Home | News    Wednesday 9 February 2005

Islam will remain main source for legislation in Sudan: president

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KHARTOUM, Feb 9 (AFP) — Sudanese President Omar al-Beshir said that Islam will continue to be the main source of legislation in Sudan even after the peace deal with the mainly animist and Christian southern rebels.

Sudanese Sufis practice their religious rituals in the arid Khartoum suburb of Omdurman. (AFP).

He made the comments while addressing a crowd in al-Suqi in central Sudan, the official Sudan News Agency reported.

Khartoum and the rebel Sudan Peoples’ Liberation Movement (SPLM) signed a peace deal on January 9 in the Kenyan capital Nairobi, ending more than two decades of civil war between south and north.

Religion and implementation of sharia or Islamic law in the country featured strongly during the war, with the SPLM saying it wanted a united, but also secular Sudan.

Under the agreement, the south shall be exempted from sharia, which shall be enforced in the north during a six-year interim period preceding a referendum on independence for the south.

Both sides have agreed to draft an interim constitution for the country that will reflect its cultural, social and religious diversities.

The president, however, insisted that sharia shall remain the main source of legislation throughout this period and that it "will be enshrined in a permanent constitution."

He said his "National Congress party deserves the support of the people in the coming stage because it managed to put forward a programme that brought about peace and entrenched Islamic sharia."

He claimed that Sudan’s former leaders paid only lip service to sharia and compared his government to the Mahdist revolution, which Beshir said "raised the banner of Islam and implemented its code in public life."

The Mahdist revolution led by Mohamed Ahmed al-Mahdi spearheaded Sudan’s struggle for independence from British rule. Followers of the Mahdi, the Ansars, regarded him a political as well as spiritual leader.

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