Please Pray for Sudan in Worship this Week (updated 4/26/12)
Destruction of the Gereif Bible School Compound (4/21/12)
Last Saturday a radical Muslim group of several hundred persons overran church grounds in a neighborhood of Khartoum, Sudan. Other Muslims recorded videos of the destruction. (See links below.) On Sunday (April 22) SPEC and those from other Christian denominations gathered on the grounds of Gereif to pray and encourage each other. Others, including Muslims, women’s groups and neighbors, joined them.
Several Muslim speakers to the group apologized “because this evil act was done in the name of Islam which does not represent the spirit of true Islam.” (The mob was apparently incited by an imam at a neighboring mosque at Friday prayers.) Dr. Faroug al Bushra, Secretary General of the Sudan Inter Religious Council [of which we think that Ismail Kanani is a member and told us last fall) said that this act does not reflect the spirit of the true Islam.
Apparently the elderly cook received serious injuries and Rev. John slight injuries. The contents of buildings were removed and burned as were some sections of the buildings. Money was stolen, computers and other equipment destroyed. The following facilities were involved:
- a church used by several congregations
- home for the elderly
- a medical clinic
- Gereif Bible School
- staff living quarters
“‘No one could believe it. Nothing like this has ever happened before,’ Yousif Matar [SPEC General Secretary] said. While Sudan is known for long and bitter conflicts fuelled by religious and ethnic animosity, communal violence in the capital is relatively rare. But communities also live separately for the most part and distrust between them often runs deep. Ethiopians, Eritreans and Indians, as well as Christians from Sudan and South Sudan, use the [Gereif] church, [Rev.] Matar said. A Reuters witness on Sunday saw smoke rising from some of the trees on the church compound, and security vehicles waiting nearby.” (Reuters [Khartoum], April 22, 2012)
The government announced its intent to take over the whole compound after razing the buildings. However, the Minister of Religious Affairs formed a committee from the Ministry and the SPEC to investigate the issues. Southerners (anyone whose grandfather was born in the south, even if they have lived all their lives in the north) can legally stay in the north. Presently southern Sudanese remaining in the north are not being permitted to leave, nor are they permitted to stay. This harassment will likely continue as some radical groups want all Christians our.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DySjnwSSCRc&feature=related video of ransacking of buildings and burning of contents
http://www.irinnews.org/Report/95335/SUDAN-SOUTH-SUDAN-South-Sudanese-in-Khartoum-increasingly-fearful news report and a picture of the interior of Gereif Church