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Archbishop of Canterbury, Khartoum governor discuss Churches’ demolition

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Sudanese worshippers outside Soba Al Aradi church after its demolishment on Sunday 7 May 2017 (ST Photo)
July 31, 2017 (KHARTOUM) - The visiting Archbishop of Canterbury discussed on Monday the issue of demolished churches with the governor of Khartoum state where local authorities are accused of targeting the different Christian groups.

In statements to the press following the meeting, Governor Abdel Rahim Hussein said that Sudanese used to coexist and tolerate each other beyond the religious divides, adding that 90% of Christian school students in Sudan are Muslims.

He further pledged to resolve all the obstacles facing the construction of churches in line with the urban planning norms.

"Within the framework of the housing plan and services, there are standards for places of worship whether they are mosques or churches, according to geographical area and population census," he said.

The Sudanese authorities say demolished churches are established without administrative authorizations, while the different Christian communities raise the difficulty of obtaining the building permits when they submit an application for the construction of a church.

Last May, Khartoum State authorities on Sunday demolished a church in Soba Al-Aradi suburb, 19 km from the capital, despite pledges by Sudanese government officials to stop Churches’ demolition.

Sudanese authorities earlier this year endorsed a plan to demolish some 27 churches including Soba Al Aradi church, pointing they are not officially recognised as churches.

The head of Anglican Church discussed the matter with President Omer al-Bashir on Sunday and expressed hope that Christians are treated in the same manner they do for Muslim in the United Kingdom

"In England, the Church of England often seeks to protect Muslims when they are under pressure," Welby added. He further said that he expected the same in Sudan when it comes to protecting Christians.

In a separate statement, the foreign ministry said the Archbishop of Canterbury was received by the Minister Ibrahim Ghandour on Monday. It further said that Justin Welby expressed his thanks and appreciation to the Government and the people of Sudan for their warm hospitality.

(ST)

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