Like thousands of Sudanese in Sudan and abroad I was puzzled and shocked to hear that president Bashir’s government will adopt Islamic Sharia laws and an Islamic constitution.
New laws will come into force as soon as the south of the country splits off in a referendum scheduled to be held on the 9th of January, the president said.
“If South Sudan secedes, we will change the constitution and there will be no more use of deceptive and sneaky terms such as cultural and ethnic diversity in Sudan,” President Omar Hassan al-Bashir told supporters at a rally in the eastern city of Gedaref on Sunday.
Even more embarrassing was the president’s reaction to the widely discussed Youtube video that shows the cruel public flogging of a Sudanese woman. The video led to a massive condemnation of the practice. But the Sudanese president insisted that the woman was punished according to Islamic Sharia which includes flogging, amputation and the death penalty. He advised all those who felt bad and ashamed watching the flogging video to perform the rituals of repentance to renew their being a Muslim. The president gave his own judiciary and police service a slap in the face, scolding them publicly for their earlier decision to investigate the flogging incident.
President Bashir said with a noticeable tone of soreness that the separation of the South is the not the end of the world and that there are enough oil and agricultural resources in the North.
Three weeks before the Southern part of the country secedes, because the Khartoum government persistently refused to relinquish Sharia laws, the President is threatening to impose Sharia in the North while it has actually been implemented there since 1983. That is indeed puzzling.
Appalling is also the President’s ridiculing and denial of the ethnic, cultural and religious diversity in Northern Sudan.
Many Sudanese in both north and south accepted the separation of the South as a way to heal the wounds of a protracted bloody civil war. They are preparing themselves for two states living in peace and good neighborliness.
But, so far these seem be futile hopes. If the president thinks that separation will only imply missing some of the oil revenues against the advantage of ridding ourselves, once and for all, of the nonsense of ethnic and cultural diversity, the most important lesson of the separation of the South will not have been learned. Continuation of the same policies of political Islam and ethnic and religious monoculture will inevitably lead to more wars and many other separations to come.
For President Bashir, is seems, the end of world will only come at the moment he has to give up power.
• Mohammed Abdulrahman is Editor of RNW's Arabic section
Disclaimer: Opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those of Radio Netherlands Worldwide