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Christian Leader in Sudan Detained, Blindfolded and Beaten,Sources Say

Posted by on February 24, 2021 — Drop A Comment


JUBA, South Sudan , February 22, 2021
– A Christian leader in Sudan was detained and
beaten on Friday (Feb. 19) for
speaking out against the burning of a
church building, sources said.
Masked men believed to be national
security personnel seized Osama
Saeed Kodi, chairman of the Christian
Youth Union of Al Jazirah state, on
Friday morning (Feb. 19), handcuffed
him and blindfolded him, Christian
leaders in Sudan said.
“They told him, ‘We will kill you if you
continue with Christian activities in
Tambul,’” said one church leader,
whose name is withheld for security
reasons.
They beat him and threatened to kill
him if he continued voicing objections
to the burning of a Sudanese Church of
Christ (SCOC) worship hall in Tambul,
and then released him after a few
hours, the sources said.
“I have been brutally beaten by national
security personnel on my chest and on
my right leg,” Kodi told Christian
leaders in Al Jazirah state. “I am still in
pain as a result of this beating. I thank
all those who stood with me during the
detention. I shall continue to defend the
right of the church despite all these
obstacles.”
Suspected Muslim extremists on Jan.
3 set fire to the church building , the
only worship hall in Tambul, which is
used by various denominations in the
rural area. It was set ablaze shortly
after SCOC members left their Sunday
service.
With church burnings continuing
through last year following the
deposing of President Omar al-Bashir
in April 2019, church leaders and other
Christians in Sudan are concerned that
persecution is continuing under a
transitional government that has
promoted religious liberty.
OPPOSITION TO CHRISTIAN TV
At the same time, hard-line Muslims
last week urged government officials to
ban TV programs with Christian
content following the airing of a
Christian program on the Sudan TV
network, the Sudan National
Broadcasting Corp., earlier this month,
Christian leaders said.
The broadcast of “Sunday
Meeting” ( Likha Al Ahad in Arabic), the
only Christian program in Sudan,
sparked widespread anger among
radical Muslims. Discussing
forgiveness of sins through Jesus
Christ, it attracted mixed reactions,
including outrage among Muslim
leaders on social media.
“Christians and Jews are not only
infidels, but they are cursed by Allah,”
Muzemil Fakhiri, a well-known imam in
Sudan, said in a Facebook video in
Arabic, saying Christians do not
deserve a place on national TV to
promote a faith.
Fakhiri told his audience that the Bible
of Christians is corrupt and blamed
Sudan TV for broadcasting a Christian
program instead of live airing of
Muslim Friday prayers. He asserted
that Sudan is an Islamic country.
“Now Sudan TV is openly broadcasting
infidel programs instead of playing
Islamic programs,” Fakhiri said. “Yes,
Christians are infidels.”
Christianity is meaningless and
irrational, he said, asserting that Christ
cannot be God.
“If Jesus was God, how can it be that
he was killed by human beings?”
Fakhiri said, adding that the crucifixion
of Christ by human beings was proof
that the God of Christianity is weak.
“This is not logical.”
Sudan’s recent Fundamental Rights
and Freedoms Act prohibits the
labeling of any group as
“infidels,” (takfir), the U.S. Commission
on International Religious Freedom
(USCIRF) noted in a September 2020
report.
In light of advances in religious
freedom since Bashir was ousted in
April 2019, the U.S. State Department
announced on Dec. 20, 2019 that
Sudan had been removed from the list
of Countries of Particular Concern
(CPC) that engage in or tolerate
“systematic, ongoing and egregious
violations of religious freedom” and
was upgraded to a watch list. Sudan
had been designated a CPC by the U.S.
State Department since 1999.
The transitional government sworn in
on Sept. 8, 2019 led by Prime Minister
Abdalla Hamdok, an economist, has
been tasked with governing during a
transition period of 39 months. It faces
the challenges of rooting out
longstanding corruption and an
Islamist “deep state” rooted in Bashir’s
30 years of power.
After Bashir was deposed, military
leaders initially formed a military
council to rule the country, but further
demonstrations led them to accept a
transitional government of civilians and
military figures, with a predominantly
civilian government to be
democratically elected in three years.
Christians were expected to have
greater voice under the new
administration.
Following the secession of South
Sudan in 2011, Bashir had vowed to
adopt a stricter version of sharia
(Islamic law) and recognize only
Islamic culture and the Arabic
language. Church leaders said
Sudanese authorities demolished or
confiscated churches and limited
Christian literature on the pretext that
most Christians had left the country
following South Sudan’s secession.
In April 2013 the then-Sudanese
Minister of Guidance and Endowments
announced that no new licenses would
be granted for building new churches
in Sudan, citing a decrease in the
South Sudanese population. Sudan
since 2012 had expelled foreign
Christians and bulldozed church
buildings. Besides raiding Christian
bookstores and arresting Christians,
authorities threatened to kill South
Sudanese Christians who did not leave
or cooperate with them in their effort to
find other Christians.
Sudan ranked 13 on Christian
support organization Open Doors’ 2021
World Watch List of the countries
where it is most difficult to be a
Christian.


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