First Published: 2012-07-08

 

Bashir seeks to contain Sudan’s ‘Arab Spring’ by announcing Islamic constitution

 

Sudan’s President says next constitution will be Islamic to set example for neighbouring countries, some of which have seen religious parties gain power after popular uprisings.

 

Middle East Online

Islamic law to assuage resentment

KHARTOUM - President Omar al-Bashir said on Saturday Sudan's next constitution would be "100 percent Islamic" to set an example for neighbouring countries, some of which have seen religious parties gain power after popular uprisings.

The secession of mostly non-Muslim South Sudan a year ago sparked predictions that Sudan, which hosted former al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in the 1990s, would start implementing Islamic law more strictly.

In a speech to leaders of the mystical Islamic Sufi tradition in Khartoum, Bashir suggested Sudan's new, post-secession constitution could help guide the region's political transformation.

"We want to present a constitution that serves as a template to those around us. And our template is clear, a 100 percent Islamic constitution, without communism or secularism or Western (influences)," said Bashir.

"And we tell non-Muslims, nothing will preserve your rights except for Islamic sharia because it is just," he said.

Bashir, facing small-scale protests calling for him to step down, said a committee made up of "all parties, religious sects and Sufis" would be set up to draft a constitution.

That appeared to be a move to assuage resentment by other opposition parties - many of which are still dominated by Islamist figures - over Bashir's reluctance to loosen the grip of the ruling National Congress Party.

He did not give a date for the new constitution.

Following the 1989 coup that brought Bashir to power, Sudan introduced laws that took sharia as their main source.

Already, floggings are a common punishment in Sudan for crimes like drinking alcohol and adultery.

Sentences of stoning are rare, although in May a Sudanese woman was sentenced to death by stoning for adultery, sparking condemnation from human rights lawyers. Similar sentences in the past have not been carried out.

Bashir has been in power for the last 23 years and is one of Africa's longest-serving leaders. He is wanted by the International Criminal Court for war crimes in Darfur, charges the government says are politically motivated and baseless.

Sudan's opposition parties have called for strikes, sit-ins and demonstrations to topple Bashir's government, throwing their weight behind recent anti-austerity protests, which have also involved calls for greater freedoms.

However, they have not yet sent their supporters out to the streets.

 

Yemen blockade 'killing' as many civilians as war

Palestinian baby killed in arson attack by Jewish settlers

EU urges Israel to show 'zero tolerance for settler violence'

Erdogan calls for early elections if no coalition

Cash-strapped Tunisia's Syphax airline grounds flights

Kurds in Diyarbakir fear return to war

State of emergency in Tunisia extended

Jerusalem Gay Pride attack suspect lashes out in court

'Kurdish Obama' faces his biggest test

Pentagon denies US-trained rebels captured in Syria

Morocco king calls for development of remote regions

Host of US celebrities endorses Iran nuclear deal

PKK braces for fight with Turkey in Iraq mountain bastions

Kurdish party chief dismisses Turkey anti-IS raids

Thomas Cook warns Tunisia attacks affect annual results

Three Al-Jazeera journalists await Egypt retrial verdict

Kuwait uncovers new IS cell

One Turkish police killed in attack blamed on PKK

Israel approves law allowing force feeding of prisoners

New sexist gaffe of Turkish deputy PM: 'As a woman, be quiet!

UN envoy invites Syrians to ‘thematic’ talks

Egypt's gift to the world: Suez Canal Axis

Pentagon to worried lawmakers: We will remain vigilant on Iran

Hamas calls for revolt against Palestinian Authority

ISIS claims deadly car bomb in Yemen capital

Allies tolerate Turkey's double game to boost IS fight

Somalia ‘making progress’ despite insecurity and election delay

Germany, Iraqi Kurds say Turkey should resume peace process

Syria skeptical about Turkey's intentions in fight against ISIS

Somalia indentifies hotel bomber as former German resident

US gets formal approval to use Incirlik air base in Turkey

Saudi policeman killed, 2 injured in attack

Israel PM approves 300 settler homes in occupied West Bank

Jordan jails 8 for "plotting a terrorist act"

Israel committed war crimes on 'Black Friday'

Israeli strike on Syrian town kills 5 pro-regime fighters

Yemen orders militia to merge with army

Erdogan heads for China for talks

France seeks to revive ties with Iran

Syria army, Kurds oust IS from Hasakeh city

Yemen truce has failed to take hold

Iran urged to free Washington Post journalist

UN aid chief calls for greater Syria access

Rebels gain ground near Syrian regime heartland

Cairo furniture factory fire kills 25