Sudan Detains Church Arsonists

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

By Stefan J. Bos, Special Correspondent Worthy News

(Worthy News) - Sudan's police reportedly detained nine men suspected of repeatedly burning church properties amid ongoing Islamic pressure on minority Christians.

The suspects are among 14 radical Muslims torching worship structures of the Sudanese Church of Christ (SCOC) near Khartoum, the capital, said church attorney Shanbago Awad Mugadam.

SCOC properties in the Dar El-Salam area of Omdurman, across the Nile River from Khartoum, were burned five times since 2019, the lawyer explained.

Its temporary church structure was reportedly first destroyed on January 19, 2019, as well as January 4, January 19, January 28, and August 7 of 2020.

Worshipers were initially reluctant to file charges, according to Christians familiar with the situation. However, after the fifth time, they decided that "the persecution must end," Christians said.

As police refused to intervene, Christians hired an attorney who said he forced authorities to take action.


Rights group International Christian Concern called it "a good sign for growing freedom and democracy in the country that the court system forced this issue."

ICC said that "due process must be done and those who are guilty of these attacks must be held accountable." It added that "Threats and attacks must not be allowed against minority communities."

ICC urged its supporters to "Please pray that this case would be justly fulfilled and that attacks against Christians in Sudan would end as the country continues to regain freedoms."

Christians say that the transitional government of Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, an economist, faces ending corruption and an Islamist "deep state" rooted in decades of dictatorship.

Last year, Omar Hassan Ahmad al-Bashir was deposed, and military leaders initially formed a military council to rule the country. But further protests led them to accept a transitional government of civilians and military figures.

A predominantly civilian government will be democratically elected in three years. Christians say they hope to have a greater voice under the new administration and years of persecution.


After South Sudan's secession in 2011, Bashir wanted to adopt a stricter version of sharia (Islamic law) and recognize only Islamic culture and the Arabic language.

Church leaders said Sudanese authorities demolished or confiscated churches and limited Christian literature as most Christians left the country following South Sudan's secession.

Sudan ranked 7th on Christian support organization Open Doors' 2020 World Watch List of countries where it says it is most difficult to be a Christian.

However, the U.S. State Department announced December last year that Sudan had been removed from its list of Countries of Particular Concern (CPC).

The CPC designation is given to countries that engage in or tolerate "systematic, ongoing and egregious violations of religious freedom."