Reported attack on youth leader highlights continued vulnerability of Christians in Sudan

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

by Karen Faulkner, Worthy News Correspondent

(Worthy News) - Earlier this month a Christian youth leader in Sudan was reportedly detained and beaten by suspected national security forces because he spoke out against the January 3 burning of a church building, Morning Star News reports. The case highlights the continued vulnerability of Christians at a time of national transition from the brutal regime of Islamic dictator Omar al-Bashir (who was ousted in 2019) toward a government that seeks to root out long-term corruption and end religious intolerance in the country.

On the morning of February 19, Osama Saeed Kodi, chairman of the Christian Youth Union of Al Jazirah state, is understood to have been accosted by masked men who handcuffed, beat him, and detained him. Sources told Morning Star News that the men threatened Kodi, saying: “We will kill you if you continue with Christian activities in Tambul,” (a rural area of Al Jazirah state southeast of Khartoum).

Kodi is understood to have been targeted because he protested last month’s burning of a Tambul worship hall that was being used by several congregations, ICC said. Telling local Christian leaders about his ordeal, Kodi is reported to have said: “I am still in pain as a result of [the] beating. I thank all those who stood with me during the detention. I shall continue to defend the right of the church despite all these obstacles.”

Church burnings in Sudan have continued even as the transitional government led by Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok works to usher in a new era of tolerance and rid the country of deeply ingrained corruption which characterized Bashir’s dictatorial rule.

Although Sudan encouragingly passed the recent Fundamental Rights and Freedoms Act prohibiting the labeling of any group as “infidels,” PM Hamdok faces an enormous task, and there remain serious concerns for the general safety of Christians in the country.

Sudan’s recent Fundamental Rights and Freedoms Act prohibits the labeling of any group as “infidels,” (takfir), the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) noted in a September 2020 report.