Police in Omdurman, Sudan, arrested and interrogated seven church leaders Aug. 23 before releasing them on bail, according to a report from Morning Star News.
The seven were charged with refusing to comply with an order to turn over leadership of their congregations to a committee appointed by the Islamic government. Sudan’s Ministry of Guidance and Religious Endowments had written a letter dated Aug. 14 ordering the leaders of the Sudanese Church of Christ (SCOC) to hand over church leadership to the committee appointed by the government ministry, sources said. The church leaders refused.
“Police asked if we still maintain our stance on our refusal to acknowledge the committee appointed by the Ministry of Guidance and Religious Endowments, and we said yes, because it is not the work of the [government] ministry to appoint committees for the church,” said Pastor Kwa Shamaal, head of missions for the SCOC.
Christians in Sudan face discrimination and harassment, as Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir has vowed to introduce a strict version of sharia law and to recognize only Islamic culture and Arabic language.
In its campaign to rid the country of Christianity, Sudan has designated 25 church buildings for destruction, and on Aug. 2 it demolished a Baptist church in Omdurman. On May 7, in the Khartoum suburb of Soba al Aradi, authorities demolished an SCOC church building that had been the lone remaining place of worship for Christians there following the demolition of other churches in 2011. ©2017 BGEA