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Conflict of National Identity in Sudan

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Kuel Jok

This study addresses the contemporary conflict of national identity in Sudan between the adherents of Islamic nationalism and those of customary secularism. The former urge the adoption of a national constitution that derives its civil and criminal laws from the Sharia, and want Arabic as the language of instruction in national institutions. The latter demand the adoption of secular laws, derived from the set of customary laws, and equal opportunities for all African languages beside Arabic and English. In the past, the adherents of Islamic nationalism imposed the Islamic-Arab model. In reaction, secularists resorted to violence; the Islamists declared Jihad against the secularists and adopted a racial war, which has caused a humanitarian disaster. The main primary material of this research is based on a survey conducted among 500 students of five universities in Sudan. Besides, the study considers the diverse theoretical models for the formation of a nation-state, where diversity is not discouraged, but states apply laws to promote religious and ethnic diversities within one territorial state.

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This study addresses the contemporary conflict of national identity in Sudan between the adherents of ‘Islamic nationalism’ and ‘customary secularism’. The former urge the adoption of a national constitution that derives its civil and criminal laws from Sharia (Islamic law) and Arabic be the language of instruc- tion in national institutions of Sudan. The group argues that the intertwined model of the Islamic-Arab cultural identity accelerates assimilation of the heterogeneous African ethnic and religious diversities in Sudan into a homo- geneous national identity defining Sudan as an Islamic-Arab state. The latter demand the adoption of secular laws, which must be derived from the diverse set of customary laws and equal opportunities for all African languages beside Arabic and English. The group claims that the adoption of the Islamic laws and Arabic legalises the treatment of the citizens in the country in terms of religion and race and that implies racism and discrimination. In this way, the adherents of the Islamic nationalism imposed the Islamic-Arab model. In reaction, the Muslims and the non-Muslim secularists resort to violence as an alternative model of resistance. In pursuance of war, the Islamists declared Jihad against the secularists in Nuba Mountains, South Blue Nile (Ingessana) and adopt the racial war in Darfur. In this region, the janjaweed (armed Arab militias) in Darfur fight inclusively the insurgents and the indigenous African Muslims in Darfur in equal terms. This form of war has caused a humanitarian disaster in this region. The method of the research is qualitative...

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