Ariel Center for
Policy Research



NATIV   ■   Volume Fifteen   ■   Number 3 (86)  ■  June 2002   ■  Ariel Center for Policy Research




The Qa`adan Verdict and the
Question of Civil National Equality in the Jewish State


Genocide in Sudan and the World’s Silence

Patrick Sookhdeo

Prolonged civil war and systematic persecution of the Christian and Animist minorities in Muslim-majority Sudan have been largely ignored by the global community. Yet the hostilities still continue. The term genocide is used freely in reference to Rwanda or Bosnia, but although it is estimated that 2 million non-Muslims have been killed in Sudan, the world hesitates to call this genocide.

This paper discusses the background to the conflict and how the minorities in Sudan have become victims of genocide, while the world remains ignorant of their plight. It will also analyze how the country has changed through a process of Islamization and introduction of Sharia or Islamic law, which gives non-Muslims a subjugated “protected” status of dhimmi. It is the imposition of Sharia law which triggered the second outbreak of civil war in 1983. This implementation of Sharia means that it is legal to execute apostates from Islam and to impose the severe hadd punishments, for example, the amputation of a hand for stealing. In practice, the non-Muslims suffer more from these Islamic punishments, partly because the Christians are so poor that they are driven to theft, and partly because Muslims usually have influential relatives who can exert pressure to prevent severe punishments.

The 1973 Constitution was suspended in 1989 after the military coup which brought Omar al Bashir to power. The government is effectively controlled by a small group of men of the National Islamic Front who rule by military force and political decree. Until 1999, the main architect of the regime’s Islamist policy was Hassan Turabi. His aim was to make Sudan an Islamic center to rival Saudi Arabia. Therefore, the “cleansing” of Sudan of non-Muslim influence was a priority of governmental policy.

A new constitution was implemented in 1999 which provides for freedom of religion, but Islamic law and custom remain sources of legislation, and in practice, the government continues to severely restrict freedom of religion.

There is no respect for the rule of law which could ensure the enforcement of a just order, and therefore, sectarian violence, persecution, slavery and genocide persist in this war-torn country.

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