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Sudan: Police Arrest Church Leaders from Bible Study

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 Greek Orthodox Christians there.

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

“Police in Sudan Arrest Church Leaders from Bible Study,” Morning Star News, June 20, 2022:

JUBA, South Sudan (Morning Star News) – Police in Sudan walked into a church Bible class on Tuesday (June 14) and arrested two Christian leaders for “violating public order,” their attorney said.

Officers in Omdurman, across the Nile River from Khartoum, took Pastor Kabashi Idris of the African Inland Church and evangelist Yacoub Ishakh of the Independent Baptist Church into custody in the presence of those at the Bible study at the Baptist church in the Hai Al Thawra West area of the city, said attorney Shinbago Awad.

Charged with violating public order under Article 77 of Sudan’s penal code, they were released on bail the same day, he said.

“They were accused by a radical Muslim neighbor who filed a case against them at the police station in the area, prompting the police to arrest the two church leaders,” Awad said. “The radical Muslim told police his children were singing the songs of the Christians and feared they might convert to Christianity.”

Last month the radical Muslim whose house is near the church building filed a complaint of disturbing the peace, ostensibly because the church was worshiping in song, Awad said. Police on May 19 summoned and interrogated the two church leaders and released them.

A guilty verdict could result in a prison sentence of up to three months, a fine or both, and the court could issue an order to cease worship services, Awad said….

Sudan had dropped out of the top 10 for the first time in six years when it first ranked No. 13 in the 2021 World Watch List. The U.S. State Department’s International Religious Freedom Report states that conditions have improved somewhat with the decriminalization of apostasy and a halt to demolition of churches, but that conservative Islam still dominates society; Christians face discrimination, including problems in obtaining licenses for constructing church buildings.

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….

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