Category Archives: Christians in Sudan

A Message from the Sudan Council of Churches – Church Burning in Khartoum

A message from The Rt. Rev. Ezekiel Kondo, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Khartoum on behalf of the Sudan Council of Churches:

“No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it”. (1 Cor. 10:13)
Introduction:
What had happened this week for the church in Sudan has shaken us as church community in the Sudan. Some of the information in the media were not correct as it was reported to be Anglican church or Catholic Church in Khartoum, but the correct information is a very old Bible School in Gerief West in Khartoum belonging to Sudan Presbyterian Evangelical Church. Within the Bible School Compound, there is a Church and a number of housing for students.
This was not the first incident, St. John Parish Church in Haj-Yousif, Episcopal Church of the Sudan received a warning letter giving 72 hours for church leadership to demolish the church or else legal and any other means will be used to demolish this building as it is in a illegal plot of land and also South Sudanese have gone to South Sudan. The leaders of the Church wrote the Ministry concern to intervene. The church is still standing after more than 72 hours, but nobody knows how long will it stand?!
Brief history on recent incident of Presbyterian Evangelical Church:

 

On Friday the 20th April: Imams were heard from two nearby Mosques saying they are informing all the people in the area to mobilize themselves to take over the Church because that the land belong to them. The relevant authorities were informed. The Police were brought in to guard the place.
On Saturday 21st: Around 2pm the group of people as many as over 500 came into the Bible School and began to destroy the buildings, burning down books including Bibles and uprooting trees! The most amazing thing was that the policemen were around but did nothing to prevent this happening!

 

On Sunday 22: Christians gathered in the compound to pray and to encourage one another over the incident. All the Christian denominations attended the prayer including Muslims, political parties women groups, and the neighbors. All the speakers condemned the incident that this is not Sudanese behavior nor is it Islamic behavior. Some of the Muslims apologized on behalf of the other Muslims because this evil act was done in the name of Islam which does not represent the spirit of true Islam.
Representative of the government said that this behavior is not acceptable because no civilized person could do such barbaric act. He promised that the ministry will investigate the matter.
Meanwhile, the members of the Church have had a meeting with the Commissioner of the area in his office who had the time had not yet visited the vandalized Church and the School, promised that he was going to form an investigation Committee to deal with the matter, that anyone who is found to have been involved, will be brought justice, that he was going to come to see the place with his own yeas, that all the cost of the church and the school will be paid for by the government and that the police will be responsible in guarding the area until the matter is resolved fully.
Monday 23rd: Heads of Churches in Sudan under Co-Chair of SCC, Fr. Antonious Fakious to strategize how they would handle this tragic situation of the church in the Sudan. The agreed that the must come out with a clear statement on the issue and hold a press conference to inform the public and the world of what the church in Sudan is facing. In this meeting Dr. Faroug al Bushra, Secretary General of Sudan Inter Religious Council joined the meeting and he offered sympathy to the Church and SCC over what had happened and again, he said that this act does not reflect the spirit of true Islam.
While the meeting was going on we received a phone call from SCC Nyala in Darfur that the security has taken over the premises of SCC and Sudan Aid in Nyala. That they came in the morning as usual but found that the place was occupied by others and were told to hand over the keys of all the vehicles and motor bikes. 5 vehicles and 3 bikes were removed from the compound of SCC office Nyala. Offices of Sudan Aaid and SCC Nyala are closed by Security.
Having formed a drafting committee for SCC Statement, we then moved to the Ministry of Religious Guidance and Endowments were meeting was going on over the issue with members of Sudan Presbyterian Evangelical Church. The meeting was being chaired by the State Minister. The Minister having listened to full story of what had happened. The Minister expressed his sadness and grieve of what took place for the Church and its property and that such veil things can be done in the name of Islam. He assured that church leaders that his Ministry will do all it can to see that justice is done to the church and that those responsible will be brought to justice.
He formed a committee consisting of members from both the Ministry and the Church to handle the issue.
The church on her part has open legal cases against those who destroyed and burned down the church. It has been estimated SDG 5,000,000 value of property which got destroyed and it be more than this.
Conclusion:
I would like to thank many of you, friends around the world who have been praying for the church in Sudan. We very appreciate these efforts. It seems that there is a plan to stop the work of the Church or threaten Church leaders in Sudan to stop preaching after the independence of Sudan. What I know, the church will remain and will continue to operate though there will continue to be challenges on the way. The history tells us so. It happened in the past, but the church continued to this day.
However, sometime we feel have been forgotten even by our close friends. Because it seems no one cares about us here in Sudan after independence of South Sudan. Nuba Mountains and Blue Nile areas people are in a terrible situation and it seems no one cares. We are called insects!
I believe that the good Lord will protect the church in Sudan and whatever happens, there will be way out.
“No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it”. (1 Cor. 10:13)
The Rt. Revd. Ezekiel Kondo
Bishop Khartoum,
Episcopal church of Sudan
Khartoum 23rd April 2012

The Burning of the Church in Khartoum

General Bashir’s Racism and Promotion of Religious Hatred
are Behind the Burning Down of the Church in the Heart of Khartoum
In the last two weeks, General Bashir and his colleagues have used inflammatory language of racism and religious hatred against his own citizens and the citizens of the Republic of South Sudan, describing Southern Sudanese as insects. Later on, he tried to limit it to the Government of South Sudan, but he was much earlier exposed when he dehumanized and robbed half a million Southern Sudanese citizens from their rights. It is evidently clear that it is Southern Sudanese that he is targeting. Moreover, he used an old phrase of an Arabic poem against one of the black Egyptian rulers, which said that “you should not buy a slave without a stick.” This is not an insult to Southern Sudanese only, but it is in the first place an insult to Northern Sudanese in whose name Bashir is ruling. Moreover, it is an insult to humanity and a violation of all human rights and international charters. Likewise, it is an insult to the entire African continent and to black women and men worldwide, which includes all Northern Sudanese.
General Bashir is misreading and misjudging the recent international appeals to him and his government and he believes he is in a honeymoon with the international community. This is a recipe for disaster because it will encourage him to intensify war and human rights violations within the Republic of Sudan and to scale up the aggression against the Republic of South Sudan. He has already taken more than 500,000 civilians, displaced persons, in the Nuba Mountains and Blue Nile hostage, denying them from their very basic rights to humanitarian assistance, and moreover, he is bombarding them with his air force. He is encouraged that the situation of the hostages has been overshadowed with other crises. The policy of appeasement to Bashir, who is wanted by the International Criminal Court, is the same policy of appeasement in a different context and environment that long ago created Adolf Hitler.
As a result of Bashir’s language of religious hatred and with direct encouragement and protection from the security and police in Khartoum, who are spoon feeding the fundamentalist groups; a religious group associated with the National Congress, burned down Algreaf Church, an evangelical church, in the heart of Khartoum. They looted the church and burned it down to ashes. This does not represent Islam and in particular the Sudanese Islam, which is a Sufi tolerant Islam. It only represents Bashir, his group and his ideology. This is an extension of what he is doing in the Nuba Mountains and Blue Nile. The only difference is that it moved to Khartoum under his own eyes and protection. We call upon the Sudanese Muslims to stand against the policies of the National Congress and Bashir, who are destroying the very Sudanese social fabric, and we should defend the right of Sudanese Christians as equal citizens of our great country.
It is worth mentioning that the Sudanese security forces launched the biggest campaign detaining more than 30 of the SPLM-N leaders and members in the 15 different states of the North. Those are members of the SPLM-N who are not carrying arms and are working peacefully for what they believe in the areas controlled by Bashir. Among them are Izdhar Jmmua, a lawyer, and Alawya Kepada in addition to more than 200 who are missing, detained and are sentenced to death. Among them are the poet, Moniem Rahma, and Dr. Bushra Gamar and many others.
We, the Sudanese people, and all those who believe in the values of equal citizenship, human rights and religious and ethnic co-existence and those friends who are ready must stand against a racist delusional person who happens to be the president of a state and who is wanted by the International Criminal Court and is committing genocide and crimes against humanity that the world will live to regret. And in particular, the massive starvation policy that is putting more than 500,000 people on the brink of death must not be forgotten and humanitarian aid to them should be the number one priority. This is the SPLM-N’s message on my visit right now to the United States and we will leave no a stone unturned to deliver our message. The SPLM-N is ready to meet all requirements for the delivery of humanitarian aid including the cessation of hostilities on humanitarian grounds.
Yasir Arman
Secretary General
Sudan Peoples’ Liberation Movement North
April 24, 2012