How many Christians are there in Sudan?
There are almost two million Christians in Sudan – a substantial number, but only 4.4% of the country’s population of 44.6 million.
How are Christians persecuted in Sudan?
Christian women and girls in Sudan, particularly converts, are vulnerable to rape, forced marriage and domestic violence for their faith. On a broader level, Islamic extremists have reportedly kidnapped Sudanese girls for marriage and/or sexual slavery. Inside the home, converts may also be isolated to reduce the embarrassment and shame of the conversion on the family, as well as to ensure they cannot meet with other Christians. Converts will also be denied inheritance and, if they're already married, divorced from their husbands.
Church leaders are frequently targeted, including reports of drugs being falsely planted on them. Christian men and boys, particularly converts, are vulnerable to beatings, imprisonment or even murder. Converts may be kicked out of their house and shunned by their families, and face intense persecution in the workplace.
“There are not equal rights for Christians to build their churches, the way Muslims have the full right to build their mosques.”Abdul, a Sudanese Christian
What’s life like for Christians in Sudan?
Despite Sudan making positive strides towards religious freedom in recent years, persecution of Christians remains at a high level in the country, and there are fears this will worsen following the military coup in October 2021.
The seizure of power occurred following an escalation in hostilities between conservative Islamists who want a military government and those who toppled Omar al Bashir in April 2019. The overthrow of al Bashir resulted in a transitional government, with power shared between the military and civilian leaders. During this time, the significant steps towards religious freedom included abolishing the death penalty for leaving Islam. However, these are now under threat following the coup.
Even without the coup, social attitudes towards Christians have not changed, despite the positive steps made under the transitional government. This is especially the case in areas outside the capital Khartoum. Christians are still vulnerable to extreme persecution in public and private life, particularly if they have converted from Islam, and the government hasn’t put real protections in place for Christians and other religious minorities. For example, even with the change in official status, confiscated churches and lands have yet to be returned to their Christian owners, and trying to build new churches is still extremely difficult.
How can I help Christians in Sudan?
Please keep praying for your brothers and sisters in Sudan. Your gifts and prayers make an enormous difference to those following Jesus no matter the cost.
Open Doors works through local church partners to strengthen persecuted Christians through persecution survival training, discipleship training and economic empowerment projects.
Dear God, thank You for the positive developments in Sudan in recent years. May these be honoured at all levels of society and be built upon. Protect and strengthen the Sudanese church, provide for all their needs, and heal all those affected by persecution. Give Your people in Sudan joy and courage to keep serving You, despite challenges and suffering, and may the Sudanese church continue to grow and be a beacon of light in the country. Amen..