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A 'Window' for the Gospel as Sudan's New Gov't Moves Away From Islam and Toward Democracy

09-23-2020
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Sudan

Two million people have died and millions remain homeless in Sudan following three decades of Civil War and efforts to resist Islamic Sharia law. Now that has ended, bringing new hope for the Sudanese people.

For thirty years, CBN News has reported extensively in order to raise awareness of their plight. And our stories have inspired American Christians to provide much-needed help. 

The people of South Sudan gained independence from the Islamic north in 2011, but the struggle continued for others - like the people of the Nuba Mountains. Christians in the north suffered imprisonment and Islamists destroyed churches.

A military coup brought change in 2019 with the removal of dictator Omar al-Bashir, resulting in a pledge to transition the country to democracy and free elections. 
 
Hardwired Global President Tina Ramirez said, "Enough is enough is what the people have been saying for a number of years, and finally they have had their way. I think the real challenge though is going to be if it sticks."

In late August, several rebel and political groups signed a peace agreement, ending the Civil War and moving Sudan closer to democracy and freedom. 

The transitional government abolished the death penalty for "apostates" – a term used for people who leave Islam. 

Also, the government moved to separate the state from religion which meant Islam would no longer be the basis of law in Sudan.

Todd Nettleton, chief of media relations for Voice of the Martyrs, says Sudanese Christians feel they now have a window of opportunity for ministry.

"Their attitude is, 'We don't know how long this window is going to stay open, so right now it's open. Let's go 100 miles an hour and minister and work on behalf of the kingdom of Christ.' So, they see this as a real opportune moment for gospel work in Sudan," Nettleton said.

But, Ramirez is concerned about the prospects for lasting change and says winning the war may be easier than winning the peace.

"Even though Bashir is not there, the military rulers that held him in power for more than three decades are still there and are the ones negotiating this peace," she said. "And so, the real proof will be in the next few years if it enters into the real permanent constitution after this transitional government." 

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The Trump administration is promising millions of dollars in investment and development to encourage the democratic shift. 

However, before that can happen, Sudan must be removed from the list of state sponsors of terrorism.

The US has brokered a deal that would drop Sudan from the terror list once it pays a $335 million settlement to victims of the 1998 attacks on the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.

That deal is currently stalled in the US Senate.

Meanwhile, Nettleton says Christians need to keep praying for Sudan.

"Our former Africa Regional Director Petr Jasek was imprisoned in Sudan for 14 months," Nettleton said. "Many people because of his story prayed for that country and I wonder if some of what we are seeing now is the fruit of those prayers. We need to keep praying that this transition will go forward peacefully and our Christian brothers and sisters, their rights will be respected under the ultimate, new government of Sudan."

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