Khartoum (Agenzia Fides) - "A civil society movement has for the first time brought all Sudanese people together, and the church is part of it", said Bishop Yunan Tombe Trille Kuku of the Diocese of El-Obeid in south-central Sudan, commenting on the popular protests that led to the fall of President Omar al-Bashir on 10 April. However, the Bishop stressed that "the latest developments may mean nothing for the church … unless the system of treating them as NGOs (nongovernmental organizations) is removed".
In the massive demonstrations that began in December as protests against cuts in government subsidies for bread and fuel, which eventually led the military to depose President Omar al-Bashir, members of the Christian minority have taken a leading role of Sudan, in particular young people. Christian groups have held prayers and services during the protests, with Muslims often joining in the singing of the hymns.
Sudan’s Constitution guarantees freedom of worship, but Islam has remained the de facto state religion and Shariah, or Islamic law, governs many civic institutions. Preaching by non-Muslims is officially banned. Religious groups are required to register with the government as nonprofit NGOs, and their activities and personnel are closely watched. Church leaders have also been frequently arrested and harassed by the national intelligence service.
Now the crowds have erected barricades on the streets outside army headquarters, pressing the military’s governing council to step aside in favor of civilians. (L.M) (Agenzia Fides, 26/4/2019)