SANTA ANA, Calif. – As pressure between Sudan and South Sudan builds, it seems that the church in Khartoum may expect renewed scrutiny and accompanying pressure.
The Sudan Tribune reported on Tuesday that the chairman of the Islamic Centre for Preaching and Comparative Studies, Ammar Saleh, slammed his government for not taking decisive action against missionaries operating “boldly” in the country.
According to Saleh, cases of apostasy and atheism are on the rise in Sudan while authorities are negligent in addressing the issue. According to the independent media agency, Saleh appealed to the official bodies and the community to take a stand against “Christianization” and find a long-term solution to the problem. He says his government’s efforts in this regard are timid compared to missionaries’ efforts.
Saleh claims the number of converts from Islam in Khartoum has reached 109 apostates. He added that these figures are growing in a “continuous” and “scary” fashion, especially with the presence of atheists and homosexuals. He said that anyone who denies the existence of proselytizing or the increase in people converting to the Shiite faith are either “living on Mars” or are in denial.
Saleh also accused the Orthodox Church of building a church in Ombadda without a permit in a “de facto” manner.
The former head of Ombadda People’s Committee, who is also a member of the ruling National Congress Party (NCP), Adam Mudawi, claimed that they have information indicating that there is an underground storage facility in the three-story church that contains a large cache of weapons.
Mudawi also said there is a satellite dish inside the church and its function remains unexplained.
He accused the church of exploiting poor citizens by providing financial support and assistance to aid its proselytizing activities.
Open Doors has been unable to get comment from the Orthodox Church.
Given the current tense atmosphere in Khartoum, these accusations of Christianization in general and against the Orthodox Church in particular may have serious consequences for Christians in Sudan.
Since the Sudan Revolutionary Front’s successful take of Um Rawaba in North Kordofan, the government of Sudan has embarked on the mobilization of people and have called for support to jihad (holy war).
Sudanese Christians have over the past few months seen a drastic increase in pressure, with the closing down of churches and expulsion of foreign workers.
Sudan is ranked No. 12 on the Open Doors 2013 World Watch List of the worst persecutors of Christians. The previous year Sudan was No. 16.
For almost 60 years Open Doors has worked in the world's most oppressive and restrictive countries, strengthening Christians to stand strong in the face of persecution and equipping them to shine Christ's light in these places. Open Doors empowers persecuted Christians by supplying Bibles and Christian literature, training Christian leaders, facilitating social/economic projects and uniting believers in the West in prayer for Christians, who are the most persecuted religious group in the world and are oppressed in at least 60 countries. To partner with Open Doors USA, call toll free at 888-5-BIBLE-5 (888-524-2535) or go to our website at www.OpenDoorsUSA.org.
Publication date: May 17, 2013