March 5, 2013 (KHARTOUM) – The Sudanese president Omer Hassan a-Bashir came under an unusual attack from a pro-Salafist newspaper which described him as a liar and accused his government of corruption.
- An unidentified Islamic Group leader speaks after a mass "standing prayer" organized by Islamic Groups to honour al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, who was shot dead in Pakistan, in Khartoum May 3, 2011 (Reuters)
"The dancing president who lies to his nation day and night; promises them with Shar’ia and religion; pledges good life....but it is only a deception," the editorial of al-Muharir newspaper said on February 22.
Al-Muharir is the mouthpiece of the hardline Islamic Salafist group led by Mohamed Abdel-Kareem who is better known for his fierce hostility to secular parties such as the Sudanese Communist Party (SCP) and Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM).
The newspaper went on to describe government officials as being "engaged in usury, looting, stealing and manipulating the nation’s faith and religion".
It made a comparison between Bashir and Egyptian president Muhammad Morsi concluding that the latter is a better leader.
Sources told Sudan Tribune that Khartoum may have been reluctant to take action against the newspaper for fear of opening a new front with Sudan’s increasingly discontented Salafist groups, who see the ruling National Congress (NCP) as a party which has abandoned the Islamic principles it preached over the last two decades.
In particular these groups want the government to swiftly adopt an Islamic constitution.
Already Sudanese authorities have confiscated three editions of the newspaper over the course of last year for material that was deemed insulting to president Bashir.
The National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) routinely seizes copies of newspapers and in some cases suspends entire media houses. Last year three newspapers were shut down by the Sudanese authorities.