How many Christians are there in Sudan?
There are nearly two million Christians living in Sudan. They make up a relatively small percentage of the country – less than five per cent in a country of 42.5 million people.
Why are Christians persecuted in Sudan?
Sudan is currently a place of great conflict. Veteran President Omar Hassan al-Bashir was ousted in April 2019 following months of protests against his 30-year authoritarian rule. A transition military council was then sworn in with the aim of moving Sudan towards civilian rule over a period of three years, but protests have continued.
Historically, Islam is deeply embedded in Sudan's society and the ruling elite aims to enforce an Islamic regime in the country. Sudan has been run by an authoritarian regime ever since al-Bashir came to power through a coup in 1989. The government is strictly implementing the policy of one religion, one culture and one language. There is no freedom of the press and no freedom of expression.
“I am determined to continue trusting the Lord, even if things are uncertain.”Seida, whose husband was killed for his faith
What’s life like for Christians in Sudan?
Seida Nuri is a widow in her 50s, living in the Nuba Mountains in Sudan, where thousands of Christians have been killed and displaced as the government seeks to ethnically cleanse the region of minority groups. Seida’s Christian husband, Peter, was killed in battle after he joined the army. A few years later, Seida’s eldest son moved away – she doesn’t know whether he is alive or dead. Seida grew up as a Muslim, and left Islam to follow Christ. Now, her family are trying to pressure her to renounce her faith by offering her support in exchange for returning to Islam. But, despite the difficulties of living as a widow, she is determined to hold on to Jesus.
In other parts of the country, many churches have been demolished, and church leaders have been arrested for speaking out against persecution. Blasphemy laws are being 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’.
Until recently, leaving Islam to follow Jesus was illegal and could 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. There have been recent reforms and proposed reforms to remove Islamic law.
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, through local partners, has been involved with the church in the Nuba Mountains for many years. We have been able to train up church leaders to be equipped to disciple believers in these very difficult circumstances, and your support means that we can help to provide food to widows like Seida and offer trauma care to believers suffering from the ongoing conflict in the country.
*Name changed for security reasons
Lord Jesus, thank You that in You we find total freedom. Please free our brothers and sisters in Sudan from the oppression and restrictions they face, both in living out their faith and in sharing it. Please protect Christians who have left Islam to follow You, and help them to find others with whom they can safely build community.