Sudan (MNN) — Three months of nationwide protests – reportedly the longest in Sudan’s history – are producing results. Bloomberg News describes demonstrations as the “biggest challenge” to President Omar al-Bashir’s 30-year reign.
On Friday, Bashir stepped down as leader of Sudan’s governing party. He still holds his post as Sudan’s president, but that could quickly change.
What does all of this mean for Christians? Only time will tell. David Curry heads up the Christian persecution watchdog group Open Doors USA. While demonstrations don’t currently pose a threat to believers, he says, it’s hard to tell what will happen next.
“This is not unlike Egypt during the so-called Arab Spring where the entire population – whether Muslim or Christian or atheist – rose up against the Muslim Brotherhood. This feels more like that.”
What’s happening in Sudan?
Sudan is no stranger to conflict. More Sudan history here.
Bashir rose to power through a military coup in 1989, and has ruled the nation with an iron fist ever since. During the early 2000s, conflict in the Darfur region turned into genocide – allegedly led by Bashir – and left hundreds of thousands dead.
In 2011, South Sudan gained independence and took most of Sudan’s oil revenues, plunging the nation into economic disparity. An outrageous spike in food and fuel prices in December 2018 triggered the current round of protests. They quickly became a call for Bashir’s ouster.
According to Curry, “Bashir is a war criminal, considered a war criminal. He has a radical Muslim agenda that has persecuted Christians, that’s why Sudan has always been so high – number six on the World Watch List this year.
“Sudan has suffered under his leadership for a long, long time.”
In an in-depth country dossier found here, Open Doors researchers describe why following Christ is so difficult in Sudan:
Historically, Islam is deeply embedded in Sudan’s society and the ruling elite aims at enforcing an Islamic regime in the country. Apostasy is criminalized and blasphemy laws are being used country-wide to prosecute Christians. The president has repeatedly stated that Sudan is to be an Islamic state and that there should be no room for other religions since South Sudan declared independence.
“It’s hard for Christians to function in Sudan,” Curry continues. “They’re not treated as equal citizens. They have a lot of threats on their life separate from how the government responds to these protests.”
How to help
This situation is fluid and much could change in the days ahead. Please continue praying for the leaders of Sudan and for its Christian population.
“When you see this kind of insecurity and instability in a place like Sudan, we need to pray for peace.”
You can also support Sudan’s persecuted believers by giving to Open Doors USA. Click here to learn how.
Header image is a representative stock photo courtesy Open Doors USA.