Last week saw more news from Sudan as the Muslim-Dominated Northern Sudan started an ethnic cleansing campaign in the city of Abeyi in order to seize its oil resources. What is lost in much of the discussion of the endless civil war, brutality and death there is that there is a religious component to this conflict. Christians in Sudan have been the victims of the endless attacks, raids, and massacres by the Islamic janjaweed. As a result, since 1983, 2 million people have been killed and 5 million people have been forced from their homes and town to refugee camps.
Northern Sudan, which has dominated the nation militarily and politically, is governed by Islamic Sharia law, which makes sharing the Gospel, carrying Bibles and converting from Islam major criminal offenses. Additionally, the Sudanese government’s indifference to the plight of Christians has led to an atmosphere where brutal attacks have become the norm. Two glaring examples of the situation in Sudan were highlighted last week as a Christian woman in one of the refugee camps was arrested on charges of “evangelizing” to Muslims. There are concerns the woman is now being tortured. As the report stated:
“In Darfur Region in northwestern Sudan, Hawa Abdalla Muhammad Saleh was arrested on May 9 in the Abu Shouk camp for Internally Displaced Persons in Al-Fashir, capital of North Darfur state, sources said.
Abdalla has yet to be officially charged, but authorities have accused her of possessing and distributing Bibles to others in the camp, including children. Sources said she could also be tried for apostasy, which carries the death sentence in Sudan.
Abdalla has been transferred to an unknown location in Khartoum, sources said, adding that they fear she could be tortured as she was detained and tortured for six days in 2009. Intelligence agents, they said, have been monitoring her movements for some time.
“There is no guarantee of her safety,” said one source in Darfur.
In the same week, a Christian couple with a newborn baby were attacked with knives for choosing to convert to Christianity from Islam. Omar Hassan and Amouna Ahamdi, both 27, were victims forced to flee from the town of Nyala to Khartoum, Sudan, after being shunned by their families for their Christian faith. In Khartoum they rented an apartment from Ahamdi’s uncle. Once he discovered that they were Christians, he also ostracized them, which led to four knife-wielding attackers attacking the couple in the apartment they were renting. Ahamdi was stabbed in the palm as she tried to protect her husband.
The couple met at the Episcopal Church of Sudan in the summer of 2010. At that time Ahamdi was recovering from being stabbed 9 times by her brother who attacked once he discovered she had converted to Islam. Her brother also broker one of her legs in the attack. After recovering from her injuries at Nyala Hospital, the Episcopal Church took her in and provided shelter for her. It was there she met Hassan and soon the two became engaged.
At present the couple is still dealing with issues. They are unemployed and Ahamdi has problems with her spleen from the knife attack of her brother in 2010. In Khartoum, they were unable to afford the medicine prescribed for her spleen.
“There is only one pharmaceutical shop in Khartoum that deals with spleen-related problems,” Ahamdi said. “The shop has to order the drug from Cairo after making a deposit amounting to US$300 before the drug is ordered. But we are not able to raise the needed amount since we are jobless.”
Hassan and Ahamdi depend on friends to provide them occasional food, she said. They sometimes go without eating for two days, she said.
“We cannot deny Christ – this is a big challenge to us, because we do not have a place to go,” she said, through tears. “We have no food, and we are jobless. I am still in pain, besides having a 2-month-old baby boy to care for.”
We know from the Bible that this intense persecution of Christians was prophesied in Scripture. Jesus Christ said: 16 And ye shall be betrayed both by parents, and brethren, and kinsfolks, and friends; and some of you shall they cause to be put to death. 17 And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake. (Luke 21).
Pray for this couple and the Christian brothers and sisters in Sudan who have been suffering for decades with little relief. But the good news in this is that despite the massive persecution, Christianity is still spreading at an amazing rate. By recent estimates, the Christian population of 5% in 1983 has now grown to 20%! Additionally there are over 10 times the number of churches. Despite the devastation, loss of home and country and attacks, the light of Christ is still shining in this nation. Pray for them and for their oppressors to repent and cease their violent ways. And for ways to help Christian organizations who are working in the Sudan and other African nations, please see here.
1 Peter 4:14 If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified.