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Sudan to become official “Muslim state” in ominous move for Christians

Country/Region: Sudan, Middle East and North Africa

Sudan’s president has confirmed plans to adopt an entirely Islamic constitution and strengthen sharia law, raising the threat level for Christians and other non-Muslims in the country.

Omar_Hassan_Ahmad_al-Bashir_4X3.jpg
President of Sudan,
Omar Hassan Ahmad al-Bashir

President Omar Hassan al-Bashir said last Wednesday (12 October) that the Republic of Sudan will become a “Muslim state”.

He said:

Ninety eight per cent of the people are Muslims and the new constitution will reflect this. The official religion will be Islam and Islamic law the main source [of the constitution].

His statement reinforces a previous announcement, made last December, that Sudan would adopt an Islamic constitution if the South seceded, which it did on 9 July. On that occasion, President Bashir said:

If south Sudan secedes, we will change the constitution and at that time there will be no time to speak of diversity of culture and ethnicity... Sharia and Islam will be the main source for the constitution, Islam the official religion and Arabic the official language.

Sudan’s current constitution theoretically grants freedom of religion, recognising that the state is “multi-religious”, though in practice non-Muslims face severe discrimination and persecution.

Christians under threat

President Bashir’s latest announcement raises the threat level for the more than one million largely Christian southerners, who still live in Sudan, as well as for non-Muslim and non-Arab northerners.  

It comes amid reports of increasing threats and pressure on churches in Sudan, as well as targeted assaults on Christians, pastors and churches in the border region of South Kordofan, which has been under attack by the Sudanese military.

Since the secession of South Sudan, some Christian pastors in Sudan have been warned not to conduct church services, on pain of death, while some churches are closing their schools and considering emigration to the South.

Southerners still living in Sudan are now treated legally as foreigners; they have been given until the spring to leave or obtain the right to stay, which is a complicated process. They have lost government jobs and now need work and residency permits.

The future for non-Muslims and non-Arabs in Sudan is looking increasingly untenable, threatening the very existence of the Church there.

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christian, persecution, charity, church, persecuted, sookhdeo, Islam

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Daily prayer

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  • Pray for Barnabas Fund partners in South Sudan who have been supporting Christians forced from their homes by violence. Conflict between supporters of President Salva Kiir and his sacked deputy Riek Machar in December and January displaced around 860,000 people. Churches were burned down and a number of pastors killed, while many people lost their belongings and were left destitute. Give thanks that churches in and around the capital, Juba, were able to provide food and other essentials to many families with help from Barnabas. Pray that they may continue to be salt and light in their country at this unstable time (Matthew 5:13-16), and that it will soon be safe for displaced Christians to return home. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed 12 hours ago

  • Pray for the residents of a mainly Christian village in Borno state, Northern Nigeria, in the aftermath of a horrific attack by Boko Haram militants on 15 February. Ask for God’s comfort for the relatives and friends of the 106 people in Izghe who were gunned down and slaughtered in their houses or in the open as they tried to flee. Pray for strength for the numerous residents who were wounded or whose properties were looted and torched. Pray too for the many Christians who fled into the neighbouring state after the attack, and ask that the Christian community in the North of Nigeria will be preserved in the face of Islamist violence. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Tue, Apr 2014 00:00

  • Violent attacks by militants from the Islamist group Boko Haram continue unabated in Northern Nigeria. On one horrendous day of violence on 26 January, at least 138 people were killed. A church in Wada Chakawa village in Adamawa state was targeted; the attackers locked the congregation inside and then detonated bombs, shooting and cutting the throats of people who tried to escape. They then went on a four-hour rampage in the village. Later the same day, Kawuri village in neighbouring Borno state was burned to the ground. Boko Haram is fighting to establish an Islamic state, and Christians are among its main targets. Pray that the Nigerian authorities will succeed in containing its insurgency. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Mon, Apr 2014 00:00

  • Almighty God, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, we give You thanks on this Easter Day for the living hope that You have given us and all Your people through the resurrection of Jesus from the dead (1 Peter 1:3). We pray that the prospect of an enduring inheritance and future salvation will encourage our persecuted brothers and sisters to persevere in their faith, whatever may happen to them. We pray that we too may be sustained by this hope in the sufferings that we experience for the sake of Christ. We ask that the joy and resurrection power of the Lord will give strength and peace to persecuted believers today and every day. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Sun, Apr 2014 00:00

  • Give thanks for the Christ-like responses of Christian leaders in CAR to the crisis that threatens them and their churches. They have distanced themselves from the anti-balaka militias, saying that these should not be labelled as Christian and that they hold no mandate from the churches. The leaders have also condemned the violence in the country, whatever its origin, and have called on Christians to pursue forgiveness, reconciliation and healing. Churches are hiding, defending and caring for thousands of Muslims endangered by the anti-balaka, and one of CAR’s most senior church leaders has invited the president of the country’s Islamic community to move into his church compound. Pray that this powerful witness to the grace and love of Christ will help to bring peace to the shattered country. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Sat, Apr 2014 00:00

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