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Sudan: Church leader arrested and jailed on charges of ‘witchcraft’ for leading a prayer meeting

Those who persecute Christians in Sudan believed that Christianity was an alien faith in that country. In reality, during the time of the Emperor Justinian (AD 527-565), Nubia (modern-day Sudan) was a center of Christianity. Today, most of the small minority of Sudanese who are Christians are Roman Catholic or Protestant, and there is also still a small number of courageous Greek Orthodox Christians there.

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

“Pastor Jailed in Sudan for Prayer Meeting to Heal Mother,” Morning Star News, November 27, 2022:

JUBA, South Sudan (Morning Star News) – Authorities in Sudan on Nov. 21 arrested and jailed a church leader on charges of “witchcraft” for leading a prayer meeting for his ailing mother, sources said.

Pastor Abdalla Haron Sulieman was leading a prayer meeting for his mother, who suffered from an infection in her legs that kept her from walking, when authorities in El Hasahisa town, Al Jazirah state walked into the Sudan Presbyterian Evangelical Church church site, area sources said.

His mother, 60-year-old Aisha Adam, was healed after he prayed for her, and others from the predominantly Muslim area began crowding in for healing. The meeting angered Muslim extremists who persuaded police to arrest the pastor on charges of claiming to be a witchdoctor (Case No. 6737/2022 under the Sudan Criminal Code of 1991.)

“This is a serious violation against Christians in Sudan,” said evangelist Francis Ismail, who visited the pastor on Thursday (Nov. 24).

Sudanese Christians took to social media, some demanding the pastor’s immediate release, and others terming the jailing more evidence of ongoing and systematic persecution of Christians in Sudan.

“We need to continue to pray for our brother because he is jail for the sake of the gospel,” said one Sudanese Christian on his Facebook page.

Following two years of advances in religious freedom in Sudan after the end of the Islamist dictatorship under Omar al-Bashir in 2019, the specter of state-sponsored persecution returned with the military coup of Oct. 25, 2021….

The U.S. State Department in 2019 removed Sudan from the list of Countries of Particular Concern (CPC) that engage in or tolerate “systematic, ongoing and egregious violations of religious freedom” and upgraded it to a watch list. The State Department removed Sudan from the Special Watch List in December 2020. Sudan had previously been designated as a CPC from 1999 to 2018.

The Christian population of Sudan is estimated at 2 million, or 4.5 percent of the total population of more than 43 million.

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