The visiting U.S. Deputy Secretary of State John J. Sullivan called to hold a roundtable conference on religious freedoms and coexistence to promote the dialogue between Muslim and Christian clerics in Sudan.
This came during his making a rare visit to the Nileen Mosque in Omdurman and the University of the Holy Qur’an where he gave a lecture.
The senior diplomat stressed the importance the U.S. places on Sudan’s progress on dialogue, diversity, religious freedom, and human rights as part of the normalization process of relations between the two countries.
On the issue of religious freedoms we are sure that the US official was provided by some information about the demolition of some churches in Greater Khartoum; but we are also sure that nobody told him that the demolished churches were among other places including mosques, shops and other facilities which were subject to demolition within the urban planning.
But that doesn’t mean that we agree with the demolition of the places of worship.
There are exceptions and exemptions in everything so it would be better for Khartoum authorities to reconsider its decisions of demolitions through exempting the places of worship from its plans.
The concerned authorities should provide official warning indicating the reasons behind the intention of demolition of the place of worship, and at the same time propose the alternative for the people to allow them practice their prayers.
The allegation of religious persecution in Sudan could easily be defused if the concerned authorities deal wisely with the issue, and avoiding the harassment of some irresponsible individuals towards the worshipers and priests.
If there is any kind of religious persecution in Sudan I don’t think that the government could have approved the construction of this big number of churches since 1989.
In Sudan the churches are in some places adjacent to the mosques a matter that reflects the religious coexistence in the country.
Let us hope that our concerned institutions take the lead in arranging for a roundtable conference on religious freedoms and coexistence to promote the dialogue between Muslim and Christian clerics in Sudan; as this will contribute in cementing the religious coexistence and tolerance in Sudan.
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