International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that a Muslim judge upheld the court-ordered eviction of two Christian families from their church-owned homes in Omdurman, Sudan. Pastors Yahiya Abdelrahim Nalu and Siddiqe Abdallah of the Sudan Presbyterian Evangelical Church (SPEC) filed an appeal against the eviction that was conducted on August 15, claiming that the property belonged to Hisham Al-Neel. This appeal was denied on December 3, 2017.
"The house that was marked for eviction was not ours. Our house number is 772 and the house that should have been vacated is 574. The judge went on with his ruling even after confirming from the housing authorities and the engineering surveyor that this was a mistaken raid. This is an outright breach of the law and it is done on purpose. The church is under siege and we are very disappointed," decried Pastor Yahiya.
Pastor Yahiya, his wife Manal, and their child Matthew, have been sleeping out in the open ever since. They are expecting their second child soon and winter is fast approaching. "We have been living outside in the streets with our wives and children after the forceful eviction four months ago. With the court ruling that didn't favor us, life will just become harder. This is an evil government that mistreats her people in the name of religion. We long for a nation that will give the minority groups protection and space," added Pastor Yahiya.
ICC spoke to pastor Siddiqe Abdallah, who has also been unable to find housing. "We are living under a tree in Khartoum city because a Muslim investor has taken over our house. Our hearts are broken and we can only ask our brothers to lift us in prayer. We are in great suffering and hopelessness," lamented Pastor Siddiqe Abdallah. He, his wife, and their two children are forced to live in the streets due to this injustice.
While speaking with ICC, Reverend Kuwa Shamal of the Sudanese Church of Christ (SCOC), who was arrested in December 2015 and released in January 2017, expressed his dismay after the court upheld the eviction of the two Christian families. He said, "This is a ploy to finish the church in Sudan. The government has been oppressing the church by not only giving church properties to private developers but also forming a Muslim committee to oversee all the churches in Sudan. We are very disappointed by the move to turnover ownership of the property to a Muslim investor. The property might be demolished anytime as we speak."
ICC's Regional Manager, Nathan Johnson, stated, "The government in Sudan has long desired to end Christianity within its borders. It has worked tirelessly since South Sudan gained its freedom in 2011 to make Christianity illegal. We pray for the faith of these two families that are suffering and for those who are sure to suffer in the coming years. Sudan's flagrant human rights abuses must come to an end, and its citizens must be protected."
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Publication date: December 21, 2017