What does persecution look like in Sudan? What is life like for Christians?
Although Sudan has taken significant steps towards religious freedom in the past year, Christians from a Muslim background still face extreme persecution from their families and communities. These believers no longer face the death penalty for leaving Islam, but may be attacked, ostracized or otherwise discriminated against if their faith is discovered. Church buildings are often attacked or even demolished.
Many still keep their faith secret, for the safety of them and their family. Some converts even choose not to raise their children as Christians, wary of retribution from community leaders. This fear of exposure even means some Christians from a Muslim background have Islamic funerals in Muslim cemeteries.
Meet a Sudanese Pastor
“The suffering of the brothers and sister here, and especially Christians from a Muslim background, is very tough. We need you to remember them and consider their suffering. May this be a great time that we can express our love practically to them.”
What has changed in Sudan?
Since President Omar al-Bashir was ousted in April 2019, there has been uncertainty about the leadership of Sudan and how it would impact Christians. Thankfully, and in an amazing answer to prayer, there do seem to be significant steps towards freedom of religion. Islamic law will end after 30 years, and Christians from a Muslim background no longer face the death penalty. While persecution continues in Sudan, and attitudes are not eradicated overnight, this is very promising and the reason that Sudan has fallen six places on the World Watch List this year.
Who is most vulnerable to persecution?
In areas like the Nuba Mountains, there is an ongoing conflict and tension between government forces and rebel groups. Since 2011, thousands of Christians have been killed in these attacks, which many believe to be effectively ethnic cleansing of minority ethnic groups, particularly Christians. Elsewhere in the country, Christians from a Muslim background are most vulnerable.
What does Open Doors do to help Christians in Sudan?
Open Doors partners with the local church in Sudan to provide theological and discipleship training, persecution survival training, trauma care, and community development and income-generating projects.
Population statistic: Johnson T M and Zurlo G A, eds., World Christian Database (Leiden/Boston: Brill, accessed February 2020).
Pray for Sudan
Praise God for the steps towards religious freedom in Sudan, answering the prayers of Sudanese believers and many others over a long period of time. Ask God that those in power would continue to make strides in this direction, and it would have real difference in everyday lives.
Pray for protection for Sudanese Christians from a Muslim background, and ask that they would be able to withstand opposition from their families and communities.
Pray that Christian women in Sudan would be protected from sexual violence and that they would be able to show the love of Jesus to their communities.
Stories from Sudan
July 20, 2021
Sudan leader beaten, threatened at gunpoint: ‘Stop speaking for Christians’
January 18, 2021
13 Christians murdered for following Jesus—every day
January 14, 2021
Betrayed, watched and martyred: 5 major trends in persecution against Christians