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: Sudan is mostly Sunni Islam with a small Christian population.
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. Three prisoners were released in 2017 after much international attention. The government regularly detains and imprisons Christians, as it has since the 1970s. Short-term detentions as a form of harassment are becoming more common than long-term imprisonments.
ACCESS TO BIBLES: Instability and a complete lack of infrastructure make it impossible to obtain a Bible in South Kordofan state and the Blue Nile region. In addition, most Christians are too poor to afford one.
VOM WORK: VOM provides clean water, medical care, Bibles and support to believers living in South Kordofan state.