ZURICH, June 18, 2018 – Christians in Sudan are “more vulnerable than ever,” according to John Eibner’s contribution to Christianity in North Africa and West Asia, volume 2 of the authoritative Edinburgh Companions to Global Christianity. This new volume is being launched today at Heythrop College, University of London.
Eibner’s contribution to the volume focuses on the Christian communities of the Republic of Sudan. Ever since Sudan attained independence in 1956, the Sudanese Christian community has confronted the ruling elite’s attempt to achieve “the restoration of Muslim and Arab supremacy after half a century of British rule.” In this environment, Eibner writes, “Christians were expected to accept politically and socially disadvantageous conditions of dhimmitude in accordance with the spirit, if not the letter, of Sharia norms.”
Islamization and Arabization failed in South Sudan, at the cost of two civil wars in which millions perished, but it intensified in North Sudan (today the Republic of Sudan) after the South’s secession in 2011.
In the religiously mixed Nuba Mountains and Southern Blue Nile regions of the Republic of Sudan, which have long been the scene of revolt against the central government in Khartoum, Christian communities are among the targets of the Sudanese military’s counterinsurgency campaigns. In the capital Khartoum and other cities, the government periodically arrests local Christian leaders and closes church buildings. Protestant denominations and those churches whose members have roots in the Nuba Mountains and the Southern Blue Nile bear the brunt of the persecution.
In the Republic of Sudan today, Eibner concludes, “Christianity is more vulnerable than ever,” due to both increased state pressure and decreasing interest from Western partners. However, despite severe trials and tribulations, Eibner notes that few Sudanese Christians believe that Christianity is destined to disappear from the country.
Christianity in North Africa and West Asia is edited by Kenneth Ross (University of Edinburgh), Mariz Tadros (University of Sussex), and Todd Johnson (Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary). It brings together contributions from thirty-eight authors to serve as a comprehensive reference guide to Christianity in every country in North Africa and West Asia.
Today’s book launch will feature a panel including contributors Eibner, Tadros, Hratch Tchilingirian, and Anthony O’Mahony, and introductory remarks by Ross. The launch takes place in the context of a conference on “Eastern Christian Tradition in the World Today,” hosted by the Centre for Eastern Christianity at Heythrop College, University of London.
Christian Solidarity International (CSI) is an international Christian human rights organization, campaigning for religious liberty and human dignity, and assisting victims of religious persecution, victimized children and victims of catastrophe.
CONTACT: Joel Veldkamp, [email protected]