LONDON, SEPT. 28, 2005 (Zenit.org).- The supposed peace in Sudan conceals the misery and injustice that still threaten parts of the population, warns the archbishop of Khartoum.
Cardinal Gabriel Zubeir Wako described the somber situation in his country when he addressed the British benefactors of the international charity Aid to the Church in Need last Saturday. More than 300 benefactors gathered for the annual event in Westminster Cathedral.
The cardinal criticized Western governments for failing to heed the Church’s warnings about the situation in his country, according to a communiqué from Aid to the Church in Need.
The introduction of the Shariah, Islamic law, in Sudan in 1983, unleashed more than two decades of bloody civil war. The southern population, made up primarily of Christians and animists, fought against the Islamization promoted by Khartoum and, above all, against the introduction of Islamic law in its provinces.
The first government of national unity was formed on Sept. 20, a stage in the implementation of the peace agreement, signed last January between the Khartoum regime and the former southern rebels of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army. The SPLA has been transformed into a movement.
This week, Cardinal Zubeir Wako implored: “If I say that Christians are persecuted, that life is made difficult for us, how long is it going to take to get people to trust me?”
He added: “How many people realize that in speaking, I am putting my life at stake?”
The 64-year-old cardinal, who has been archbishop of Khartoum for 24 years, said that even after this year’s peace agreement, there is limited freedom of speech. He contended that children are “brainwashed” at government-run schools, that police and security have turned the country into a "security cage,” and that the Church is not allowed to own property.
The cardinal went on to explain that non-Muslims are still under pressure to adhere to punitive Islamic law in the north of the country.
He charged that the government is pumping in resources to “Islamize” the mainly non-Muslim south, and that corruption and bad governance continue to threaten Sudan’s newfound and fragile peace.