Who knew that Sudan was governed by Islamophobes who don’t believe Islam is compatible with religious freedom? “Religious Freedom Advocate Flees Sudan,” from Morning Star News, November 20:
JUBA, South Sudan, November 20, 2013 (Morning Star News) – A Christian lawyer helping to promote religious freedom in Sudan has fled the country after authorities threatened to kill him if he failed to report to them every day, the attorney said.
As Sudan prepares to draft a new constitution, personnel from Sudan’s National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) in Khartoum this year questioned the lawyer, Nahmia Ibrahim Omer Shaloka, about conducting training on religious freedom and reconciliation in Sudan, he told Morning Star News.
After security officials arrested him at his home in Khartoum on May 27 and seized his documents, laptop and Internet modem, they interrogated him for eight hours, he said.
“While in custody, they interrogated me about many things, including workshops I conducted on freedom of religion in Sudan,” Shaloka said.
If he failed to report to their office on a daily basis, the NISS officials threatened to kill him, he said. Later in the year, he managed to flee to another country, where the now destitute Christian from the Nuba Mountains has few options but feels that his life is less in jeopardy.
“I knew it would be bad if I had returned back to them,” Shaloka said.
As a rights worker for a Christian organization, Shaloka had been collaborating with other civil society groups urging Sudan to include religious freedom provisions in the constitution to replace the Interim National Constitution that grew out of the 2005 peace agreement with southern Sudan.
The interim constitution upholds sharia (Islamic law) as a source of legislation, and the laws and policies of the government favor Islam, according to the U.S. Department of State. If sharia is further entrenched in the Sudanese constitution, Christians fear they and people of other faiths will lose all religious and many other civil rights.
How and when the new constitution will be formulated is a matter of deep uncertainty.
Christian institutions formerly owned by or associated with southern Sudanese Christians have already faced months of seizure or destruction at the hands of authorities influenced by Islamist elements. Among them is a Catholic school that authorities confiscated on the claim that its ownership can be traced to southern Sudanese who lost citizenship rights following the secession of South Sudan on July 9, 2011….