How many Christians are there in Sudan?
There are more than two million Christians in Sudan, from a population of over 47 million people.
How are Christians persecuted in Sudan?
The devastating conflict that broke out in April 2023 is threatening to further undermine the positive steps made towards religious freedom following the ousting of Omar al-Bashir in 2019.
The crisis stems from a power struggle between the National Army and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF). More than 9,000 people have been killed and nearly six million displaced. At least 165 churches have been closed and others have been destroyed. Churches have also reported human rights violations such as rape, kidnap and looting, with a recent spike in the abduction and killing of Christian men by radical groups. It’s a tactic designed to debilitate a family financially.
There are long-term concerns that the conflict will give Islamic extremists a renewed foothold in the country, undoing the reforms made by the transitional civilian government which gave more freedom to Christians, including abolishing the apostasy law and removing Islam as the state religion.
What’s life like for Christians in Sudan?
Christians who have converted from Muslim backgrounds continue to face huge dangers. Some will even refrain from telling their children about Jesus, for fear they may inadvertently disclose their parents’ faith to the local community.
A woman who converts to Christianity is vulnerable to house arrest, forced marriage, divorce, disinheritance and losing the custody of her children. A man may face beatings, imprisonment, harassment within the workplace and displacement. He may be kicked out of his home, shunned by his family, or forced to flee because the pressure is too much.
“The country has been through a difficult time for decades,” shares Fikiru*, an Open Doors research expert for East Africa. “But Christians in the country are committed to continue serving and reaching unreached people in the country and taking the good news to their Muslim neighbours.
“I recently met one convert who was excommunicated by her family. Everybody expected her to denounce her faith and go back to her old religion. But she said: ‘Despite all these challenges, I'll stick to my faith and continue to love and serve Jesus.’ This kind of determination and strong faith in the Lord is a source of much encouragement.”
Is it getting harder to be a Christian in Sudan?
A few years ago, Sudan was a good news story on the World Watch List. Apostasy was no longer illegal, and more leniency around freedom of religion was brought in by the transitional government – there was still a long way to go, but there were signs of hope. Sadly, this year Sudan has risen several places on the World Watch List.
The main reason for Sudan’s increase in ranking is greater violence against Christians – particularly since believers became more vulnerable after the eruption of civil war in April 2023.
How can I help Christians in Sudan?
Please keep praying for your brothers and sisters in Sudan. Your prayers make an enormous difference to those following Jesus no matter the cost.
Open Doors works through local church partners in Sudan to strengthen persecuted Christians through persecution survival training, discipleship training and economic empowerment projects.
Father God, we cry out for peace in Sudan and an end to this latest conflict. May it not be used to give extremists a renewed foothold in the country. Encourage believers at this time, particularly those who are despondent, weary and hurt. Pour fresh hope into their hearts. Be a place of refuge for Your children, meet their every need and strengthen their faith. During this time of uncertainty and unrest, help our brothers and sisters to be beacons of light that draw others to You. Amen.