2020 WORLD WATCH LIST #7SUDAN
2020 WORLD WATCH LIST RANK: 7
LEADER: Transitional Goverment
POPULATION: 42.5 million
CHRISTIAN POPULATION: 1.9 million
MAIN RELIGION: Islam
PERSECUTION LEVEL: Extreme
PERSECUTION SOURCE: Islamic Oppression
In cooperation with local churches and partners, Open Doors supports the persecuted church in Sudan through:
• Discipleship training
• Trauma counseling
• Theological training
• Community development projects
• Christian literature distribution
A new government
In April 2019, Sudan president Omar al-Bashir was overthrown following months of protests by the people. A new government was established with a new prime minister in place. However, despite the power-sharing agreement, the country’s current political chaos has left Christians in limbo. Ethnic tension — Arab vs. ethnic African — and the Muslim/Christian landscape complicate matters. The secession of South Sudan in 2011 also made Christians further vulnerable as they have become less in number and the Islamic conservatives in Sudan push for a Sharia state.
The road to Sharia
Before his removal from office, the government had demolished a number of churches as part of the application of full Sharia law, which al-Bashir had vowed to implement following the secession of South Sudan. The government also arrested or intimidated many Christian leaders. Following his downfall, Sudan’s score for the World Watch List dropped merely 2 points. There are still many in Sudan who are fighting for the country to be a Sharia state.
Blasphemy laws are used to persecute Christians – many are afraid to share their faith for fear that they will be accused of ‘acts that encourage apostasy against Islam’. Leaving Islam to follow Jesus is illegal and can be punished with the death sentence, and believers from Muslim backgrounds often keep their faith completely secret. Some have been put under house arrest by their families when their new faith was discovered.
In the Nuba Mountains, thousands of Christians have been killed and displaced as the government seeks to ethnically cleanse the region of minority groups.
• For the new government – a transitional council headed by Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdock, that it will be one that will treat all Sudanese equally and justly, regardless of ethnicity and religion.
• For wisdom and endurance for the Sudanese church in the midst of the uncertainty in their country.
• Many lives were lost during the protests in 2019. Pray for comfort for those who are still in mourning, and that they will seek peace in Christ Jesus.