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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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  • 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 23 hours ago

  • On this Good Friday, give thanks to God for the death of Christ and for His gift of eternal life. Praise Him too for the example of those Christians who have persevered in their faith at the risk of their lives and who have made the ultimate sacrifice for the sake of Christ and the Gospel. Pray that their martyrdom will inspire their suffering brothers and sisters in Christ to endure whatever hardships befall them and will convince their persecutors of the truth and power of the Gospel. Pray too that their bereaved families and churches will not grieve without hope (1 Thessalonians 4:13). Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Fri, Apr 2014 00:00

  • Cry out to the Lord for Christians in the Central African Republic (CAR) who have been driven from their homes by the violence that has engulfed their country. Attacks by Islamist Séléka militants and retaliation from “anti-balaka” militias has generated a huge humanitarian crisis in which around two million people, many of them Christians, are in need of emergency assistance. Give thanks for the work of Barnabas partners who have been providing food rations to hundreds of displaced believers in the capital, Bangui, and distributing food, medicines, clothing and seeds to thousands in various regions. Pray that the aid will reach those who need it most, and that the Lord will comfort the relatives and friends of the thousands who have been killed in the fighting. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Thu, Apr 2014 00:00

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  • Pray for a church leader in Sri Lanka, S.S. Johnpillai, who was threatened at gunpoint by attackers who claimed to be Special Forces officers. The minister was in a hut next to his church building in Guadalupe, Trincomolee when, he said, the men “appeared out of nowhere”. The intruders put a gun to Johnpillai’s head and accused him of holding a Communion service in honour of the founder of the Tamil Tigers, the government’s opponents in the country’s long and bloody civil war. The government had that day made it a criminal offence to commemorate the group. The gunmen ignored Johnpillai’s protests that he had not dedicated Communion to the group’s founder, and they threatened to shoot him. Ask the Lord to support and strengthen Johnpillai as he recovers from this terrifying ordeal. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Tue, Apr 2014 00:00

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