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.”