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Sudan: Christians still encounter roadblocks to constructing churches and regaining confiscated properties

The persecution of Christians in Sudan proceeds from the assumption that Christianity is an alien faith that is being imported into the country by foreigners. Sudan is a majority-Muslim country, but it is also true that the area that is modern-day Sudan was long ago a Christian stronghold. Most Sudanese Christians today are Roman Catholic or Protestant; there is still a small number of Greek Orthodox Christians there. The unwillingness to allow the construction of new churches keeps Christian communities in a perpetually precarious state. Christians of every faith tradition are vulnerable.

May Almighty God protect the Christians of Sudan, alleviate their suffering, and allow their community to grow.

For previous ChristianPersecution.com coverage of the persecution of Christians in Sudan, see here.

“Religious Rights Still Blocked in Sudan, Christian Leaders Say,” Morning Star News, January 7, 2021:

JUBA, South Sudan (Morning Star News) – Officials in Sudan have shown signs of increasing religious freedom, but Christians say roadblocks remain to constructing churches and regaining confiscated properties since the new transitional government took power in September 2019.

Officials in Sudan’s Ministry of Religious Affairs and Endowments have said the process of issuing licenses for new church construction has begun, but Christian leaders call it political propaganda.

Hani Faiz Butros of the Coptic Church said the government has not responded to his church’s request for permission to construct a new building, according to the BBC.

“For 11 months now, we have been seeking permission to construct one church, but it has not been approved,” he told London-based BBC Arabic radio.

Other churches in Sudan are trying without success to obtain permission to construct church buildings, he added.

Christian leaders have also been frustrated in their demand that properties confiscated during the regime of ousted President Omar al-Bashir be returned. Rafaat Sameer Masaad, head of the Evangelical Synod in Sudan and a leader in the Sudan Presbyterian Evangelical Church (SPEC), said confiscated assets include the SPEC’s Evangelical School in Khartoum Bahri (North) and others in Omdurman, across the Nile River from Khartoum, according to BBC Arabic.

Sameer Masaad, head of the Evangelical Synod in Sudan, said confiscated assets include the Evangelical School in Khartoum Bahri (North) and others in Omdurman, across the Nile River from Khartoum, according to BBC Arabic.

Church leaders have sought their return through requests to the Ministry of Religious Affairs.

“Nothing has happened up to this point,” Sameer Masaad told BBC Arabic.

In July the transitional government that took effect in September 2019 decriminalized apostasy, which had been punishable by death, and repealed Islamic-based public flogging as a criminal punishment and Islamic prohibitions against drinking alcohol. Although Sudan has taken some steps to reform laws that violate religious rights, most current statutes are still based on Islamic law, Christian leaders say.

The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), which visited officials in Sudan in February 2020, determined that “the transitional government has ended the former regime’s most egregious forms of religious repression and reaffirmed its commitment to substantive change,” according to its latest report….

Sudan had been designated a CPC by the U.S. State Department since 1999.

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