Sudan Destroys Existing Churches, Refuses to Set Up New Ones

Church in Sudan

The Council of Churches in Sudan, which has a minority Christian population, recently criticized the government for banning the construction of new churches in the country. In July, a minister informed the people of Sudan that there are already too many churches for Christians in the country. In a statement, Shalil Abdullah, minister of Guidance and Endowments, said that the existing churches are sufficient for the Christians that live in Sudan.

Reverend Kori El Ramli, the secretary general of the council, told the media that the announcement came after town planners demolished a church near Khartoum in July. While Muslims form the majority in Sudan, the government guarantees religious freedom to people of other faiths. Yet, many Christians in the country have moved to the South after it seceded from the rest of the country in July 2011. Ramli said that the decision has taken the council by surprise because church leaders have always shared a healthy relationship with the government.

“We are growing, we need more churches,” he said.

El Ramli also said that the town planners have been forcibly moving Christians out of a shanty area in Omdurman and a church in the city has been bulldozed as well. According to the new ruling, residents in the area would have no access to a church.

“We want the government to give us new plots so we can build a new church. We are citizens and the constitution says there is freedom of religion and worship so we are using this to get our rights,” he reiterated.

Reportedly, Christians have been dealt with very strictly by the Sudanese administration recently. Intelligence agents stopped a workshop that was being organized by the Council of Churches at the University of Sudan after they accused the organizers of evangelizing the country’s population. Earlier in the year, Meriam Ibrahim’s sentencing on grounds of apostasy, too, received global condemnation.

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