News Sudan | 26-10-2021

Military Coup Is 'Terrifying News' For Sudan's Christians


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The last couple of years have given Sudanese Christians fresh hope, but attempts by the military to seize power threaten to undo this (illustrative image)

Your urgent prayers are needed for Sudan, after the military arrested several members of the transitional government and declared a state of emergency. The developments are highly disturbing for the country’s Christians, who have seen positive steps towards religious freedom under the transitional government. 

Christians in Sudan are facing renewed fear and uncertainty after the military – who had been sharing power with civilian leaders under the country\'s transitional government – launched a coup.

On Monday (25 October), at least four cabinet members were put under house arrest, and there are unconfirmed reports that civilian Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok is also being held. Civilian rule has been dissolved and a state of emergency has been declared. 

Last month, the military failed in an attempted coup; however, it stoked divisions between conservative Islamists who want a military government, and those who toppled Omar al Bashir in April 2019. Recent days have seen both sides take to the streets in demonstrations, leading to the arrests shortly before dawn on Monday.

Positive developments threaten to be undone

Since the overthrow of Omar al Bashir over two years ago, the transitional government has taken several significant steps towards religious freedom. 

After 30 years, Sudan is now a secular state and no longer under Islamic rule. The death penalty for leaving Islam has also been abolished, and last year, Sudanese Christian and Muslim leaders signed a declaration to work together on promoting religious freedom. This progress led to Sudan dropping six places to number 13 in the latest World Watch List. 

There is now fear that these positive developments – which have irked al-Bashir allies and other hardline Islamists – will be undone if the military completes its seizure of power. 

Christians now face uncertainty and fear

“Today’s news is going to strike fear into the heart of Sudan’s Christian population and remind them of the terrible persecution they have faced in the past,” says Illia Djadi, Open Doors’ senior analyst on freedom of religion in sub-Saharan Africa. 

“This coup plunges the country into a new period of uncertainty. We fear that a government controlled by the military will roll back all these constitutional changes, including guarantees of religious freedom. This is going to be terrifying news for Christians after a hopeful couple of years.”

“The news is very disturbing,” adds Yasin A, Open Doors’ Director for East Africa. “We call on Christians around the world to join us in praying for Sudan at this time. The country has come a long way since former dictator Omar al Bashir’s rule was ended. The risk of a military takeover will be a step backwards with potentially grave consequences for the church.”

Please pray for our Sudanese family

Despite the positive strides made in recent years, Christians from Muslim backgrounds continue to face extreme persecution. They could face attack, ostracism or discrimination from their families and communities, which is why many choose to keep their faith secret. Meanwhile, church buildings are often attacked or even demolished, and some churches encounter obstacles getting permission to build a places to gather. 

For Christians in Sudan, the past few years have brought hope of a brighter future. Recent events now threaten to dash this. Please pray that the positive developments made under the transitional government will not only remain, but be built upon. 


  • That the positive developments made towards religious freedom will not be undone
  • That the country’s Christians will be upheld by God’s peace
  • For peace and stability in Sudan, and pray that God will use this upheaval to draw hearts to Jesus. 

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