Date: May 13, 2013
By Joseph DeCaro, BosNewsLife International Correspondent
KHARTOUM, SUDAN (BosNewsLife)– Sudan's besieged Christian minority faced more difficulties Thursday, May 8, after the government warned that no new licenses would be granted for church construction.
Al-Fatih El-sir, Sudan's Minister of Guidance and Endowments, said that no new church buildings were needed as "the existing structures should suffice".
In a statement, monitored by BosNewsLife's news partner Worthy News, El-sir noted "a decrease" in the number of Sudanese congregations and an increase in abandoned churches.
However local Christians said no new church has been built in Sudan since South Sudan seceded in 2011.
Rights activists said the latest move was part of a government attempt to systematically eradicate Christianity from the land through a series of anti-Christian actions by President Omar al-Bashir’s Islamist government.
CHRISTIAN SOLIDARITY WORLDWIDE
Advocacy group Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) said Sudan already deported a senior church leader and two expatriate missionaries, one from France and one from Egypt, for no apparent reason.
In February, the Evangelical Literature Center at the Sudan Presbyterian Evangelical Church in the capital Khartoum was raided. Additionally three South Sudanese were arrested and Christian books and films were confiscated, Christians said.
In January, the government demolished seven churches in the Khartoum in just two days for paperwork "irregularities".
Rights investigators said the actions were bolstered by a government backed media campaign combating the "Christianizing" of Sudan where , President Bashir's has pledged that the country's next constitution would be entirely Islamic.
In response, the aid group Barnabas Fund said is has begun relocating Christians to South Sudan with Operation Exodus. To date, Exodus has rescued 4,415 Christians, according to Barnabas Fund estimates.