El Gedaref — The court in El Gedaref has fined people, including Christians, for selling food and tea during the fasting month of Ramadan.
More than 10 people received a fine of SDG2,000 ($298) each. Lawyer Ramzi Yahya told Radio Dabanga that public order police arrested them during a campaign last week.
"This is a clear discrimination against Christians and contrary to the slogans of religious coexistence launched by the Sudan Government for the international community."
Yahya said that local restaurants have been barred from catering during Ramadan for two years in a row. "Meanwhile there are a considerable number of Christians and other people who excuse themselves from the fasting in El Gedaref."
Freedom of Christians probed
The European Union Special Envoy for the Promotion of Freedom of Religion or Belief visited Sudan mid-March to inquire about the situation of Christians and the demolition of churches in the country. He pointed to the planned demolition of 27 churches and church buildings in Khartoum which was delayed after an appeal was made to the court by lawyers.
The chairman of Sudan's Legislation and Justice Committee at the National Assembly, Ahmed El Tijani, then told the visiting Jan Figel that the freedom of belief is sanctioned by the Sudanese constitution, and the state does not impose any religious belief or practice on its citizens. He said the churches were demolished for land-ownership reasons.