As churchwomen wailed and young men shouted that they were prepared to die to prevent further demolition, hundreds of Christians in North Khartoum blocked authorities’ attempts to destroy buildings on their compound this week.
After a bulldozer accompanied by security personnel and police knocked down a wall of the Sudan Presbyterian Evangelical Church’s (SPEC) Khartoum Bahri Evangelical Church and some houses on Monday and Tuesday (Nov. 17-18), the Christians formed a human barrier to face down further demolition attempts on Wednesday and Thursday (Nov. 19-20), sources said.
One of the homes destroyed in the compound belonged to Nile Theological College; a Christian doctor had rented it, and he lost all his belongings, sources said.
The bulldozer, accompanied by National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) personnel and police, carried out the demolitions based on a court order demanding that church leaders surrender the premises to Muslim businessman Khalid Mustafa. A church committee of members that the Sudanese government interposed made a secret agreement with Mustafa to sell him church property as part of Sudan’s campaign to do away with Christianity in the country, church leaders said.
“The government recently installed some committee to the running of the church, and these are the same people who want to sell the church for business purposes,” pastor Daud Fadul told Morning Star News.
Church members strongly condemned the “government puppet committee” supporting the government agenda to do away with Christianity.
“This is a case of serious persecution of the church in Sudan,” elder Daud Bashir Gadalah told Morning Star News. “We appeal to the international community of the Christian body to stand with us and to advocate for our case. The forces of evil cannot prevail against the church of Christ.”
After Monday’s demolitions, church leaders on Tuesday (Nov. 18) filed a court complaint. They were told they would have to wait until Dec. 4 to have their grievances heard.
The next day authorities destroyed the home of pastor Hafiz Fasaha at the SPEC church compound after ordering personnel inside to leave the premises, church leaders said. Authorities told the Christians a Muslim businessman owned the land and that they had a court order calling for the use of force to take over the property.
The Christians stood helpless as they watched the building destroyed before their eyes.
“We are surprised that our government is determined to take all lands that belong to the church,” said a church member who requested anonymity.
Two other structures housing church youth were destroyed while the young people and the pastor were away, sources said. Pastor Fasaha has not been seen since the demolition, they said.
Church leaders were upset over thousands of dollars in damages to window panes, steel doors, refrigerators, students’ certificates, books, mobiles phones, wardrobes and other valuables.
On Wednesday (Nov. 19) at 2 p.m., police arrived at the church compound with another court order from Judge Mohammed Mohammed Ahmed Mohammed, this one requiring the removal of all property inside the main pastor’s house and the removal of all padlocks to allow the businessman to install his own padlock. After a lengthy discussion between police and church leaders, boisterous young men from the church arrived ready to defend the building.
“We are ready to die for the cause of Christ – the church is a place for worship, not for business,” the rowdy men chanted to police, echoing a message on banners placed throughout the compound.
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SOURCE: Christian News Network / Morning Star News