Church leaders in Sudan were detained and questioned last month after Muslim extremists upset about the presence of their worship building locked it shut, sources said.
Hardline Muslims locked the building of the Sudanese Church of Christ (SCOC) in Al Hag Abdalla, about 85 miles southeast of Khartoum in Madani, Al Jazirah state, on Feb. 21, said Dalman Hassan, an SCOC evangelist arrested on Feb. 27 and released along with the church pastor later that day.
Hassan said the Muslims accused church members of hostility toward Islam by holding gatherings on Fridays, the Muslim day of mosque prayer.
Church member Kotti Hassan Dalman said the hardline Muslims also charged the church with providing food to children to win them to Christianity and with taking their land for the worship building.
Church members said the land belongs to a Catholic school, and that hardline Muslims fabricated the land-grab charge because they don’t want a Christian congregation worshipping in the area. Police who arrested the evangelist and another leader identified only as Pastor Stephanou on Feb. 27 requested and received ownership papers showing the land did not belong to the Muslims, church members said.
Persecution of Christians by non-state actors continued before and after the coup. In Open Doors’ 2022 World Watch List of the countries where it is most difficult to be a Christian, Sudan remained at No. 13, where it ranked the previous year, as attacks by non-state actors continued and religious freedom reforms at the national level were not enacted locally.
“We are urging the religious leaders and believers’ all over the country to pray for us,” church leaders said in a statement on social media.