21 December 2012

Sudan: Coptic Priests Arrested After 'Baptism' in Khartoum

Khartoum — Two priests from the Coptic Orthodox Church in Sudan have allegedly been arrested after assisting a Muslim woman to convert to Christianity, AFP reported on Thursday, 20 December.

"I understand there was someone from the Arab origin that accepted Christ and was baptized by them," leading to their arrest within the past few days, a religious leader told AFP.

Several religious sources confirmed the incident, but Khartoum's Coptic Bishop Elia was not available for comments, AFP continued. It was added that the Copts, a minority in Sudan, have not experienced the violence suffered by their brethren in Egypt where sectarian violence surged after the fall of Hosni Mubarak's regime in February 2011 and the rise of Islamists to power.

An unknown group calling itself Al-Qaeda in Neelain state sent a statement to Sudanese journalists on Tuesday threatening violence against Copts unless the woman who was "kidnapped" by the Christians is returned.

On 21 April 2012, an Islamic fundamentalist group attempted to bring down the Anglican church in the capital of Khartoum and managed to set it on fire. The group was led by 'hard-liner' Mohamed Abdel Kareem. Security forces surrounded the church and prevented the group from entering, however some individuals managed to sneak through and set the church on fire.

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