Police persecute Christians in Sudan

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

By Joseph DeCaro, Worthy News Correspondent

KHARTOUM, SUDAN (Worthy News)-- Last week, sources told Compass News that Sudanese Police beat and arrested a church leader in Khartoum.

Evangelist James Kat of the Evangelical Church of Sudan was arrested Jan. 17; officers beat Kat as they took him to a North Division police station where he was released on bail later that day.

Kat's arrest came amid increasing harassment of Christians following last year's secession of South Sudan.

In a letter to the Sudanese Presbyterian Evangelical Church leaders, Sudan's Ministry of Guidance and Religious Endowments threatened to arrest pastors if they were caught evangelizing, or if they failed to provide it with their names and contact information.

"We have all legal rights to take them to court," wrote Hamid Yousif Adam, undersecretary of the Ministry of Guidance and Religious Endowment.

In a related incident, another church leader was arrested last week in a SPEC church property dispute.

Officers arrested Gabro Haile Selassie, who lived on church property that was transferred to a Muslim businessman in a disputed arrangement; Selassie had refused to be evicted without police providing him an official document authorizing their action.

Now free on bail, Selassie said he fears being arrested again; police are threatening both him and his family, so they are staying with friends.

Police already began demolishing the church compound fence, Selassie said.

"They will definitely demolish my house," he said. "I am in great terror; I’m afraid to sleep in the house, because they may come again and arrest me. This is a clear form of terrorism against Christians."

Many other Christians face persecution from Muslim communities and their government representatives, both of whom want to rid Sudan of Christianity. Many claim that Christianity is now treated as an alien religion following the departure of 350,000 Sudanese -- most of them Christians -- to South Sudan after the secession.

Under Sudan's Interim National Constitution, shar'ia is a source of legislation and the laws and policies of its government also favor Islam, according to the U.S. State Department's latest International Religious Freedom Report.