Will North Sudan become a state ruled by Shari'a law? Bashir says yes

Gamal Abdel-Gawad , Wednesday 22 Dec 2010

In his recent statements, a cheery President Bashir announced his plans for the day after Southern independence. The future of North Sudan under his rule, it seems, will be more religious and more authoritarian

Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir cannot hide what he’s thinking and what he truly believes. Bashir recently promised to amend the Sudanese Constitution once the South declares independence. The new Constitution, he said, would be an Islamic one – as if the current Constitution does not already contain enough Shari’a.

“Nonsense talk about a multi-ethnic Sudan has no place in the new Sudanese Constitution,” Bashir declared. The harsh words he used to refute the existence of multiple ethnicities and cultures reveal his true beliefs. Bashir spoke cheerfully and enthusiastically about getting rid of the burden of the South, which has prevented the North from expressing its Muslim identity.

I believe it has now become apparent why there had been civil war in the country for so many years and why Bashir failed to persuade the people of the South to remain part of a united Sudan. He not for once believed in a multi-ethnic or multi-cultural Sudan, or that the people of the South are truly Sudanese citizens who have the right to express their ethnicity and culture. The Sudanese president handled Sudan’s multi-ethnicity and multi-culture as a burden of which he wants to be rid. It is impossible, of course, for someone who thinks like this to win the trust of southerners.

Bashir’s joy over finally being able to complete the Islamification of Sudan’s political regime is understandable. After all, he himself came to power after an Islamists' coup d’etat against a democratically-elected regime. What is incomprehensible and unnecessary is the threatening tone which Bashir used when talking about the implementation of Islamic law. Shari’a, as interpreted by Bashir, is not good news for the Sudanese people. It has become a weapon in his hand, used to scare and threaten the opposition.

If Sudan’s president is serious about his recent announcements, we should expect the country to become more authoritarian, but this time, in the name of Islam. Bashir threatened the people of Sudan with Shari’a, and at the same time he defended an incident where Sudanese police flogged a girl in the street in the name of Shari’a. This confirms his conviction regarding his promise of Islamification.

Tough times in Sudan will not end with the partition of the South; even tougher days await this country.

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