Christians are celebrating after the new Sudanese Government abolished the country’s apostasy law.
Until last week, Muslims in Sudan could be sentenced to death for converting to Christianity, and even discussing other religions could lead to arrest.
This greatly limited Christian evangelism, and Christians were routinely persecuted for their beliefs – including having their property seized by the state.
Sudan has been one of the worst countries in the world for Christian persecution, and is listed as number seven in Open Doors’ World Watch List. But campaigners are hoping for greater freedom under the new government.
Paul Robinson, CEO of Christian charity Release International, said: “The direction of travel in Sudan was towards ever-tighter Islamic law and restrictions on religious freedom. Today that direction of travel is being reversed. There is freedom in the air.”
An Open Doors expert on sub-Saharan Africa called it “an answer to years of fervent prayer by Christians around the world”.
“We applaud the government for showing firm intent in ensuring respect for the human rights of all Sudan’s citizens no matter faith, gender or ethnicity.”
Sudan’s apostasy law came to international attention in 2014 when a woman was arrested for marrying a Christian man.
Despite being raised a Christian herself, Meriam Ibrahim was sentenced to death for turning her back on Islam because her absentee father was a Muslim. She was also sentenced to 100 lashes for the separate offence of marrying a Christian man.
She refused to renounce her faith and gave birth while in prison on death row, but was eventually released and permitted to leave the country.