Date:  February 15, 2023

Convert from Islam in hiding from relatives, extremists.

By Our Sudan Correspondent

North Darfur state, Sudan. (Creative Commons)

North Darfur state, Sudan. (Creative Commons)

JUBA, South Sudan (Morning Star News) – An evangelist in western Sudan has gone into a hiding following attempted attacks by Muslim extremists, he said.

Ahmad Adam Mohamad, 49, of North Darfur state went into a hiding after his Muslim uncles accused him of apostasy earlier this month. He disciples about 25 Christians of Muslim upbringing, which has angered his relatives, he said.

Family members on Thursday (Feb. 9) sent a group of Muslim extremists aboard a vehicle to search for him, but he was not at home, he said.

“Again on Saturday, Feb. 11, another group was sent to my house with a mission to arrest and kidnap me,” he said, adding that he narrowly escaped.

Relatives had come to his house on Feb. 6 and threatened him, saying he must renounce Christianity and return to Islam, he said.

Mohamad, who put his faith in Christ 10 years ago, said relatives have been monitoring his house.

“The situation is extremely difficult – I am not safe at all,” he said. “I urge all the brothers to pray and help me get out from this area to a safer place.”

He has been moving from house to house to avoid being arrested or kidnapped by Muslim extremists.

The church leader said he has missed meals because he was unable to go to the local market to work.

“I have not eaten for almost two days now,” he told Morning Star News on Monday (Feb. 13).

Christians in Sudan, and Darfur in particular, are increasingly experiencing persecution from Muslims extremists. Similar cases have occurred over the past months in the region.

In Open Doors’ 2023 World Watch List of the countries where it is most difficult to be a Christian, Sudan was ranked No. 10, up from No. 13 the previous year, as attacks by non-state actors continued and religious freedom reforms at the national level were not enacted locally.

Sudan had dropped out of the top 10 for the first time in six years when it first ranked No. 13 in the 2021 World Watch List. The U.S. State Department’s International Religious Freedom Report states that conditions have improved somewhat with the decriminalization of apostasy and a halt to demolition of churches, but that conservative Islam still dominates society; Christians face discrimination, including problems in obtaining licenses for constructing church buildings.

The U.S. State Department in 2019 removed Sudan from the list of Countries of Particular Concern (CPC) that engage in or tolerate “systematic, ongoing and egregious violations of religious freedom” and upgraded it to a watch list. The State Department removed Sudan from the Special Watch List in December 2020.

Sudan had previously been designated as a CPC from 1999 to 2018.

Following two years of advances in religious freedom in Sudan after the end of the Islamist dictatorship under Omar al-Bashir in 2019, the specter of state-sponsored persecution returned with the military coup of Oct. 25, 2021.

After Bashir was ousted from 30 years of power in April 2019, the transitional civilian-military government had managed to undo some sharia (Islamic law) provisions. It outlawed the labeling of any religious group “infidels” and thus effectively rescinded apostasy laws that made leaving Islam punishable by death.

With the Oct. 25, 2021 coup, Christians in Sudan fear the return of the most repressive and harsh aspects of Islamic law. Abdalla Hamdok, who had led a transitional government as prime minister starting in September 2019, was detained under house arrest for nearly a month before he was released and reinstated in a tenuous power-sharing agreement in November 2021.

Hamdock had been faced with rooting out longstanding corruption and an Islamist “deep state” from Bashir’s regime – the same deep state that is suspected of rooting out the transitional government in the Oct. 25, 2021 coup.

Persecution of Christians by non-state actors continued before and after the coup.

The Christian population of Sudan is estimated at 2 million, or 4.5 percent of the total population of more than 43 million.