A pastor in Gezira State, Sudan, has been sentenced to serve one month in prison for “disturbing the peace” after an attack by Islamist extremists.
Pastor Estefanos and three women from the church required medical attention after the extremists attacked a service on Sunday 10 April.
Bibles and furniture belonging to the church, in the town of al-Haj Abdallah, were also damaged. The Islamist group had previously appealed to the local authorities to have the church closed.
A police officer who is a member of the extremist group filed the complaint against Pastor Estefanos.
The pastor and one of the attackers were both convicted in a hearing on 25 April of “disturbing the peace”. Each was given a one-month sentence.
Pastor Estefanos plans to appeal against his sentence.
Sudan is a Muslim-majority country, where Christians are estimated at 3% of the population. Since the end of President Omar al-Bashir’s 20-year spell in office in April 2019 the country had moved towards greater religious tolerance, including abolishing in July 2020 the death penalty for apostasy from Islam.
There are fears, however, that a military coup undertaken in October 2021 will lead to increased persecution of Christians.
Ask that Pastor Estefanos’ appeal will be successful, and that whatever the outcome the Lord will grant peace to both the pastor and the church. Pray that the authorities will not heed the calls of the extremists, and that the church in al-Haj Abdallah will be able to meet in safety.