Daring to Question Islam in Darfur, Sudan
The Massalit are a group of some 400,000 people in Sudan (most in Darfur) and in Eastern Chad. They live as subsistance farmers in this dry region, totally dependant upon the annual rainy season for their survival. Millet is their basic food crop and peanuts is a cash crop for them. The Massalit are proud of their cattle, although large numbers of their animals have perished during various droughts. Massalit homes are rounded huts made from straw and grass. Even though their life is hard, they have generally been a happy people.
Unfortunately, many things have changed for the Massalit people in the last years, because they have become one of the ethnic groups involved in the Darfur crisis where 200,000 people have been killed since 2003. The majority of the Massalit, in Darfur, have been forced to flee to refugee camps in Sudan, or across the border into Chad. The Massalit in Chad received their Sudanese relatives with typical hospitality but were soon overwhelmed. Now there are about 150,000 Massalit in refugee camps in Chad. During the last year the Sudanese rebels have crossed the border into Chad to murder and rape and plunder. They say, “You are slaves, the land is ours.”
Through the suffering brought on by those of their own Islamic religious background, many people in Darfur have dared to question their own faith and have even ceased to pray. Christian Evangelism in frowned upon, however, spiritual encouragement and testimonies are usually welcome. There are several followers of Christ helping in the region. In many refugee camps schools have been set up and many adults have become interested in learning to read.
* Please pray for an end to the horror of Darfur.
* Pray that the positive aspects of Massalit culture would not be changed due to the crisis, and that they will be able to truly differentiate between good and evil influences in their lives.
* Pray that God will open the hearts of the hurting Massalit to receive His Word and healing, creating vibrant new communities of faith from which Massalit believers can preach in their own language to those around them.