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"Religion is more lasting than people" religious leaders tell Sudan al-Bashir

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President al-Bashir receives a delegation of Sudan Scholars Association, Youssef appears on his left on Thursday 17 January 2019 (ST Photo)
January 18, 2019 (KHARTOUM) - A well-known Sudanese Islamic preacher Friday said he advised President Omer al-Bashir that "religion is more lasting than people," and warned against bloodshed and manipulation of public money.

Sheikh Abdel Hay Youssef was part of a delegation of the Sudan’s (Muslim) Scholars Association (SSA), a body of state-sponsored clerics that met President Omer al-Bashir on Thursday evening to discuss with him the political situation in the country as nationwide protests continue in the country.

Speaking at his mosque in Jabra Suburb of Khartoum during the preach of Friday prayer, Youssef said he would disclose a matter that they wanted to keep secret but the release of a picture of their meeting with al-Bashir on Thursday forces him to explain what happened to "prevent suspicions".

He said they had prepared written advice dealing with few points about the current situation in the country, pointing that they read and handed it over to the President during the meeting before to start a discussion with him.

Speaking about what he personally said during the discussion, he said he developed seven points.

"The first is that religion is more lasting than people. If there is a conflict of interest between the religion and people, people should go. This is an unequivocal matter," he stressed.

He further said that the people are loving their religion, and most of them observe its teachings but famine, hunger and injustice led them to take to the street.

"The State is responsible for the administration of justice among them". It has to achieve social justice in term of the wealth distribution and prevent starvation, he added.

The religious cleric who is perceived as conservative and supportive to al-Bashir went further to warn the president that "bloodshed is haraam (forbidden by the religion)" and that the State is responsible for every bloodshed.

He also urged for the accountability of the officials who led the current deterioration of the economic situation, and take decisive measures to fight corruption.

Last week, also Youssef was criticized by worshipers for his silence before the killing of peaceful protesters by regime security forces which used to fire live ammunition to disperse them.

The statements of the religious leader confirm reports about frictions among the regime’s supporters on the move forward to settle the unprecedented crisis that the Sudanese Islamists are facing since the military coup that brought al-Bashir to power in June 1989.

(ST)

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