Sudan: Displaced Christians Brace for ‘World’s Worst’ Hunger Crisis

April 18, 2024

Most Sudanese Christians are Roman Catholic or Protestant. There is a small number of Greek Orthodox Christians there. Click here for information about Annunciation Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Khartoum.

For previous coverage of the persecution of Christians in Sudan, see here.

“Forgotten War: Sudan’s Displaced Christians Brace for ‘World’s Worst’ Hunger Crisis,” by Jayson Casper, Christianity Today, April 16, 2024:

The United Nations stated that the “world’s worst hunger crisis” is looming, warning that one-third of Sudan’s 49 million people suffer acute food insecurity and 222,000 children could die of starvation within weeks. Yet an international emergency response plan, endorsed by UN agencies including the Cindy McCain-led World Food Program, is only six percent funded.

Sudanese Christians feel like “no one cares.”

Five years earlier, they had great hope. In 2019 a popular revolution overthrew longtime dictator Omar al-Bashir, wanted for war crimes against his people. The new civilian government repealed the law of apostasy, removed Islamist elements from the bureaucracy, and implemented other democratic reforms. But in 2021 the general of the army, in cooperation with the leader of the Rapid Support Forces (RSF)—a government-aligned paramilitary group accused of the atrocities in Darfur—deposed the prime minister.

Continuing negotiations with civilian leaders demanded a merger of the two armed forces, but neither general could agree on terms. And while it is not clear who fired the first shot, last year on April 15 the conflict exploded in the capital of Khartoum. Much of the North African nation is now a war zone….

Identity is a big problem in Sudan. Our country is African, but we speak Arabic. This is why we joined both regional alliances. If you say “Arab” to someone from the Nuba Mountains or South Sudan, it means the people who killed their families, raped their daughters, and tried to Islamize them. But in the north of the country, the Arab is his friend, family, and who he wants to bring to Jesus.

When we started reaching out to Muslims, some from the south resisted, saying: We don’t want to see them in heaven, they don’t deserve salvation. I understand this sentiment. But some of our congregations operate out of their tribal identity and refuse to speak Arabic.

For a long time, many in our country wanted to call ourselves an Arab republic. We are part of the Arab League, but when we need African help, we start calling ourselves Africans. But in the end, we are Africans who speak Arabic, multiethnic in our tribal makeup.

Sudan is a crossover country—some have origins from Yemen and East Africa—and most of us are of mixed heritage. Only the Nuba Mountains and a few others are not. We were even a Christian country until the 14th century, and in the 19th century an eschatological Muslim movement killed many Christians and forced others to convert to Islam.

Presbyterian missionaries came in 1899 and started the first schools for girls, agriculture, and vocational training. The Church of Christ was established in 1920 and is the largest evangelical denomination today. But Sudan is neither a Muslim country nor a Christian country, and likewise, neither Arab nor African entirely.

We joined the Middle East and North Africa Evangelical Alliance because we speak Arabic and face similar issues with Islam and government discrimination. We joined the Association of Evangelicals in Africa because we face the same issues with ethnic identity. I checked with WEA regional leadership—it is not a problem to belong to two alliances….