May 3, 2013 (KHARTOUM) – The Sudanese Salafist group Ansar Al-Sunnah, has been harshly criticized by some religious figures for gifting a copy of the Holy Quran to the US charge d’affaires in Khartoum Joseph Stafford during his visit to the group’s headquarters on Wednesday.
- The US charge d’affaires to Sudan Joseph Stafford speaks during a press conference in the capital Khartoum, on April 21, 2013 (ASHRAF SHAZLY/AFP/Getty Images)
A splinter faction of the group also took the opportunity to lambast the chairman of Ansar Al-Sunnah Ismail Osman describing his act as “forbidden”.
In the same context, the state-affiliated religious body known as Sudan Scholar Council (SSC) has reportedly issued a religious decree, describing the act as “heinous” and urged Osman to ask for repentance and return the copy of the Quran or else he shall bear the iniquity of his act.
The religious decree concluded that “scholars decided that the sale of Quran or giving it to an unbeliever is not permissible in Islam”.
But later an SSC official told Sudan official news agency (SUNA) denied issuing any decree and said that one of its members did so in his personal capacity only.
The US Charge d`Affaires in Khartoum paid several visits to religious groups in recent months including Sufist ones in Khartoum and Al-Gezira. He also recently visited, together with the Italian Ambassador, festivities marking the Birth of Prophet Mohammed.
However, these visits gave rise to objections by some religious groups suspicious of the motives behind it and called upon the government to bar Western diplomats from paying similar visits.