Lieutenant-General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan
PROFILE OF PERSECUTION
Church Life 15.7/16.7
National Life 13.6/16.7
Community Life 14.3/16.7
Family Life 13.4/16.7
Private Life 13.4/16.7
What does persecution look like in Sudan?
Since the 2019 coup that ousted Omar al-Bashir, who ruled Sudan for 30 years, the situation for Sudanese Christians has somewhat improved in the sense that the government has changed its policy of considering Christians enemies and agents of the West. However, there are systematic issues that affect Christians. First, while government policy has changed, social attitudes about Christians have not, especially outside Khartoum. There, the culture and surrounding society are still majority-Muslim and suspicious of any other faith. Second, the government has not put real protections into place for Christians and other religious minorities. For example, even with the change in official status, confiscated churches and lands have yet to be returned to their Christian owners; and trying to build new churches is still extremely difficult. And finally, there are still high-level military leaders who have slowed reform.
Meet “Abdul,” a Christian in Sudan
“There are many churches who applied [to build] more than five years ago and some others two years ago, at the beginning of the current transitional government, hoping to be treated equal [to Muslims]. … The minister of religious affairs spoke on TV and at other events and said that Christians would be able to build new churches; however there is always contradiction between his words and real life.”
What has changed this year?
Persecution remains incredibly high in Sudan and hasn’t changed much in the last year. Churches were burned down and Christians reported being beaten or attacked during the World Watch List reporting period. Ongoing ethnic violence in the Darfur region also worries many observers who wonder if the transitional government can actually protect minorities. While the positive developments that occurred after al-Bashir’s ouster are worth celebrating, it remains to be seen how much change will actually take place in reality. Christians are still at significant risk from society at large, particularly if they have converted from Islam. Additionally, armed groups who were part of the former dictatorship continue to be active, posing a constant threat to Christians.
Who is most vulnerable to persecution?
Christians outside of the capital city of Khartoum remain most at risk. But all of Sudanese society is still largely opposed to public expressions of Christianity, and despite gains at the national level, reform can be hard to come by at the local level. Christians who convert from Islam face additional risks from family and community.
What does Open Doors do to help?
Through partnerships with the local church, Open Doors equips church leaders in Sudan for various aspects of ministry, supports community development and provides practical assistance to persecuted Christians.
Population statistic: Johnson T M and Zurlo G A, eds., World Christian Database (Leiden/Boston: Brill, accessed April 2021).
Pray for Sudan
After the fall of former dictator Hassan Omar al-Bashir in April 2019, the transitional government under the leadership of Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok introduced exciting changes to the legal framework governing life in Sudan. But as the political situation in Sudan continues to be volatile, pray for these changes to be implemented and respected in lower government levels and society in general.
Christians, especially those who converted from Islam, still face many challenges. They are treated like second-class citizens and are sidelined by family and society. In some areas, they are vulnerable to targeted violence. Pray that amid these challenges, they will continue growing in their knowledge of Christ and be able to courageously speak to others about salvation found in Christ alone.
Open Doors’ vision for Sudan is to see a resilient church that stands strong in the face of persecution and is economically empowered to support themselves. Pray for protection over our partners and much fruit from their work. Open Doors’ vision for Sudan is to see a resilient church that stands strong in the face of persecution and is economically empowered to support themselves. Pray for protection over our partners and much fruit from their work.
Stories from Sudan
October 26, 2021
BREAKING: Sudan Christian calls for urgent prayer as military seizes power
July 20, 2021
Sudan leader beaten, threatened at gunpoint: ‘Stop speaking for Christians’
January 18, 2021
13 Christians murdered for following Jesus—every day