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REUTERS El Tayeb Siddig
REUTERS El Tayeb Siddig
REUTERS El Tayeb Siddig
REUTERS El Tayeb Siddig
World News

How to pray for Christians in Sudan as coup leads to political uncertainty

by Reuters Journalist

Christian charities are warning Premier that believers in Sudan are in danger of being treated worse than they have been in recent years. 

Sudan's military seized power in a coup on Monday, while youths opposed to the takeover barricaded streets and gunfire was heard as demonstrators clashed with the security forces.

The military dissolved a transitional government that had been set up to guide the country to democracy. 

General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, head of the Sovereign Council under which the military had shared power with civilians, announced a state of emergency, saying the armed forces needed to protect safety and security.

Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok was detained and taken to an undisclosed location after refusing to issue a statement in support of the takeover. 

There are almost 2 million Christians in Sudan, from a population of 43.5 million people. It has previously seen a very harsh form of Sharia law, which in practise meant churches were destroyed and converting to Christianity was punishable by death. 

More recently, according to Open Doors, Christians from a Muslim background still face extreme persecution from their families and communities. They no longer face the death penalty for leaving Islam, but may be attacked, ostracised or discriminated against if their faith is discovered.

However, the coup could mean a return to the previous, more harsh, rule. 

Andrew Boyd from the Christian religious freedom charity Release International told Premier that the attempt to take power will likely be a backwards step for Christians:

"That's actually extremely bad news as far as the Christian minority in Sudan is concern because it looks like it could pave the way for a reversion to the kind of persecution that took place before.

"There's a culture of intolerance in that country, even with transitional government - which is partly civilian, partly military, which has pledged to lead towards democracy in 2023 - now that all looks in jeopardy today."

He said the voices of Christians need to be heard: "We need to hold hope in our heart for them becuse you can't pray without faith...we stand with them and we support them and we speak up for them. There's a BIblical mandate to speak up for the poor and needy, to speak up for the perseucted."

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