|World Watch List Rank||World Watch List Score|
|President Omar al-Bashir||41.5 million|
|WWL Rank in 2018||Persecution Level|
Sudan is a staunchly Islamic country known for supporting Islamic extremist groups. President al-Bashir wants to establish an Islamic state and ensure that all citizens follow strict Sharia (Islamic) laws. Sudanese Christians face persecution daily. Churches are destroyed, church leaders are often arrested and falsely accused of crimes they did not commit, and there are extremely high levels of violence.
The WWL 2018 reporting period has been tough in many ways: It has been tough because Christians are losing their churches that they used to gather in and worship for years. It has been tough because the government has arrested or intimidated many Christian leaders. At least on one occasion the government exerted huge pressure on a committee elected by the church to hand over leadership to a committee that the government ‘supports’.
Islam is deeply embedded in Sudan's culture, and following the secession of the Christian-oriented South Sudan, Sudan became an even more majority-Islamic country. Sharia (Islamic law) is the foundation of Sudan's legal system, and the regime of President al-Bashir has made it clear the country is a Muslim country and should adopt a Sharia constitution. As well as using the blasphemy laws to target Christians for arrest and imprisonment, the government also keeps demolishing churches, often at very short notice.
The ethnic-cultural landscape of the country is also complicated: Arab versus ethnic African, Muslim versus Christian. The secession of South Sudan in 2011 did not solve these problems. This is particularly true for ethnic Africans, as a significant number are Christian and still living in the country. All Christian communities in Sudan are afraid of having conversations about their faith with Sudanese Muslims as this might be construed as being an ‘act that encourage apostasy against Islam’. The level of persecution that converts and ethnic Africans face is enormous. There have been arrests with charges of espionage; many churches have been demolished and others are on an official list awaiting demolition; many Christians are attacked indiscriminately in areas like the Nuba Mountains where there is an ongoing conflict between government forces and rebel groups.
So as not to be discovered, converts will often refrain from raising their children as Christians because this might attract the attention of the government and community leaders (since children might inadvertently reveal the faith of their parents). This fear even extends to funerals where Christians with a Muslim background who die are often buried according to Islamic rites in Muslim cemeteries, even though Christian and Muslim cemeteries are separate.
Through partnerships with the local church, Open Doors equips church leaders in Sudan for different aspects of ministry, supports community development, and provides practical assistance to persecuted Christians. This includes: