Military Rulers in Sudan’s Transitional Government Say Islam Should Guide Laws

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Transitional government leaders in Sudan publicly made another strong determination about their country’s political future.

According to the Al-Jazeera Media Network, Sudan’s temporary military rulers declared that Islam must continue to guide any legislation drafted by the nation’s future government. Since gaining its independence from British colonialism in 1953, Sudan has been under the political control of various national regimes. Military and parliamentary rulers have struggled to navigate lasting power.

However in 1983, Sudan’s first post-colonial regime established Islamic law under the administration of  Gaafar Nimeiry. It is also worth noting that Sudan has been under the influence of Islamic norms since the first Arabic-speaking travelers settled there in the 14th and 15th centuries. With those settlers came Islam, which was also the ruling charter of the Turkish Ottoman Empire.

The Ottoman Turks ruled Sudan’s most far northern regions from the 16th to the 19th century. From 1820 to 1874, the totality of Sudan was ruled by the Muhammad Ali Dynasty, an Egypt-based vassal of the Ottoman Empire. For many reasons due to its unique version of African history, Islam has been woven into the Sudan’s modern way of life. The Islamic threads of Sudan’s present-day cultural weave still exist today.

Sudan’s current rulers are the Transitional Military Council (TMC). This temporary regime took control after the April 2019 ouster of Omar Al-Bashir, Sudan’s former and now deposed president. The ruling body of the TMC has 10 members. This body was recently given a draft constitution document, which was drawn up by The Declaration of Freedom and Change Forces (DFCF), a Sudanese opposition group.

The TMC said that the DFCF’s draft constitutional document lacked reference to traditional Islamic law, which has been the guiding principle of Sudanese legislation for ages.

“Our view is that Islamic Sharia and the local norms and traditions in the Republic of Sudan should be the sources of legislation,” said Shams al-Din Kabashi, a TMC spokesman, according to Al-Jazeera. Kabashi also said that he disagrees that the Sudanese parliament should have the power to declare a national state of emergency. The draft DFCF constitution grants such power to the Sudanese Parliament.

But the TMC believes that a “sovereign authority” should be the only party able to exercise all powers necessary to declare a national state of emergency in Sudan.