Christian children in Sudan’s refugee camps are forced to recite Islamic prayers in order to receive food, according to reports received by sources close to Aid to the Church in Need.

A contact, who asked to remain anonymous for security reasons, described how Christian refugees from South Sudan are “in a terrible situation” in refugee camps there.

Speaking of the plight of these children in Sudan, the ACN source said: “We have heard that children are conditioned to say Islamic prayers before being given food. This is not right. These children are Christian. They should be respected for that.”

The source, who estimates that 700,000 South Sudanese Christians are refugees in Sudan, added: “The majority are left in camps, some in a very terrible situation. They are confined in those places. They are not allowed to leave and travel further north to the cities.”

ACN also received reports that it is hard for refugee families to survive on food provided by the government. A monthly food parcel for a family lasts little more than two weeks – leading parents to seek provisions in the local market.

Items provided by the UN are sold in the market – many still marked with UNICEF or UNHCR logos. ACN’s source went on to say that the Khartoum government has hampered charities seeking to provide urgent assistance to the camps ad preventing them from overseeing emergency help. He said: “We have heard the story that the government does not allow any other outside agencies to give support, including the Church agencies. The government is very aware that the Church is desperately trying to support those in need throughout the world.

Referring to visits made to displaced families in South Sudan, the source said: “I tell them I was once a refugee like you – that was not the end of the road… and now I can contribute something positive to society.”

As he described people being forced to leave their country, he compared refugees to the young Jesus Christ who fled with his parents to Egypt as a child, adding: “We call on humanity to have heart for refugees. Refugees should be given genuine respect, dignity and their rights should be upheld.”

The source’s comments come amid reports of increasing persecution against Christians in Sudan with the regime reportedly intensifying its Islamising agenda.

In May, 2017 a source who also requested anonymity for security reasons, told ACN: “Churches in Sudan are being destroyed but it’s claimed to just be ‘town planning’. The Church is not allowed to buy property.

Similarly, a Sudan Church source told ACN: “Churches are being torn down each month – you never hear that about mosques.”

Reports also note that Church leaders are increasingly concerned about Sudan’s particu lar intolerance towards Christian women. In June 2015, 12 Christian women were arrested as they left a church for wearing trousers or skirts which were seen to be “indecent or immoral dress”.

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Love One Another

Owe no one anything, except to love one another; for one who loves another has fulfilled the law.

The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery; You shall not murder; You shall not steal; You shall not covet”; and any other commandment, are summed up in this word, “Love your neighbour as yourself.”

Love does no wrong to a neighbour; therefore, love is the fulfilling of the law.

 

Romans 13: 8-10

Second Reading Sunday 10 September, 2017