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Conflict of National Identity in Sudan


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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7 Conclusion


The successive phases of politics in modern Sudan, since the time of its founda- tion to present time manifest dynamics of racism and discrimination in national institutions of the state. All the democratic and military systems which have been in power, since the independence of Sudan from Great Britain, until now came from the Islamic-Arab North of Sudan with exception of General Ibrahim Abboud from the Beja of the eastern Sudan. The political logic of all the suc- cessive rulers in construction of national identity constitutionally does not con- sider the existing religious and linguistic diversities of institutions in the country as essential reality. Therefore, it applies an ethnic territorial nationalism model that adopts monolithic religious laws derived from Sharia and imposes Arabic as an official language of working and communication in national institutions of the country. In this way, the non-Muslim and the non-Arab citizens become the victims of religious discrimination and ethnic racism in sharing of power and national wealth. Thus, the majority of students from Darfur, South Sudan, Nuba Mountains and east Sudan of the Beja ethnic group reject this model and some identify it as ‘anomia assimilation’. Anomia assimilation is defined as a difficulty that faces an intended person for assimilation to find a word that can describe the measures taken by power in state in eradicating diversity and imposing unifor- mity of cultures in Sudan. In other words, its application in public institutions creates a difficulty in the mind of an affected person to find...

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