By BosNewsLife Africa Service
KHARTOUM, SUDAN (BosNewsLife)– Christians in Sudan faced another tense day Wednesday, April 29, amid reports that followers of President Omar Hassan al-Bashir have intensified attacks on Christians and others they believe support the International Criminal Court’s recent decision to prosecute the president for his alleged involvement in atrocities in the Darfur region.
Among those attacked is Aburahaman Tai, a leader of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church in the Nuba Mountains village of Chat in central Sudan, who was beaten and injured by a suspected government militia in early March, news reports said.
Compass Direct News, a Christian news agency, said the building used by Tai’s congregation and the Sudanese Church of Christ was set on fire on March 27 by the same group, which reportedly supports Islamic extremism.
Church members fled the scene in fear for their lives, and Tai’s congregation has since been meeting for worship outdoors, Christians said. Elsewhere, in Dungala, the capital of Northern state, a church building was turned into a mosque and some believers were forcibly converted to Islam, Christian rights investigators said.
There has also been pressure on former Muslims. In one of the latest known incidents, a Sudanese woman who converted from Islam to Christianity was reportedly forced into hiding after the people closest to her suddenly turned on her and left her beaten, homeless, and in jail for becoming a follower of Jesus Christ.
Compass Direct News reported that Halima Bubkier converted to Christianity last year after watching the Jesus Film about the birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Her husband had initially supported her new found faith and allowed her to attend church services because of positive changes he saw in her, including her ability to overcome her alcoholic problem, Christians said.
But when word of her conversion spread to the community, Islamic hardliners felt she had betrayed Islam and blocked her husband from participating in communal meals during Ramadan.
“My husband was totally rejected by his colleagues,” Bubkier, who lives in northern Sudan, was quoted as saying. “They even refused to eat the food that I had cooked for him, saying that Muslims could not eat food cooked by infidels.”
The new follower of Christ reportedly said she never expected the hardships that followed.
Her husband, angry for being ousted from the Muslim community, threw an armchair at her and injured Bubkier’s back, Christians said. He then removed all his belongings from the house and set it on fire with all her possessions still inside, she said. He allegedly also chased her away. It comes amid concerns over Islamic extremism in Sudan, an atmosphere critics claim has been encouraged by the government.
President Omar Hassan al-Bashir has denied wrongdoing and is refusing to appear in front of the International Criminal Court.