Sudan’s Christians face growing harassment

Agence France Presse

KHARTOUM: Church properties have been bulldozed and seized in a climate of  growing harassment of minority Christians in Islamist-run Sudan  since the South’s 2011 independence, its  council of churches said.

Kori Elramla Kori Kuku, general secretary of the  Sudan Council of Churches,  told AFP harassment has been on the rise ever since the separation three years  ago of South Sudan, whose population follow mainly Christian and traditional  beliefs.

A death sentence issued in May to a pregnant Sudanese Christian woman  convicted of apostasy from Islam drew worldwide attention to the issue of  religious freedom.

Meriam Yahia Ibrahim Ishag  took refuge at the U.S. Embassy  in Khartoum  Thursday after a higher court annulled  her conviction, and the Italian government flew her and her family out to Rome,  where she met with Pope Francis.

The meeting was “a sign of closeness and solidarity for all those who suffer  for their faith, in particular Christians who suffer persecution,” the Vatican  said.

Away from the limelight, Kuku said churches have faced numerous challenges  and threats from Sudanese authorities.

“The situation is very bad,” he said. “After separation, everything changed  completely. The freedom we used to have now is denied.”