A pastor attacked in Sudan, a former sentenced to a month in prison

JUBA, south sudanApril 26, 2022 (morning star news) – A pastor in Sudan who was attacked during worship this month was sentenced to a month in prison along with another church leader on Monday (April 25) under a law prohibiting disturbing the peace, reports indicated sources.

Judge Awad Ibrahim Kury, a Muslim, found pastor Stephanou Adil Kujo and elder Ibrahim Kodi guilty of disturbing the peace under Article 69 of Sudan’s 1991 penal code and sentenced them to one month’s imprisonment. prison from April 25, said the Christians’ lawyer, Shanabo Awad. .

During worship at the Sudanese Church of Christ (SCOC) in Al Hag Abdalla, about 85 miles southeast of Khartoum in Madani, Al Jazirah state, three Muslim extremists interrupted worship on April 10 and attacked three Christians. The attackers were led by a man known as Banaga who punched Pastor Kujo, tore his shirt and assaulted two women from the congregation, Awad said. The other two assailants tore up Bibles and broke chairs.

“This decision is not fair and my clients are innocent,” Awad told Morning Star News.

The court has apparently not yet issued a verdict for Banaga.

The church of imprisoned Christian leaders has long been harassed by Muslim extremists. Church leaders were arrested and questioned in February after Muslim extremists raised concerns about the presence of their worship building locked February 21. Dalman Hassan, a SCOC evangelist arrested on February 27 and released with the church’s pastor later that day, said Muslims were accusing church members of hostility to Islam by holding rallies on Friday, the Muslim day of prayer at the mosque.

After two years of religious freedom progress in Sudan following the end of the Islamist dictatorship under former President Omar al-Bashir in 2019, the specter of state-sponsored persecution has returned with a military coup on October 25, 2021.

After Bashir was ousted from 30 years of power in April 2019, the transitional civil-military government managed to undo some Sharia (Islamic law). He banned the labeling of any religious group as “infidels” and thus repealed apostasy laws that made abandoning Islam punishable by death.

With the October 25 coup, Christians in Sudan fear the return of the most repressive and harsh aspects of Islamic law. Abdalla Hamdok, who had led a transitional government as prime minister from September 2019, was held under house arrest for nearly a month before being released and reinstated under a power-sharing deal. tenuous power in November.

Hamdock had faced rooting out longstanding corruption and an Islamist ‘deep state’ from Bashir’s regime – the same deep state that is believed to have rooted out the transitional government in the coup of October 25.

Persecution of Christians by non-state actors continued before and after the coup. In Open Doors’ 2022 global watchlist of countries where it is hardest to be a Christian, Sudan remained at 13th, where it ranked the previous year, as attacks by actors non-state laws were continuing and that religious freedom reforms at the national level were not enacted locally.

Sudan had dropped out of the top 10 for the first time in six years when it first ranked 13th on the 2021 Global Watch List. The US State Department’s International Religious Freedom Report says that conditions have improved somewhat with the decriminalization of apostasy and a halt to the demolition of churches, but that conservative Islam still dominates society; Christians face discrimination, including problems obtaining licenses for the construction of religious buildings.

In 2019, the US State Department removed Sudan from the list of countries of particular concern (CPC) that commit or condone “systematic, continuing, and gross violations of religious freedom” and upgraded it to a list monitoring. The Department of State removed Sudan from the Special Watch List in December 2020. Sudan had previously been designated as a CPC from 1999 to 2018.

Sudan’s Christian population is estimated at 2 million, or 4.5% of the total population of over 43 million.

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Article originally published by Morning Star News. Used with permission.

Photo credit: ©Getty Images/Peter Hermes Furian

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