Sudan (MNN) — This tale of persecution is so unjust that even the secular news outlets are picking it up.
Meriam Yehya Ibrahim, a 27-year-old woman in Sudan who is 8-months pregnant, has been sentenced to death for being a Christian. On top of that, Sudan’s Islamic courts sentenced Ibrahim to 100 lashings for “adultery” because she’s married to a Christian man: a union considered illegitimate under Sharia law.
This case quickly drew negative attention last week from human rights organizations and foreign embassies. Ibrahim is being denied hospitalization for her difficult pregnancy, and her 20-month-old son is “always getting sick due to lack of hygiene and bugs” in the prison, Ibrahim’s attorney told CNN.
Though shocking, the court’s ruling is part of a larger trend, says Matt Parker, Executive Vice President of Kids Alive International.
“Over the past 18 months in particular, we’ve seen a real surge in the level of persecution against Christians,” Parker notes. “It’s really an ongoing campaign that the government in Sudan has to establish an Islamic state and rid the country of Christians, Christian influence.”
The Kids Alive leader recalls meeting with a Christian pastor in Khartoum last year.
“During our conversation, he leaned across the table and said to me, ‘Dark, difficult days are coming for Christians in Sudan,’ and he was absolutely right.”
Kids Alive has a home in Sudan where they provide shelter, food, education, and the Gospel to vulnerable children. Parker explains, “These are kids who have absolutely nothing. They come from the streets; they have nowhere else to go.”
An estimated 10% of Sudan’s children are orphans. Many live on the streets or in refugee camps; sometimes they are taken into “camps” and forcefully converted to Islam.
Sudanese officials have been targeting Kids Alive staff because they tell the children under their care about Jesus. Organizations doing similar work have been forced to shut down.
“Our staff have been intimidated by the authorities, and it’s been a very difficult few months for them,” shares Parker.
“But we’re committed to continuing with these kids; we want to see these kids reach their full potential.”
Pray about the new precedence Ibrahim’s case sets for believers in Sudan. Ask the Lord to intervene and protect His followers. Pray that the rising tide of persecution would be stemmed.
“This is a very serious situation that is facing Christians in Sudan,” says Parker. “I don’t see any end at this point to the persecution that is taking place.
“The reality is: the government in Sudan is just determined to create an Islamic state.”