Sudan con­cerns rise

The Church of England - - Front Page -

BOTH THE present Arch­bishop of Can­ter­bury, Justin Welby, and one of his pre­de­ces­sors, Lord Carey, have turned the spot­light on Sudan and its neigh­bour, South Sudan.

Arch­bishop Welby has recorded an in­ter­view for Epis­co­pal News Ser­vice in which he de­scribed a visit to the town of Bor in South Sudan, a town where 6,000 people were killed, and called for ‘re­morse­less, un­ceas­ing prayer’ for an end to the con­flict in that coun­try.

The Arch­bishop vis­ited South Sudan at the be­gin­ning of the year. The UN es­ti­mates fight­ing there has dis­placed 1.5 mil­lion people this year and that 5 mil­lion are in need of hu­man­i­tar­ian as­sis­tance.

In the in­ter­view the Arch­bishop said: “We must be bat­ter­ing the gates of heaven in prayer, re­morse­less, un­ceas­ing prayer.” He went on to call for an end to the sup­ply of arms and in­stead the sup­ply of vi­tal hu­man­i­tar­ian aid.

He paid trib­ute to the role the Church and Arch­bishop Daniel Deng Bul are play­ing in peace build­ing. “The fact that the Arch­bishop is him­self in charge of the rec­on­cil­i­a­tion ef­fort, and was sum­moned from a meet­ing in Lon­don ur­gently to take part in the first face-to-face meet­ing of the pres­i­dent and the rebel leader speaks vol­umes as to the cen­tral­ity of the church,” the Arch­bishop said.

The pres­i­dent and op­po­si­tion leader signed a peace agree­ment on 9 May. A pre­vi­ous cease­fire signed on 23 Jan­uary sub­se­quently broke down.

Speak­ing to the Sun­day Times, Lord Carey has made force­ful com­ments about the death sen­tence im­posed on a preg­nant Chris­tian woman in the Sudan for apostasy from Is­lam.

Me­riam Ye­hya Ibrahim, 27, the daugh­ter of a Chris­tian mother and Mus­lim fa­ther, is mar­ried to a Chris­tian who is con­fined to a wheel­chair and de­pen­dent on his wife’s help. She is in prison, sen­tenced to death but al­lowed a stay of ex­e­cu­tion for 18 months to en­able her baby to be born and weaned. She has also been sen­tenced to 100 lashes.

Lord Carey de­scribed the sen­tence as a ‘tip­ping point’. “Isn’t there some­thing fun­da­men­tally wrong with Is­lam at its core that it can­not al­low people to change their re­li­gion?” he asked. “Mod­er­ate Mus­lims have to say enough is enough.”

He claimed Mus­lims in Bri­tain who con­vert to Chris­tian­ity of­ten have to go un­der­ground while Mus­lims ‘get a re­ally good deal’ here and are free to wor­ship and to con­vert Chris­tians to their faith.

He urged Mus­lim lead­ers to speak out in sup­port of the free­dom of Mus­lims to con­vert to Chris­tian­ity.

Arch­bishop Vin­cent Ni­chols has made a plea for clemency for Me­riam Ye­hya Ibrahim, stat­ing that ‘the right to life and re­li­gious free­dom are fun­da­men­tal to the dig­nity be­stowed on ev­ery one of us by Almighty God’.

Inayat Bunglawala, chair of Mus­lim­s4UK gave sup­port to Lord Carey. “We can only hope that the Su­danese au­thor­i­ties come to their senses and recog­nise the dis­ser­vice they are do­ing to the way Is­lam is viewed by the rest of the world and re­scind this death sen­tence,” he said.

On Mon­day the Sudan am­bas­sador was called in to the For­eign Of­fice, where he heard protests about the sen­tence im­posed on Me­riam.

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