by Karen Faulkner, Worthy News Correspondent
(Worthy News) - Exemplifying the increasingly precarious status of Christians in Sudan, a Sudanese court has approved the destruction of buildings owned by the Sudan Presbyterian Evangelical Church (SPEC) in Omdurman, Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) reports.
Christians had enjoyed comparative freedom under the transitional government which followed the ousting of dictator Omar al Bashir in 2019, but their situation has worsened again since the subsequent military coup of October 2021.
In a statement to CSW, a church leader who asked not to be named for security reasons said the SPEC had no idea authorities planned to demolish three homes, three medical clinics, two laboratories, a pharmacy, and a shop located in a block of buildings belonging to the denomination. No legal notice of intent was given, and tenants, owners, and the legitimate administrative committee of SPEC only learned of the demolition intentions when police arrived at the site on May 25, 2022.
By law, the Sudanese government is entitled to oversee religious affairs and to exert control over a church’s affairs. However, the lack of notification and the scale of the planned destruction may represent the type of abuse of power that was prevalent in the al Bashir era: the National Congress Party (NCP), the party of al Bashir, has risen in power and influence in Sudan.
“If this demolition is allowed it will be a disaster for the families and businesses who, without notice, could lose everything,” the church leader told CSW. “We had no notice of this decision, and have had to gather lawyers and attend the court to try and prevent this unlawful action in the knowledge that some may be arrested for standing up for their rights and we will once again be forced to defend ourselves through the criminal courts.”
Sudan ranks 13th on the US Open Doors World Watch List 2022 of the top 50 countries where Christians are persecuted.