Originally published in Christian Telegraph
Sudanese authorities demolished the Church of Christ in Thiba Al Hamyida, North Khartoum on June 30, after giving the church’s leaders 24 hours notice of the action. However, a mosque on the same plot of land was left standing, reports Jeremy Reynalds, Senior Correspondent for ASSIST News Service.
According to a news release from British based human rights organization Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW), after their June 29 Sunday service was interrupted by the authorities, who announced the planned demolition, church leader Rev. Kwa Shamal appealed to the North Khartoum Commissioner.
CSW said he provided evidence that the Church of Christ was the legitimate owner of the land on which the church was built.
Morning Star News reported that Abdel Aziz Omer, office director for the commissioner, told Shamal that the government had been planning to destroy the church since 2012 to make way for the construction of a hospital.
CSW said Christians in Sudan have come under increasing pressure since the secession of South Sudan on Jan. 9 2011. In April 2013, the government announced that new church licences would no longer be issued.
Since then the destruction of church buildings has continued unabated. Christians have also faced detention and interrogation by the National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS), with several non-Sudanese Christians being deported at short notice.
CSW Chief Executive Mervyn Thomas said in the news release, “It is deeply concerning that Christians in Sudan are experiencing increasing repression. The demolition of the Church of Christ, while a mosque in the same location was left untouched is … a blatant act of discrimination.”
He added that it “also appears to be part of a strategy aimed at restricting the rights of religious minorities incrementally, and in violation of the Sudan’s own constitution, which recognizes the nation as “multicultural, multi ethnic, multi lingual and multi religious.”
CSW said the organization is calling on Sudanese authorities to return the land and rebuild the Church of Christ in Thiba Al Hamyida, or to compensate the church and provide a similar location for a new building.
Christian Solidarity Worldwide works for religious freedom through advocacy and human rights, in the pursuit of justice.