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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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Lock et al. observe that “every graduate student who is tempted to employ a qualitative design should confront one question, ‘Why do I want to do … study?’ and then answer it honestly”.25 The search for an honest answer is a challenge for a researcher. It dictates him or her to clarify the purpose of a study. In the view of Maxwell, there are three aims for doing a study: personal, practical and research. Personal purpose refers to the issue which leads a researcher to decide to research on a specific topic. It could be a political agenda with intent to change a political situation or a need to advance an academic career. Practical purpose refers to the accomplishment of some administrative policy-making for an administrative change. Research focuses on understanding something by gaining insights on a certain ongoing issue and why it is occurring.26 The aim of this study is both ‘personal’ and ‘research’ in general. It is personal, since it is intended for gaining an academic degree and it is a ‘research’, since it aims to explore and gain insights on political and religious crises in national insti- tutions of Sudan. It seeks to understand why these crises are happening and what alternative(s) are conceptualised by the people in Sudan that could be brought about in order to cease these religious and political conflicts in the country. Aim of study and Researcher’s position The purpose of this study is thus, to examine the contested issue of...

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