Without Warning, Sudan Demolishes Church

Monday, February 24, 2014

By Joseph DeCaro, Worthy News Correspondent

KHARTOUM, SUDAN (Worthy News)-- Without any prior warning, Sudanese authorities suddenly demolished a church in Omdurman Monday in what some Christians believe is a campaign by President Omar al-Bashir to rid his Islamist country of Christianity, according to Morning Star News.

Bulldozers escorted by local police leveled the Sudanese Church of Christ that was located across the river from Khartoum. Muslim officials gave no reason for the action save that the 300-member church was not wanted there.

One year after the secession of South Sudan in 2011, Sudan began bulldozing churches under the pretext that they were the property of South Sudan. This harassment happened after Bashir swore to adopt a stricter version of Islamic sharia.

South Sudan's secession also served as an excuse to deport Christians based on their ethnicity. In a report last April, Christian Solidarity Worldwide documented an increase in arrests, detentions and deportations of Christians in Sudan since December 2012. It also revealed a systematic targeting of ethnic groups, strongly suggesting that Bashir was implementing an official policy of "Islamization and Arabization".

Due to its human rights violations, Sudan has been designated as a "Country of Particular Concern" by the U.S. State Department since 1999; last April, the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom recommended that Sudan retain that designation.

"With the independence of South Sudan, senior Sudanese government officials have called for a more comprehensive and rigid application of Sharia law in Sudan, where southerners who are Christian have been subject to a range of religious freedom violations. In particular, there have been credible reports of the destruction of churches, refusal to permit construction of new churches and other forms of intimidation and harassment."

South Sudanese who lost their citizenship while still in Sudan were ordered to leave by March 1, 2012, but thousands have been stranded in Sudan lack of funds, transportation availability and ongoing tribal conflicts in South Sudan.