Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Archbishop's Sudan plea for tolerance
Date: March 3

A passionate appeal for tolerance towards religious minorities in Sudan was issued on his first visit to the country by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Williams this week. Dr Williams’ first visit to the country is also the first by an Archbishop of Canterbury since last year’s historic peace agreement between the mainly Christian South and the Islamist government of Khartoum.

Many Christian leaders nevertheless believe that the peace deal is being implemented too slowly. A Commission to protect the rights of non-Muslims has yet to be formed, more than a year after it was signed. “The official position of the government is that non-Muslims are welcome in the new Sudan and the hope is that they will be full citizens,” he said. “Now the details of that needs to be worked out and I think it is imperative that it should be.” He urged the government to encourage goodwill between the communities by returning church property which has been confiscated. He pointed to the example of the Episcopal Church guest house which was irregularly sold off. “If one wants to look for signs of goodwill towards a minority these are crucial signals,” he added. The most notable loss to the church is the Cathedral in Khartoum, which is now a museum in the grounds of the Presidential Palace.
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