Emboldened by government calls for a Sudan based on Islamic law since the secession of South Sudan, Muslim residents have attacked Christians trying to finish constructing their church building near Khartoum. Meanwhile, local authorities are threatening to demolish three other church buildings that already exist.
Muslims in the north, where an estimated 1 million Christians still live following the secession of South Sudan on July 9, fear the potential influence of the church, they said.
"They want to reduce or restrict the number of churches, so that they can put more pressure on believers," said a church leader on condition of anonymity.
The Sudanese Church of Christ (SCOC) congregation in Omdurman West, across the Nile River from Khartoum, has continued to meet for Sunday worship in a building without a roof in spite of opposition from area Muslims and local authorities. Claiming that Christianity was no longer an accepted religion in the country, Muslims in the Hay al Sawra, Block 29 area of Omdurman West on August 5 attacked SCOC members who were constructing the church building, area sources said.
"We do not want any presence of churches in our area," shouted members of the mob as they threw stones at the Christians, the sources said.
The SCOC has been trying to erect a church building on the site since it obtained the land in 1997, but both government officials and area Muslim residents have used delay tactics to prevent it, according to a Christian who lives in the area. The SCOC in that area of Omdurman is still trying to get permission from the Islamic government in Khartoum to construct the new church building, Christian sources in Khartoum said.
In Madinat al Fath, a different section of Omdurman, leaders from SCOC, ...1