Declaration for Freedom of Religion Signed in Sudan, Moving Country Closer to Religious Freedom

A Christian church service in the Nuba Mountains, South Kordofan (File photo: World Watch Monitor)

After a two-day meeting, Christian and Muslim leaders in Sudan signed an agreement promoting peace and religious freedom. It’s the first of its kind and a significant step forward.

“If we look [casually] at this agreement, we say, ‘Well, that’s nice, these leaders have agreed on religious freedom.’ But, when you look at it in the context of what has happened in Sudan over the last several months, it is yet another step in the right direction,” Voice of the Martyrs Todd Nettleton explains.

Islamic dictator Omar al-Bashir ruled Sudan with an iron fist for 30 years. Coup leaders overthrew Bashir last April, and the Sudanese people have taken impressive strides toward freedom ever since.

See our full Sudan coverage here.

Sudan sees significant change

For decades, police used Sudan’s apostasy law to severely persecute Christians. Transitional authorities threw out that law this summer.

“There is an openness now because of that apostasy law being overturned. It is not such a dangerous conversation for a Muslim to be curious about Christianity, to be curious about the person of Jesus Christ,” Nettleton says.

While much of Sudan’s progress is positive, not everyone trusts the transitional government. Some Sudanese church leaders express doubt and skepticism.

“There are people on that sovereign council that were the ‘right-hand men’ for Omar al Bashir. So there is certainly reason for caution, but think about some of the very concrete changes that have been made this year,” Nettleton says.

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SOURCE: Mission Network News, Kevin Zeller

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