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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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2 Origin of Racial Exclusion and Inclusionin Sudan

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61 2 Origin of Racial Exclusion and Inclusion in Sudan Essentially, the current conflicts in Sudan originated from early power in the state that constructed divisive racial settings of the territorial population into ‘Blacks’ and ‘Browns’, ‘Muslims and Christian Animists’, ‘Slaves and Frees’, Africans and Arabs, ‘Animists and pagans’151 and “Northerner and Southerner”.152 These racial categories are void of political comprehensive meaning among the territorial cit- izens; instead, they simply represent racial exclusion and inclusion. According to Guba and Lincoln, exclusion is a coherent body of performance that power pursues in setting imbalances of national institutions, which can be “understood in reference to objectives and purposes attached” to its setting.153 The body of the first political setting of public institutions in Sudan was based on the social exclusion and inclusion of ‘us’ and ‘them, ‘we’ and ‘they’ ‘theirs’ and ‘ours’.154 The first phase of this setting commenced in 1821, when Muhammed Ali Pasha, Viceroy of Egypt ordered his army to invade the ‘Nilotic Sudan’ in order to access Black slaves for the slave trade and to fill the ranks of his army. His ‘Turco-Egyptian Rule’ modernised local administrative sys- tems, under Hakimdar (General Governor) in its four provinces of Dunqulah, Berber, Sinnar and Kordofan all in the Northern Sudan. The regime established a system of education, a monetary system, post and telegraph services and laws in courts to the exclusion of the South, Nuba Mountains, Ingessana Hills and Darfur. Those marginal regions remained as mere sources of slaves.155 Under...

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