Christians in Sudan request prayer against an ongoing campaign by Sudanese authorities to demolish church buildings which led to the demolition of the Sudanese Church of Christ (SCOC) in Soba Al Aradi on Sunday 7th May.
During the demolition two church members were detained and interrogated by Sudan’s National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) because they had refused to open the church gates. These church members, Bulis Salah and Naji Abdalla, were later released.
Although the government claims that a week’s notice was given to the church before the demolition took place, none of the SCOC leaders had been notified about the demolition plan.
On 8th May the church leaders and a legal advisor formed a committee to address the lack of a place of worship, and to take legal action against the state for demolishing the church. The committee has decided that the congregation will meet weekly for prayer at the site of the demolished building.
After an initial letter was written by government authorities naming 25 churches due for demolition in June 2016, the SCOC in Soba El Aradi and a church in Jebel Awliya in Khartoum were added to the demolition list. The government claims the church buildings must be demolished as they have been constructed on land designated for other uses. At the same time, the authorities do not grant permission for new churches to be built, as they say that existing church premises are sufficient for the needs of the country’s Christian minority.
Despite legal and administrative appeals against the demolition orders, the decision of the Sudanese authorities has not been overturned and there has been no conclusive court judgement because of repeated delays.
In addition to the scheduled for demolition of these 27 churches, there are ongoing efforts to confiscate Sudan Presbyterian Evangelical Church compounds in Bahri (Khartoum North) and Omdurman. These efforts often involve the brief detention of church members, and on 3rd April led to the fatal stabbing of church elder Younan Abdullah.
Photo: scene after the demolition
MAY BE CIRCULATED TO GENERAL MAILING LISTS, OUTSIDE ORGANISATIONS, AND QUOTED FROM FREELY IN REPORTS CITING “MIDDLE EAST CONCERN” AS THE SOURCE OF THE INFORMATION.
The SCOC was the only remaining Christian place of worship in Soba al Aradi, following the demolition of other churches in 2011. Deeply saddened by the unjust attacks on churches carried out by the authorities, Sudanese Christians request prayer:
a. that the government decision to demolish the remaining 26 churches will be overturned, and that efforts to confiscate church properties will cease
b. for wisdom, patience and peace for church leaders and members as they face ongoing harassment, attacks and denial of their right to worship in their church buildings
c. for an end to the increasing pressure against Christians in Sudan, and that Christians will know the peace of the Lord
d. that those responsible for these acts of hostility and destruction will love mercy, act justly, learn about Jesus and choose to follow Him