More muscular inter-faith dialogue ....
A Christian has been jailed in Khartoum, Sudan for declining to leave the country after authorities revoked his Sudanese citizenship, sources said. (Morning Star News)
Sudan Revokes Citizenship of Christian, Jails Him for Failing to Leave Country Deacon of Eritrean descent targeted for Christian activities.By Our Sudan CorrespondentJUBA, South Sudan, December 9, 2013 (Morning Star News) – A Christian has been jailed in Khartoum, Sudan for declining to leave the country after authorities revoked his Sudanese citizenship, sources said.
Early this year National Security and Intelligence Services (NISS) personnel had required Zawengel Abraham Mikael, a 41-year-old deacon of Eritrean descent, to frequently report to their offices in Khartoum because of his activities at a church and at a Christian-run, international school where he worked as an administrator, the sources said.
NISS personnel told Mikael in May that President Omar el-Bashir had revoked his Sudanese citizenship and ordered him out of the country. When Mikael asked the NISS personnel to provide a copy of the order, initially they refused but later showed him one, the sources said.
With neither Eritrean nor Sudanese citizenship, Mikael had applied to the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Khartoum for relocation to another country as a religious refugee; he was awaiting a decision when NISS agents jailed him on Oct. 26, the sources said.
“He has been transferred to Kober Prison in Khartoum North without charges,” said one source. “Authorities have denied him visits, and he is not allowed to talk to his family members. He cannot see his newly born baby because he is in custody.”
His Sudanese wife was allowed to visit him only once, on Nov. 29, the sources said.
Arriving with his family to Sudan as a child, Mikael had obtained Sudanese citizenship in 1991, said the sources, who requested anonymity due to security concerns. His arrest came in part in retaliation for applying for asylum with the UNHCR, they said, adding that Mikael told NISS personnel, “Where should I go?” and, “Sudan is my country.”
“He told them that he had nowhere to go because he had a Sudanese citizenship, and had not any citizenship of another country, and his wife is a Sudanese,” a source said.
Following the secession of South Sudan in July 2011, Sudan since 2012 has expelled foreign Christians, bulldozed church buildings on the pretext that they belonged to South Sudanese and arrested church leaders. Many foreign Christians have either left or been deported.
NISS personnel had initially required Mikael to report to them earlier this year because of his church activities and his work as an administrator at Nile Valley Academy. Foreign teachers at the school have either left the country or been expelled, and the Sudanese parents of its pupils are said to have bought the institution and terminated its Christian segment of content.
A source said Mikael has been persecuted for his faith because he is vulnerable as a foreigner in a country that Bashir has vowed will become more Arabic and Islamic.
“We have done our best by asking the authorities concerned, but there was nothing we can do because we were told that it was a presidential decree,” the source said.
Another source added, “The important thing for us is to have a greater number of Christians to pray for Zawengel.”
In a report issued in April, Christian Solidarity Worldwide noted an increase in arrests, detentions and deportations of Christians since December 2012. The organization also reported that systematic targeting of Nuba and other ethnic groups suggests the resurgence of an official policy of “Islamization and Arabization.”
Due to its treatment of Christians and other human rights violations, Sudan has been designated a Country of Particular Concern by the U.S. State Department since 1999, and in April the U.S. Committee on International Religious Freedom recommended the country remain on the list this year.
Photo: Sudan flag (The World Factbook)