SUDAN: Christians Treated as ‘Second Class’ Citizens
The legal situation of Christians in Sudan is worrying. The Bishop of the South Sudanese diocese of Tambura-Yambio, Eduardo Hiiboro Kussala, said when he visited the headquarters of the International Catholic Charity Aid to the Church in Need on the July 10, reports CISA.
"In Sudan bishops and priests have been living de facto as illegals since South Sudan's independence," Bishop Eduardo Hiiboro Kussala told Church In Need.
The cleric added that Sudan's constitution did guarantee all citizens equal rights regardless of their religious affiliation, but the reality was different: "When we confront those in charge with this they emphasize that Christians have the same rights as their compatriots, but this changes nothing in legal terms.
“Bishops and priests are not granted passports and they do not have legal status. They are able to leave the country but re-entry may be refused. Priests have already been expelled; and the bishops are condemned to remain silent," Bishop Kussala claimed.
The Bishop of Tambura-Yambio explained: "Christians in Sudan can attend divine service unmolested, but there is no genuine freedom of religion and conscience in the country. This is illustrated by the disgraceful case of Meriam Yahia Ibrahim Ishaq, which, unlike any others, has been widely publicized.
“This 27-year-old Sudanese woman, the daughter of a Muslim man and an Orthodox Christian woman, was arrested in May and initially condemned to death for "apostasy" Bishop Kussala said.
"Among those around her she had long been known as a Christian. For whatever motives, she was blackmailed and then charged. The government expressed no view on the matter and simply left it all to the Islamic clerics," he added.
The accusation of apostasy was leveled at her because Meriam Isaq's father is a Muslim.