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Pray, advocate for peace in Sudan, urges Catholic Relief Services

Catholic World News - September 27, 2010

As southern Sudan prepares for its independence referendum in January, Catholic Relief Services has launched a new initiative to encourage Catholics to pray and advocate for peace there.

Two million lost their lives in the long Sudanese civil war (1983-2005) between the Muslim north and the largely animist and Christian south. The civil war ended when President Omar Hassan Ahmad Al-Bashir-- who came to power in a 1989 military coup-- granted the south limited autonomy. Since 2005, the nation’s five million Catholics have fallen under two sets of religion laws. In the north, all schools-- even Christian schools-- must offer instruction in Islam, and converts from Islam to Christianity face not only criminal charges but also death at the hands of their families. In the south, Christians enjoy religious freedom.

About 70% of the nation’s 37.2 million people are Sunni Muslims; 15% are Catholics.

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