the 2017 Sudans Prayer Summit: Kasungu, Malawi.

Please join this prayer focus by setting aside some time to PRAY from WHEREVER you are.

Prayer Resources on Sudan and South Sudan:

(Please choose one or more that WORKS WELL FOR YOU).

  • Sudan Support Network [SSNET] at www.sudansupport.org
  • Sudan Prayer Guard, where you could pray for a new unreached people group every hour, at this link.
  • Sudan unreached people groups on Joshua Project at this link.
  • South Sudan unreached people groups on Joshua Project at this link.
  • Sudan and South Sudan News Updates BLOG at this link.
  • Sudan & South Sudan News Updates Facebook Page at this link.
  • 1040 windowreporter: Day 2 South Sudan & Sudan at this link.

Two links with a short prayer video:

Prayercast: Sudan 

Prayercast: South Sudan

Prayer Resources on Praying for the Destiny of Nations:

Click on the links below: