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Sudan-Civil War and Genocide Disappearing Christians of East

 
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Shawnturner


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MessagePosté le: Lun 20 Nov - 09:33 (2017)    Sujet du message: Sudan-Civil War and Genocide Disappearing Christians of East Répondre en citant

Hi,
The great challenge for Christianity in the Sudan, especially in the southern part of the country, is closely linked to the civil war between Sudan's North and South. This war has raged intermittently since 1955, making it possibly the longest civil conflict in the world. It continues unabated, mostly outside the focus of diplomacy or the attention of international media, taking a huge and terrible human toll. Over two million people have died as a result of the war and related causes, such as war-induced famine. About five million people have been displaced, while half a million more have fled across an international border. Tens of thousands of women and children have been abducted and subjected to slavery. By all accounts, it appears to be the worst humanitarian disaster in the world today.
Religion is the pivotal factor in the conflict. The North, with roughly two-thirds of Sudan's land and population, is Muslim and Arabic-speaking; the Northern identity is an inseparable amalgamation of Islam and the Arabic language. The South is more indigenously African in race, culture, and religion; its identity is indigenously African, with Christian influences and a Western orientation.


Although Christianity predated Islam in northern Sudan, it was effectively eradicated and replaced by Islam by the early sixteenth century. It was then introduced to the southern part of the country through missionary work that was associated with British colonialism. Since independence, the South has been threatened by the policies of Arabization and Islamization. Paradoxically, the religious persecution of non-Muslims has the effect of promoting Christianity; Southerners now see Christianity as the most effective means of counteracting the imposition of Islam, especially as traditional religions cannot withstand the forces of spiritual and religious globalization.


Paradoxically, the religious persecution of non-Muslims has the effect of promoting Christianity, which Southerners now see as the most effective means of counteracting the imposition of Islam.


Background: The North
The civil war culminates a long history in which the North has tried to spread its religion and language to the South, which has resisted these efforts.
The North's identification with the Middle East is an ancient one, going back several thousand years, to the time when Egyptians and Arabians expanded southward in the search for slaves, gold, ivory, and taxation revenue. Christianity entered the scene in the sixth century A.D. and became the religion of three kingdoms (Nubia, Magarra, and Alwa) that survived for a thousand years. The introduction of Islam a century later, primarily by traders, then led to descent groups in Sudan tracing their genealogy back to Arabia; in the case of politically or religiously prominent families, they claim to have roots going back to the Prophet Muhammad himself. Islamization set in motion a process of gradual decline for Christianity in northern Sudan, culminating in the overthrow of the Christian kingdoms in 1504 by an alliance of Arabs and the Muslim kingdom of Funj. In due course, Islam and Arabic gained hold in the North and overshadowed the indigenous and Christian cultures. Islam in northern Sudan was later reinforced by every successive regime, from the Ottoman-Egyptian administration that invaded the country in 1821 to the Mahdist Islamic revolution that overthrew it in 1885, and even to the Anglo-Egyptian Condominium that ruled the country from 1898 until Sudanese independence in 1956.


In the nineteenth century, the Turkish rulers of Egypt and the Mahdist government in Khartoum invaded the South in hopes of extending their own boundaries, as well as to gain access to more slaves. Indeed, to Southerners their actions were indistinguishable from one another; they were all slave hunters. Southern memory associates them with nothing less than the total destruction of their society. Oral history in Sudan refers to this period as the time when the world was spoiled.1
While Arabs could invade the South to capture slaves, they never penetrated deeply and did not settle. Swamps, flies, mosquitoes, tropical humidity, and the fierce resistance of the people kept contact to a minimum, even as it was devastatingly violent. Arabs were interested in the material value of blacks as slaves and so had no wish to integrate with them (in contrast to their pattern of settling down with Northerners); had the southern Sudanese converted to Islam, it bears noting, Arabs could no longer have engaged in legal slave raids against them (given that Islam prohibits the enslavement of fellow Muslims).




Thanks!




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