VOICE OF AMERICA
Sudanese Muslim and Christian leaders have joined to promote religious freedom in the country, now that the government of Omar al-Bashir is out of power. The groups signed a peace deal declaring freedom of religion a human right.
At the end of a two-day conference, the religious leaders agreed to promote peace and freedom of worship among all Sudanese communities and to encourage community dialogue among people of different faiths.
Khartoum Catholic Archbishop Michael Didi said the declaration will help create space for more religious freedom in Sudan as the country embarks on a new era after the revolution that led to military leaders removing Bashir from power.
Didi said three decades of religious oppression created social stigma among different communities across the country, and change will not happen overnight.
Jibril Bilal, a member of the Darfur-based rebel group Justice and Equality Movement, said the declaration’s resolutions are in line with the peace agreement mediated in Juba, South Sudan, which call for a secular system of governance in Sudan with equal rights for everyone.
William Devlin, co-chair of the Khartoum-based organization Unity International, said the declaration paves the way for religious freedom in Sudan after decades of strict Islamist rule. He called on Muslims and Christians to forget the past and work together to build a new Sudan where citizens are treated equally.