19 April 2013

Sudan: No More Licenses for Building Churches

Khartoum — Sudanese ministry of guidance and endowments announced it will no longer grant licenses for the building of churches in the country, claiming the existing ones are enough to accommodate congregations.

During his speech to the parliament on Wednesday, April 17, Minister Al-Fatih Taj Al Sir, said that since South Sudan's independence in 2011 no new churches have been built in the country.

The minister attributed the reasons behind his decision to lack of worshippers and to the increasing number of abandoned churches. He nevertheless guaranteed to preserve the freedom to worship in the country.

Starting late 2012 there have been increasing reports about the crackdown of activities of Christian institutions in Sudan.

The Human Rights and Development Organization (HUDO) pointed out in a report to the "systematic targeting of Nuba Christians" by Sudanese authorities in South Kordofan and institutions in Khartoum, as published by Radio Dabanga in March.

In the beginning of 2013 security agents raided the library of the Sudan Presbyterian Evangelical Church, founded by missionaries in central Khartoum more than a hundred years ago, seizing all books to check on their content, church sources told Reuters.

Last year, a church in a suburb of Khartoum was reportedly demolished by Sudanese authorities just before Christmas.

On December 20, 2012 two priests from the Coptic Orthodox Church in Sudan were allegedly arrested after assisting a Muslim woman to convert to Christianity, AFP reported.

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