Muslims in the troubled region of Darfur and elsewhere in Sudan are working with Christians to build a church in the South of the country, as a symbol of peace, gratitude and solidarity.
The members of the Darfur Students Association at the University of Juba have said they wish to express gratitude to Lopez Lomong, a Sudan-born Catholic track and field athlete, who has publicly urged China to pressure the Sudanese government into ending the conflict in Darfur.
Lomong carried the US flag in the Opening Ceremony at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. He is a member of Team Darfur, a coalition of Olympic athletes who call for the end to the violence against people in the conflict-torn region, where both government troops and militia gangs are accused of atrocities.
Some 200 Muslims have volunteered to build the Roman Catholic church in Kimotong, Southern Sudan, Lomong's home village. The construction process began in January 2010 and went on over Easter.
“We appreciate that Lopez stood up for us,” explained Rudwan Dawod, president of the Darfur Students Association.
He continued: “We are helping to build this church to show we never again want the people of Darfur to be used against their brothers in the South.”
It is hoped that the church building will be completed in the autumn of this year.