Home | Comment & Analysis    Thursday 10 November 2011

Teaching Islam in South Sudan schools

By Luk Kuth Dak

November 9, 2011 — Justin Maker Bol is one of my favourite people. He did what no other South Sudanese in the United States has ever done. He’s his own boss. Besides, he is an outspoken, smart and conservative man, who cherishes family values. He attends all of his son’s football games cheering him on the side line. My daughter, Mirry Dak, is lucky to have him as her uncle.

If he were born in the US, where talents could have been discovered early on and developed, he could have been like Bill O’Reilly, of the O’Reilly Factor, Rush Limbaugh, or even Larry King, respectively.

Maker remains one of the few voices of wisdom and reasoning with in the Sudan People Liberation Movement (SPLM). A few weeks ago, I rang him up at his residence in Ohio, to inform him that the party he’s been so loyal to his entire life has just made an irreparable harm by importing Islamic teachers from the North, to teach Islam in public schools in South Sudan!

Here’s Justin in his own words:

“The history of Sudan teaches us since the Mahdist, Aboot, Nemiry, through Al- Bashir, now that Islam was/is a source of intolerance, extremism and Jihad. During both civil wars, he continued, the Anyana one and the SPLA, North Sudan had declared Jihad against South Sudan. Islam was used as a weapon to rape, enslave, and kill the non-Muslims in South Sudan. More so, conversion to Islam was more than enough qualification for a South Sudanese to get a high government position in Sudan. The list of brutalities committed in the name if Islam is never-ending.”

He went on to say: “But today’s opinion is not about the past, but the future for South Sudan, the choices that must be made, and certainly, the priorities the government has to undertake in securing that future. Currently, and for the obvious reasons, the Arabs states and governments are flowing in support to South Sudan’s Muslims (SSM.) From the invitation of 100 pilgrims by Saudi King, Abdullah bin Abdulazziz, to the establishment of (Al Madrasa) by pragmatist, to this extreme idea by the ministry of education in the government of South Sudan to bring in hundreds of teachers from North Sudan to teach Islam in our public schools. Really, is South Sudan national interest reliance upon Islamic teaching? The burning question is: Did the ministry of education complete its priorities in setting up primary education? Sounds good for a ministry of education who has equipped its schools with high technology standard.”

“I am not against Islam. Truly, the South Sudan Muslims have the right to enjoy full religious freedom, but the inconsistent standards, lack of vision, accountability, absence of curriculum, extremism, and radical ideology impose real risk that should not be ignored.”

I could not agree more with Maker. Having lived in America for decades, I do not believe that the state has any business in dictating practices of one religion on its people, especially those who have been victims of that religion.

The state and religion should stay independent of each other. In particular, South Sudan has a long road to stability. So, a secular form of government should be employed.

The author is a former anchorman at Juba Radio. He can be reached via e-mail at lukedak@hotmail.com.