OVERVIEW: When majority Christian South Sudan gained independence from Sudan in 2011, Christians living in the north found themselves a significant minority in a country that intended to Islamize the nation and implement Sharia. However, for decades prior to South Sudan’s independence, the government of Sudan attacked the conflict areas along Sudan’s border with the South in order to exterminate Christians from those areas. Persecution of Christians in Sudan has only continued. The Islamic government, led by President Omar al-Bashir, expelled Christian missionaries in 2012 and increased its persecution of Christians, including demolishing church buildings in Khartoum and bombing schools, churches and hospitals in the Nuba Mountains region. While many Christian leaders have had to flee the country, they are still finding creative ways to spread the gospel inside Sudan. On April 12,2019, in response to a popular uprising against the Islamist regime, a military council controlled by the Islamist establishment removed President al-Bashir from power.
MAJOR RELIGIONS: 90 percent of the Sudanese people are Sunni Muslims. 5 percent are Christians.
PERSECUTOR: The Sudanese government arrests, imprisons, intimidates and tortures Christians.
WHAT IT MEANS TO BE A CHRISTIAN IN SUDAN: In Sudan, you can be a Christian and attend church openly, but you cannot evangelize. However, believers remain subject to arrest, torture, imprisonment or death for violation of Sharia, or Islamic law. Muslims cannot convert to Christianity. Christians in South Kordofan state and the Blue Nile region have been under attack for decades. Churches, schools, homes and fields have been bombed and destroyed. There is little medical care and little food because farmers have been unable to work their fields due to bombing. In Khartoum, the government is systematically destroying church buildings and pressuring church members. The government regularly detains and imprisons Christians, as it has since the 1970s.
ACCESS TO BIBLES: As a result of the regime’s long-standing campaign to exterminate Christians, Bibles are scarce and extremely difficult to obtain in Sudan’s conflict areas.
VOM WORK: VOM provides clean water, medical care, Bibles and support to believers living in conflict areas—especially the Nuba Mountain region of South Kordofan state.