RLPB 478. Sudan: Reign of Terror
Religious Liberty Prayer Bulletin | RLPB 478 | Wed 24 Oct 2018
International Day of Prayer (IDOP) for the Persecuted Church
IDOP 2018: Sunday 4 or 11 November
See: Critical Prayer Requests (CPR) for states where Christians are persecuted and/or where religious liberty is threatened.
SUDAN: REIGN OF TERROR
by Elizabeth Kendal
Sudan’s ruling National Congress Party (NCP) is the successor party to the Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated National Islamic Front (NIF). It was as a Brigadier and head of the NIF’s military arm that Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir first seized power in a military coup in 1989. The NCP is Islamist and Arab nationalist. Resistance is fierce because, while the capital, Khartoum, is dominated by Islamist Arab supremacists, Sudan’s periphery is populated by non-Arabs, many of whom are also not Muslim. They face political marginalisation, crippling discrimination and some of the most violent racial and religious persecution of our era. Populations that resist the NCP-led Government of Sudan (GoS) agenda are punished with aerial bombardment followed by highly destructive scorched earth warfare along with mass rape and mass slaughter at the hands of GoS-backed janjaweed (Arab for ‘devils on horseback’). In 2013 the GoS re-branded the janjaweed as Rapid Support Forces and incorporated them into the Sudan Armed Forces.
The GoS maintains a humanitarian embargo on all rebel-held areas. By preventing food and medical aid from reaching war-ravaged communities, the GoS ensures Darfur and the resource-rich regions of South Kordofan (which includes the mostly Christian, rebel-held Nuba Mountains) and Blue Nile remain permanently on the brink of famine. [Throughout its near-30-year rule, the NCP has repeatedly engineered famine and used starvation as a Weapon of Mass Destruction.] Sudan expert Eric Reeves reported on 19 October: ‘Authoritative reports from the ground in both Blue Nile and South Kordofan make clear that despite a [GoS] commitment to lift the humanitarian embargo on the Two Areas, nothing has changed. Innocent civilians continue to suffer and die because of the Khartoum regime’s barbaric seven-year denial of relief assistance to rebel-controlled areas.’
APOSTASY IN DARFUR: On the afternoon of Wednesday 10 October officers from Sudan’s National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) arrested 13 Christians who had gathered for fellowship in Nyala, the capital of South Darfur State. Ten of the believers were from Darfur and three from South Kordofan; they belong to four different house churches; all are converts from Islam. Three of the believers were released shortly after, without explanation. The NISS, which is notoriously hard-line Islamist, has authority to detain ‘suspects’ for up to four-and-half months without charges. Sources told Morning Star News (MSN) that the authorities were targeting converts from Islam in Darfur who were routinely detained, threatened and tortured to recant.
Eleven days later, on Sunday 21 October, all but one of the remaining Christians were released. Darfuri church leader and evangelist, Tajaldin Idriss Yousif, was released on Monday 22 October. A source told MSN: ‘All of them were said to be tortured by NISS and are in bad shape. One of them is said to be in a critical condition owing to torture. He is said to have been vomiting and bleeding. He was rushed to a hospital, but he was not attended to by the physicians in that hospital.’ Sources report that authorities have threatened to charge Tajaldin Idriss Yousif with the capital crime of apostasy, as well as with public disturbance and crimes against the state.
Since the 2011 secession of South Sudan, the NCP-led GoS has redoubled its efforts to fully Arabise and Islamise Sudan. It is no wonder that Sudan is now ranked fourth on the Open Doors World Watch List of countries where it is most difficult to live as a Christian.
PLEASE PRAY SPECIFICALLY THAT:
* the Holy Spirit will move powerfully within the converts who were recently arrested, threatened and tortured in South Darfur; may they be assured of the Father’s unfailing love, comforted in their Saviour’s eternal embrace, and encouraged by the prayers of the wider Church.
* the Lord will comfort, encourage and lead the Church in Darfur; may believers not be crippled by fear; may they not be discouraged or confused; rather, may they grow in faith with spiritual wisdom to know how to navigate their challenging environment.
* Jehovah Jireh, the Lord our Provider, will open the way for humanitarian aid to reach all those in need, especially the Christians of the Nuba Mountains who are suffering their second genocide in a generation.
* the Almighty Sovereign God, will intervene in Sudan to bring down Sudan’s President Omar el-Bashir and end his government’s reign of terror.
Prayer for Sudan: Psalm 10
‘Arise, O Lord; O God, lift up your hand; forget not the afflicted’ (Psalm 10:12 ESV).
SUMMARY FOR BULLETINS UNABLE TO RUN THE WHOLE ARTICLE
REIGN OF TERROR IN SUDAN
Sudan’s ruling National Congress Party (NCP) is Islamist and Arab nationalist. Non-Arabs and non-Muslims suffer political marginalisation, crippling discrimination and dictatorial repression. Those who resist the government’s agenda suffer some of the worst racial and religious military violence of our era. Since the 2011 secession of South Sudan, the Government of Sudan has redoubled its efforts to Arabise and Islamise Sudan, which is now ranked fourth on the Open Doors World Watch List of countries where Christians face persecution. On 10 October Sudanese security forces arrested 13 believers — all converts from Islam — who had gathered for fellowship in Nyala, South Darfur. Whilst all had been released by 22 October, most had been threatened and severely tortured; one is in a critical condition. Pray for Sudan and its Christians.
Elizabeth Kendal is an international religious liberty analyst and advocate. She serves as Director of Advocacy at Canberra-based Christian Faith and Freedom (CFF), and is an Adjunct Research Fellow at the Arthur Jeffery Centre for the Study of Islam at Melbourne School of Theology.
She has authored two books: Turn Back the Battle: Isaiah Speaks to Christians Today (Deror Books, Melbourne, Australia, Dec 2012) which offers a Biblical response to persecution and existential threat; and After Saturday Comes Sunday: Understanding the Christian Crisis in the Middle East (Wipf and Stock, Eugene, OR, USA, June 2016).