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International Union for Muslim Scholars urges Sudan to protect peaceful protests

President al-Bashir receives a delegation of Sudan Scholars Association, Youssef appears on his left on Thursday 17 January 2019 (ST Photo)
January 24, 2019 (KHARTOUM) - The International Union for Muslim Scholars (IUMS) has called on the Sudanese government to protect the right for peaceful expression and refrain from attacking protesters.

Large protests have been ongoing across Sudanese cities since 19 December.

The demonstrations first began over fuel shortages and a hike in food prices but have now morphed into full-fledged protests calling for President Omar al-Bashir to step down.

The Sudanese government has confirmed the deaths of 29 people in the course of the protests but other credible reports including from Amnesty International suggest the death toll is nearly twice as high.

In a press release on Wednesday, the IUMS expressed its concern over the ongoing protests in Sudan, saying the Sudanese have taken to the streets due to poverty, unemployment and high inflation.

The IUMS stressed its support to the memo issued by Sudan’s (Muslim) Scholars Association (SSA) that has been handed over to President Omer al-Bashir last week.

It underlined that Shari’a (Islamic Law) and international conventions have granted the Sudanese the right for protests provided that they maintain public peace and refrain from violence.

The press release also pointed to the political turmoil in Sudan as well as “the unprecedented lack of fuel, drugs and bread”, saying the Sudanese were unable to bear the burden of the economic and political crisis.

However, the IUMS has accused unnamed parties of seeking to exploit the events to fulfill their own agenda.

The press release called on the Sudanese government to exert every possible effort to alleviate the suffering of the people, stressing the need to combat corruption.

It also warned the government against shedding the blood of peaceful protesters, calling to punish anyone involved in the killings.

The IUMS further demanded the government to hold accountable all officials responsible for the economic crisis, calling to establish an effective anti-corruption mechanism.

It urged the government to adhere to the provisions of the constitution and the peaceful transfer of power, warning against making any amendments to the constitution.

It is noteworthy that the Sudanese parliament last December introduced a bill to amend the constitution to allow President Omer al-Bashir to run for a third term in 2020 elections.

Al-Bashir’s term ends in 2020 and he couldn’t run for office again according to the constitution.

The IUMS called on Arab and Muslim nations to provide support to Sudan and launch initiatives to mediate between the warring parties in the country.

The IUMS is a Qatari-based organization of Sunni Muslim theologians with strong connections to the Muslim Brotherhood. It was founded in 2004 by a famous preacher, Yousif al-Qaradawi.

Last November, the general assembly of the IUMS elected the Moroccan Islamic scholar Ahmed Abdessalam Al-Raissouni as president of the union, succeeding al-Qaradawi who headed the organization since its inception.