Authorities in Juba, Southeastern Sudan on Friday (Feb. 17) arrested a church leader for preaching to Muslims, according to a local Christian group.
Yousif Ayoub Hussein Ali was detained during an open-air worship event in the Blue Nile state capital of Ad-Damazin, according to a press statement from the local General Union of Christian Youth.
Ali was accused of inciting religious hatred and preaching to Muslims, though there is no law in Sudan against proclaiming one’s faith, said a local source whose name is withheld for security reasons. Area Muslims expressed fear that his preaching would encourage their children to convert, the source said. The arrest violates religious rights and international treaties to which Sudan is a party, the General Union of Christian Youth stated.
“We condemn this unethical behavior which is not in line with the international treaties,” the group’s statement read.
The transitional civilian-military government that came into power following the end of the 30-year Islamist dictatorship of Omar al-Bashir in 2019 outlawed the labeling of any religious group “infidels” and thus effectively rescinded apostasy laws that made leaving Islam punishable by death. Following two years of advances in religious freedom in Sudan and the undoing of some sharia (Islamic law) provisions, the specter of state-sponsored persecution returned with the military coup of Oct. 25, 2021.
The General Union of Christian Youth called the arrest of Ali a continuation of systematic violations against the rights of Christians in Sudan and called for his immediate, unconditional release.
While persecution of Christians by non-state actors continued before and after the 2021 coup, actions by the state have seen a bump in Sudan. In Al Jazirah state, authorities in El Hasahisa town on Nov. 21 arrested and jailed a church leader on charges of “witchcraft” for leading a prayer meeting. Pastor Abdalla Haron Sulieman was leading a prayer meeting for his mother, who suffered from an infection in her legs that kept her from walking, when authorities walked into the Sudan Presbyterian Evangelical Church church site and arrested him.
In North Darfur state a Christian leader went into hiding earlier this month after his family recruited Muslim extremists to kidnap and presumably get him jailed for leaving Islam … Continue Reading
Source: Morning Star News