Sudan, North Africa
Political Leader: President Umar Hassan Ahmad al-Bashir
North Sudan is predominantly Islamic and residents are ruled by Sharia law, where converting from Islam to another religion is considered apostasy. Conversion is punishable by death, although that penalty is rarely carried out. Instead, converts are generally regarded as outcasts by their families and face severe social pressure to recant, and southern Christians who reside in the North suffer from social, educational, and job discrimination. The Constitution, which was implemented in early 1999, does provide freedom of religion for the Sudanese. In practice, however, the Government severely restricts this right and treats Islam as not only the state religion but also the inspiration for the country's laws, institutions, and policies.
Violence in Darfur is devastating. The conflict began when rebels rose against the Khartoum government, complaining of economic and political marginalization. The government provided arms to small militias, now known as the Janjaweed, to crush the rebellion. The Janjaweed are a militia that have become notorious for racist rhetoric, massacre, rape, and forced displacement. At least tens of thousands have died; international figures project hundreds of thousands. There are more than 3.5 million people in Darfur who are completely reliant on international aid. Tragically, over two million more have been displaced as a result of the fighting and are now living in sprawling camps in Darfur and in neighboring Chad.
Open Doors, CSW, Arab World Ministries, Middle East Concern, Barnabas Fund, The World Factbook
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