Sudan’s Ministry of Guidance and Religious Endowments has threatened to arrest church leaders if they carry out evangelistic activities and do not comply with an order for churches to provide their names and contact information, Christian sources in Sudan have reported to Compass Direct News.
The warning in a letter to church leaders of the Sudan Presbyterian Evangelical Church arrived a few days after Sudan President Omar al-Bashir told cheering crowds on Jan. 3 that, following the secession of largely non-Islamic South Sudan last July, the country’s constitution will be more deeply entrenched in sharia (Islamic) law.
“We will take legal procedures against pastors who are involved in preaching or evangelistic activities,” Hamid Yousif Adam, undersecretary of the Ministry of Guidance and Religious Endowment, wrote to the church leaders. “We have all legal rights to take them to court.”
Christians are facing growing threats from both Muslim communities and Islamist government officials who have long wanted to rid Sudan of Christianity, Christian leaders told Compass. They said Christianity is now regarded as a foreign religion following the departure of 350,000 people, most of them Christians, to South Sudan following the July 9, 2011, secession.
“This is a critical situation faced by our church in Sudan,” said Yousif Matar, secretary general of the Sudan Presbyterian Evangelical Church (SPEC).
Another church leader said the order is another in a series of measures by the government to control churches.
“They do not want pastors from South Sudan to carry on any church activities or mission work in Sudan,” the leader said.
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SOURCE: Baptist Press