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Sudan: Islamist radicals burn down three churches, including an Orthodox church, then burn down the temporary structures each congregation built

Persecution of Christians in Sudan: Sudan is a majority-Muslim country, although 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. As this incident indicates, Christians of every faith tradition are vulnerable to government harassment as well as vigilante violence. In this case, Christians who are converts from Islam were beaten and tortured. May Almighty God protect the Christians of Sudan, alleviate their suffering, and allow their community to grow.

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

“Church Buildings Burned Down in Southeastern Sudan,” Morning Star News, January 23, 2020:

JUBA, South Sudan (Morning Star News) – Temporary worship structures in southeastern Sudan were set ablaze on Jan. 16, three weeks after the buildings they had replaced were burned down, sources said.

In southeastern Sudan’s Blue Nile state, Islamists in Bout, Tadamon District were suspected of burning down the structures erected after arsonists on Dec. 28 razed the worship buildings of the Sudan Interior Church, Roman Catholic Church and Orthodox Church, according to local news reports and a source in South Sudan close to the border area.

“This incident is true, the three churches were set on fire twice in less than a month,” the pastor in Maban, whose name is withheld for security reasons, told Morning Star News.

Some Bout area Muslims were upset about the presence of the churches there, and they are suspected in the fires, he said.

A rights organization reportedly criticized police for taking no action after area Christians requested an investigation.

Sudanese Minister of Religious Affairs Nasr al-Din Mufreh issued a statement saying police had arrested and questioned a suspect who was released due to lack of evidence, according to one report. Asserting that only one church building was burned, Mufreh said Sudan was committed to religious freedom and protecting houses of worship from any threats.

Police will continue investigating, he said in the statement, issued while he was on an official visit to Washington, D.C.

“If it is proven that it occurred as a result of a criminal offense, the perpetrators will be identified, pursued and brought to justice,” he reportedly said.

In light of advances in religious freedom since former President Omar al-Bashir was ousted in April, the U.S. State Department announced on Dec. 20 that Sudan had been removed from the list of Countries of Particular Concern (CPC) that engage or tolerate “systematic, ongoing and egregious violations of religious freedom” and was upgraded to a watch list.

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

Sudan ranked 7th on Christian support organization Open Doors’ 2020 World Watch List of the countries where it is most difficult to be a Christian.

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