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Islamist lobby group threatens “Jihad” against Sudan government over constitution

September 25, 2012 (KHARTOUM) – A coalition of Sudanese Islamist groups has threatened to declare Jihad against the government if it refuses their demands a constitution based on Islamic Shari’a law.

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FILE PHOTO - Leading members of the Islamist lobby group Islamic Constitution Front during a conference in February 2012

The threat by the Islamic Constitution Front (ICF), a group of Islamist political parties and individuals lobbying the government to create an Islamic constitution, comes after the country’s president Omer Al-Bashir announced on 13 July the formation of a committee comprising unidentified “religious scholars and experts in law, politics and economic” tasked to draft a permanent constitution for the predominantly Muslim country following the secession of the mainly Christian South Sudan in 2011.

ICF’s Chairman Al-Sadiq Abduall Abdel Majid declared, in a statement released on Tuesday, their group’s rejection to the constitution committee and demanded that the government holds a plebiscite on the process of constitution-creation.

In the same statement, ICF’s Secretary-General Nasir Al-Sayed threatened that they might resort to “Jihad” against the government by mobilizing the public to protest in demand of an Islamic constitution.

Al-Sayed also slammed the constitution-drafting committee, describing it as a group of non-achieving technocrats who lack the qualifications to “determine the fate of millions of Muslims”.

This is not first time that the ICF has attempted to bully the government over the Islamic constitution issue. It previously threatened to depose President Al-Bashir if the government fails to act on their demands.

ICF’s statement stressed that the government has no excuse to use for wriggling out of the Islamic constitution, after the secession of South Sudan whose population is largely Christian although many practice traditional African beliefs. The ICF claim that 97% of Sudanese are Muslim, although it is unclear what date this figure is based on.

The group further accused the government of trying to circumvent their demands for an Islamic constitution in order to ingratiate itself with the West and respond to pressure from foreign investment corporations.

ICF is composed of several Islamist group and individuals mostly representing Salafist groups and individuals and far-right political parties such as the Just Peace Forum (JPF) led by President Al-Bashir’s uncle Al-Tayyeb Mustafa.

Al-Bashir, himself an Islamist, has already made several statements confirming that Sudan’s upcoming constitution will reflect the country’s Islamic and Arab identity.

He invited opposition parties to participate in a meeting held last week to discuss the constitution but the opposition boycotted the meeting and accused the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) of planning to draft a constitution that would sustain its grip on power and allow for more repression against opposition activities.

Opposition parties, mainly the coalition National Consensus Forces (NCF), also accuse the NCP of seeking to create a constitution that would impose a unilateral cultural identity on the country.

Sudan is home to Coptic Christians and well as Christians in South Kordofan and Blue Nile States, where rebels are currently fighting the government. The central government imposing an Arab identity and its particular brand of Islam on the country has been one of the sources of many of the country’s civil wars.