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From the BBC

The Archbishop of Canterbury has arrived in Sudan at the start of a week-long pre-Lent visit.

During his stay, Dr Rowan Williams is expected to meet Muslim and Christian leaders and hold services throughout the country.

Sudan emerged a year ago from two decades of conflict between the Muslim north and Christian rebels in the south with the signing of a peace agreement.

Dr Williams hopes to encourage all agencies to "strengthen peace" there.

His first stop on Sunday will be a visit to shanty town Al-Gariya, in capital Khartoum, whose inhabitants have been displaced by war.

Welcome service

BBC correspondent Jonah Fisher said those people were just a small percentage of the two million southerners who squat around the capital, treated as second-class citizens by many of their northern neighbours.

After his Al-Gariya visit, thousand of Khartoum's Christians are then expected to join Dr Williams for a service of welcome on Sunday afternoon.

As head of the Anglican Communion, the Archbishop is religious leader of more than three million southern Sudanese and most of his trip will be spent in the south.

Former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey visited the Sudan three times.

What the BBC carefully does not mention is that the "two million southerners who squat around the capital, treated as second-class citizens by many of their northern neighbours" are treated thus under Sharia law because as Christians they are  Dhimmis, and their status is determined by the Koran.

I am a member of the worldwide Anglican womens organisation the Mothers Union.  I cannot get to meetings (but I always go to the Christmas lunch :-) usually I chauffeur the old ladies and am awarded honorary pensioner status for my pains, to get the Golden Oldie discount, as well as my reward in heaven) but I joined when I read about the MU members in the Sudan.  Who were held under house arrest for the triple crime of being women, Christian and organised.  Suddenly this organisation for Christian Family life seemed brave and subversive.  To offer my annual subscription and prayer to help was such a little action.

My father in law was stationed in Sudan during the war.  He made his decison to offer himself for ordination while assisting at the leper colony in Omdurman.  The courage of the Christian girls who worked as nurses there impressed him greatly.

I feel that we have let the Anglicans of the Sudan down greatly.  I am aware of quiet projects, eg from the MU and Dr Carey, that are working in the area and at some risk to themselves,  but Dad and I do think more should have been done at national level. 

NB And we are not the only Anglicans concerned that the church should be more assertive in this area.  Ruth Gledhill the Times religious correspondent does not list Sudan among her several concerns but her view accords with my own.