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Sudan

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Numerous church buildings in Sudan have been demolished by the authorities

“They told me I must co-operate with them in giving them the names of Muslims who have changed their religion, and they asked me about the whereabouts of my friend, a guy who was a Muslim and became a Christian.” A Christian man who fled Sudan in 2013 described how the authorities there are trying to track down Christian converts from Islam. Officials threatened to kill him for refusing to divulge names.

The persecution of apostates, who are legally punishable by death in Sudan, is only one part of a targeted and ruthless campaign being waged by the Islamist government against the country’s Christian minority. Sudanese Christians have been arrested, interrogated and detained without charge; churches are being demolished and Christian institutions closed; and Christian literature has been seized. A media drive against alleged “Christianisation” led to the deportation of numerous foreign Christian workers. The government has said that it will not grant any more licences for new church buildings.

President Omar al-Bashir has made clear his intention to make Sudan a fully Islamic state, and since the secession of the mainly Christian South Sudan in 2011, the process of Islamisation has accelerated. Although a strict version of sharia is already in force, the new constitution is expected further to limit religious freedom.

Hundreds of thousands of Christians from South Sudan, many of whom were driven from their homes by decades of civil war (1983-2005), are effectively being forced out of the country by government intimidation and harassment. But many lack the money or resources to move their families and possessions to South Sudan. Hostility towards any remaining Christian presence in Sudan is growing, and some observers believe that the government’s goal may be to eradicate Christianity from the country altogether.

Government forces have also been targeting the Nuba Mountains near the border with South Sudan, which has one of the largest Christian populations in the country. The purpose of their brutal air and ground campaign appears to be to “cleanse” the region of its non-Arabs and non-Muslims. Thousands have fled their homes to escape the violence and are now stuck in crowded refugee camps in the South.

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christian, persecution, charity, church, persecuted, sookhdeo, Islam

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    • The case of an Egyptian Christian man arrested following complaints by Muslim neighbours that he had been using his home as a church without a permit highlights the need of the Christian community for more places of worship. The 55-year-old man from Minya in Upper Egypt, where Christians are particularly vulnerable to persecution, was arrested once before, in 2011, for the same offence. Every church building in Egypt requires a permit, but these are notoriously difficult to obtain. Pray that the authorities will show leniency to the Christian man and that a provision in the new constitution addressing the issue of church buildings will be enacted. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed 14 hours ago

    • Kidnapping for ransom has been a persistent problem for the Christian community in Egypt amid the political upheaval and instability following the “Arab Spring” revolution of 2011. On 14 June, Wadie Ramses, a well-known surgeon, was seized in El-Arish. The assailants opened fire on his vehicle and took him away wounded. They later demanded a ransom of ten million Egyptian Pounds (£800,000; US$1.4 million) for his release. Two days later, Christian merchant Gemal Shenouda was captured near his home in the same city. It is thought that Islamic militants with links to al-Qaeda, who have been behind escalating violence in the Sinai region, are responsible for the kidnappings. Pray for the safe return of our two Christian brothers and that they and their families will know the Lord’s peace. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Mon, Sep 2014 00:00

    • On 18 June, Bishoy Armia Boulous (31) was sentenced to five years in prison and given a fi ne of 500 Egyptian Pounds (US£70; £40) for “disturbing the peace by broadcasting false information” in connection with reports he produced relating to anti-Christian violence in Minya for a Christian TV channel. His lawyer believes that Bishoy has been targeted because of his conversion from Islam. The Christian gained notoriety in Egypt in 2007 as the first person to try to change his religion on his ID card, a case that is still unresolved owing to the political tumult in the country over the last three years. Pray that the Lord will be Bishoy’s strength and shield (Psalm 28:7), and that he will soon be released. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Sun, Sep 2014 00:00

    • “Saudi Arabia remains unique in the extent to which it restricts the public expression of any religion other than Islam.” In its annual report for 2014, the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom highlighted the extraordinary restrictions faced by Christians and other non-Muslims in one of the most rigid and hardline Islamic states in the world. No churches exist in Saudi Arabia because of an Islamic tradition that Muhammad said there should be only one religion in the Arabian peninsula. Pray for peace and perseverance for the small number of Saudi converts and the many expatriate Christians practising their faith in this repressive context, and ask that the authorities will yield to international pressure to introduce greater religious freedom. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Sat, Sep 2014 00:00

    • On 23 June, Vahid Hakkani, a Christian convert in prison in Iran, resumed a hunger strike in protest against the refusal of a court to grant him and two other Christians conditional release. Vahid had broken his previous strike in May after another of his fellow-detainees was set free. The prison authorities have reportedly confiscated his personal belongings from his cell and are denying him the right to make phone calls; they have also separated the Christian prisoners from one another. Even before his first hunger strike, Vahid had been suffering from a digestive problem and internal bleeding. Pray that his health may not fail altogether and that his action will secure justice and freedom for him and his friends (Psalm 69:33). Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Fri, Sep 2014 00:00

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