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SUDAN: Apostasy Laws Abolished

SUDAN: Apostasy Laws Abolished

After more than 30 years of Islamist rule, Sudan has passed a series of legal reforms. Two major changes involved the abolishment of public flogging and the repeal of apostasy laws for those leaving Islam. Other regulations relate to the consumption of alcohol, female mutilation, and the opportunity for women to travel with their children without having to obtain permission from their husbands.

“We will drop all the laws violating human rights in Sudan,” claims Justice Minister Nasredeen Abdulbari, signalling that other changes may yet be coming. He further states that these changes are a way of safeguarding the rights of non-Muslims, who make up approximately three percent of the population. These changes reflect significant steps forward in the continuation of reforms announced this past April.

Sources: Release International, BBC, Mission Network News, Barnabas Fund

  • Praise God for these encouraging changes to Sudan’s legal system.
  • Pray that these reforms will truly be a major step towards freedom of religion for all citizens.
  • Pray for Christians who still encounter opposition from their leaders and neighbours. May these believers be encouraged by the fact that though positive reforms are a ‘work in progress,’ they will eventually achieve greater freedom and enhanced unity.

Post your prayer in the comments below.

 

SUDAN: Christians See the Light After Years of Oppression

SUDAN: Christians See the Light After Years of Oppression

Sudan has seen genocide, war, and persecution for as long as some can remember, but is finally coming out of the dark. The nation’s new transitional government is making real reforms that allow the Sudanese people to live and worship more freely.

Observers are witnessing something that hasn’t happened in decades, Sudanese Christians worshipping freely without fear of persecution. It’s a relief after years of suffering under Islamic Sharia Law. “Christians had become used to seeing their places of worship destroyed, being arrested and charged with apostasy and blasphemy that were levelled against them because these are in the penal codes,” Dwight Bashir from the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) said.

Last year President Omar al-Bashir was overthrown and now faces charges of genocide before the International Criminal Court. The new transitional civilian government led by Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, is transitioning Sudan out of the dark. “The worst of the persecution no longer exists. There’s no more attacking of churches,” Bashir says.

He recently travelled to Sudan with two USCIRF commissioners to meet with Hamdok and the delegation agrees it’s clear he’s intent on enacting real reforms. The State Department has downgraded Sudan from a major violator of religious liberty to a watch list, but for Hamdok, change is not coming easy. Just last month he survived an attempt on his life.

“For him to succeed he needs to be protected. His cabinet needs to be protected. He’s brought two Christians into his cabinet which would have been unthinkable just a couple of years ago,” Bashir explains. Much work remains, like changes in zoning laws so Christians can build churches, along with other reforms that will allow the people of Sudan to worship more freely as their conscience dictates. However, for the first time in a long time there’s hope against many odds those changes are coming.

Sources: CBN News, Australian Prayer Network

  • Thank the Lord for the answered prayers for Sudan.
  • Pray this new era will bring not only true freedom to worship but also an expansion of God’s kingdom in the nation.
  • Ask the Lord to protect Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok and his cabinet, and work through them to bring peace and stability to the nation.

Post your prayer in the comments below.

Bibles to a Conflict Area

Bibles to a Conflict Area

Getting God’s Word into the hands of persecuted Christians in conflict areas is a great encouragement to them. The Nuba Mountains of Sudan is one such hard-to-reach area that poses a variety of logistical challenges.

One of the biggest obstacles is a humanitarian blockade that has been in place for the past nine years. While the blockade may be withdrawn soon, it is currently still a crime to deliver any form of relief, including Bibles, to the area. Bringing aid and Bibles to Christians in these areas can be a challenge, requiring transport by truck on sometimes impassable roads and even by small aeroplanes.

VOM’s field leader in Sudan said last year was especially challenging because of severe flooding. “Some of the places that used to be ‘roads’ had standing water up to the neck level,” he said. “Even … trucks were unable to move for about four weeks.”

In light of these challenges, receiving a shipment of print Bibles and ‘Bible radios’ in this hard-to-reach area means the world to our brothers and sisters in Christ who live there. “For the hundreds of churches spread over the embattled Nuba Mountains, these Bibles are like reinforcements in a major battle,” a field worker said.

  • Pray for a clear path of Bible distribution to Christians
  • Pray for the protection of those delivering Bibles in these areas

Post your prayer in the comments below.

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SUDAN: Christians See the Light After Years of Oppression

SUDAN: Christians See the Light After Years of Oppression

Sudan, a place that’s seen genocide, war, and persecution for as long as some can remember is finally coming out of the dark. The nation’s new transitional government is making real reforms that allow the Sudanese people to live and worship more freely.

On a recent trip to Sudan, American observers witnessed something that hasn’t happened in decades, Sudanese Christians worshipping freely without fear of persecution. It’s a relief after years of suffering under Islamic Sharia Law.

“Christians in particular would see their places of worship destroyed, they would be arrested and there were charges of apostasy and blasphemy that were levelled because these are in the penal codes,” said Dwight Bashir, the director of outreach and policy at the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF).

Last year President Omar al-Bashir was overthrown and now faces charges of genocide before the International Criminal Court. The new transitional civilian government led by Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, is transitioning Sudan out of the dark.

“The worst of the persecution no longer exists. There’s no more attacking of churches,” Bashir says. He recently travelled to Sudan with two USCIRF commissioners to meet with Hamdok and the delegation agrees it’s clear he’s intent on enacting real reforms.

The US State Department has downgraded Sudan from a major violator of religious liberty to a watch list, but for Hamdok, change isn’t coming easy. Just this month he survived an attempt on his life.

“For him to succeed he needs to be protected. His cabinet needs to be protected. He’s brought two Christians into his cabinet which would have been unthinkable just a couple of years ago,” Bashir explains.

Much work remains, like changes in zoning laws so Christians can build churches, along with other reforms that will allow the people of Sudan to worship more freely as their conscience dictates. However, for the first time in a long time there’s hope against many odds those changes are coming.

Source: CBN News

  • Praise God for this positive development – an answer to many prayers.
  • Pray for Prime Minister Hamdok and his cabinet. Pray they will act justly, with wisdom and foresight to bring increased stability. Pray for their protection.
  • Pray the church will flourish in this new season.

Post your prayer in the comments below.

SUDAN: Churches Attacked Twice in Three Weeks

SUDAN: Churches Attacked Twice in Three Weeks

Temporary worship structures in south-eastern Sudan were destroyed by fire on 16 January, three weeks after the buildings they had replaced were burned down.

The news comes amid criticism from local human rights defenders of the decision by the United States State Department to remove Sudan from its list of Countries of Particular Concern.

Reports by a human rights organisation, state that three churches located in different neighbourhoods of Bout Town in Blue Nile State, were razed to the ground on the evening of 28 December. The churches have been identified as belonging to the Sudan Internal Church, the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church. Despite church members reporting these incidents to the police, there were no investigations into the attacks.

The Christian community rebuilt the churches from local materials; however, on 16 January the three churches were burned down again. The churches filed cases with the local police once again, but report that no further steps were taken.

Sudan’s Minister of Religious Affairs, Nasr al-Din Mufreh, issued a statement on 21 January reaffirming the government’s commitment to protecting freedom of religion or belief and disputing the reports that three churches had been attacked.

“This incident is true, the three churches were set on fire twice in less than a month,” according to a pastor in Maban, whose name is withheld for security reasons.

“Some Bout area Muslims were upset about the presence of the churches there, and they are suspected in the fires”, he said.

Sources: Christian Solidarity Worldwide, Morning Star News

  • Pray these attacks will not prevent the Christians in the area from meeting together. Pray they instead will be unified and steadfast in their faith.
  • Please pray for peace and protection for God’s people in Blue Nile State.
  • Ask God to convict all those whose hearts are filled with hatred towards Christians to repent of their actions and turn to Christ.

Post your prayer in the comments below.