by Karen Faulkner, Worthy News Correspondent
(Worthy News) – Two Christian leaders in Omdurman, Sudan were arrested last week for singing worship songs during their church service, the Christian Post (CP) reports. While the situation for Sudanese Christians somewhat improved following the 2019 ousting of Islamic dictator Omar al-Bashir, it has worsened again since the subsequent Islamic military coup of 2021.
Pastor Kabashi Idris of the African Inland Church and evangelist Yacoub Ishakh of the Independent Baptist Church were in the middle of a Bible study at the Baptist church in the Hai Al Thawra West area of Omdurman when police officers walked in and arrested them, their attorney Shinbago Awad told CP.
Idris and Ishkah were charged with violating public order under Article 77 of Sudan’s penal code, and were released on bail the same day, CP reports. The arrests were triggered by a radical Muslim neighbor who lives close enough to the leaders’ church to be able to hear their worship songs. “They were accused by a radical Muslim neighbor who filed a case against them at the police station in the area, prompting the police to arrest the two church leaders,” Awad said. “The radical Muslim told police his children were singing the songs of the Christians and feared they might convert to Christianity.”
If convicted, the two Christians could be sentenced to a prison term of up to three months, and/or a fine, CP reports. The court could also shut down their church.
In a website statement about the persecution of Christians in Sudan, the US Open Doors advocacy organization said: “[W]hile government policy has changed, social attitudes about Christians have not, especially outside Khartoum. There, the culture and surrounding society are still majority-Muslim and suspicious of any other faith… [T]he government has not put real protections into place for Christians and other religious minorities.” Sudan ranks 13th on the US Open Doors World Watch List 2022 of the top 50 countries where Christians are persecuted.
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