The dogged persecution and harassment of Christians in Sudan persists, as 12 men were arrested for sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ to Muslims.
For years, the government of the mostly-Muslim Northeastern African nation has been harassing and oppressing Christians. We’ve told you how it has been cracking down on churches, arresting, and imprisoning Christians and even demolishing church buildings.
This most recent arrest of 12 Christian men is yet another violation of religious liberty in Sudan.
International Christian Concern reported that the 12 men from Darfur were handcuffed and arrested by officers from the Sudan National Intelligence and Security Services due to their interaction with Muslims in the predominantly Islamic region.
"The arrests were done at Nyala market while the young men were interacting with Islam adherents, building rapport for witnessing, when Sudan's security authorities surrounded them and led them to the police station, handcuffed," said ICC's source, the Rev. Kuwa Shamal.
"Some of the arrested men are disciples that I baptized in 2015 when they left Islam and converted to Christianity. The detainees have been doing a recommendable work of sharing the Good News in Darfur, and we pray for their immediate and unconditional release," Kuwa added.
The Sudanese government seems bent on running Christianity out of its country. Christians not only continue to find their rights being stripped away, but the government actively prohibits them from sharing their religious beliefs with others and persecutes those who convert from Islam to Christianity.
As stated in a special report on Sudan released in 2015 by the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom:
Conversion from Islam is a crime punishable by death. Suspected converts to Christianity face societal pressures, and government security personnel intimidate and sometimes torture those suspected of conversion. Since 2011, more than 170 persons have been arrested and charged with apostasy; almost all recanted their faith in exchange for having the charges dropped and being released from prison.
The number of arrests and mistreatments continue to grow. Christians in the Sudan are facing a dire situation.
The ACLJ has been directly involved in defending the religious freedom and lives of Christians in Sudan. We helped successfully fight for the freedom of two Christian pastors – Rev. Hassan Abduraheem and Rev. Kuwa Shamal (quoted above) – who were arrested and faced false charges brought against them by Islamic security forces in Sudan because of their Christian faith.
In December 2015, Sudan’s National Intelligence Security Service (NISS) arrested the pastors on national security charges associated with helping an injured man. The Sudanese government, however, claimed that anyone who provided humanitarian aid to that individual had committed a national security crime.
Pastor Kuwa was conditionally released several weeks later; but throughout his conditional release, he was often required to report to the NISS offices at 8 a.m. and held until midnight.
But Pastor Hassan was sentenced to more than a decade in prison with very little hope.
We aggressively advocated across the globe on behalf of both of these innocent Christian men, sending legal letters to Sudan’s national leaders, urging them to meet their international legal obligations to protect religious freedom.
Through the tireless legal efforts of the ACLJ and others, and the prayers and support of ACLJ members, both of these Christian pastors are now free.
But this latest injustice is further proof that we still have much work to do to defend Sudanese Christians. Religious persecution continues to escalate in Sudan, with churches being demolished and dozens more on government lists to be destroyed.
We must continue our advocacy for the persecuted Christians in Sudan and around the world. We will continue to monitor the situation with our contacts on the ground in Sudan and are prepared to take action and urge the international community to intervene.
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