(RNS) Christians in Sudan frequently face arrests, impromptu questioning and expulsion. But this month, conditions worsened after the government announced a ban on the construction of new churches.
Shalil Abdullah, the Sudanese minister for guidance and religious endowments, made the announcement on July 12, sparking criticism from top Christian clerics who warned of shrinking worship space in the mainly Muslim and Arab north.
After South Sudan’s independence in 2011, many Christians moved to the newly formed country, which has a large Christian population. But a sizable number remained.
Abdullah argued there is no need to grant plots of land for new churches since the existing ones were enough for the remaining Christians.
Editor’s Note: Meriam Ibrahim was flown to Rome June 24 by the Italian government along with her husband and two children.