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Radical Muslims protest Sudan’s abolishment of apostasy

Radical Muslims in Sudan took to the streets on the 17th of July to protest the transitional government’s adoption of amendments to decriminalise apostasy and repeal other Islamist laws. The apostasy law has been used for more than 30 years to persecute those who leave Islam. The government’s adoption this week of the Fundamental Rights and Freedoms Act also allows non-Muslims to drink alcohol and abolishes public flogging as a criminal punishment.


Since the government announced plans for amendments to Sudanese law on Saturday night the 11th of July, Muslims took to social media to criticise the moves, terming them anti-Islamic and calling for massive demonstrations. Some called for “holy war” against the government for scrapping sharia (Islamic law) provisions. Demonstrations took place in Khartoum on the 17th of July to protest the amended laws.

“Sharia, sharia or we die,” protestors shouted. “Listen you, Hamdok, this is Khartoum, not New York.”

Dozens of people reportedly gathered in the protests brandishing banners reading: “No to secularism.” They shouted: “God’s laws shall not be replaced.”

Abadalla Hamdok was appointed Prime Minister by an eleven-member sovereign council of six civilians and five military leaders last year after President Omar al-Bashir was deposed in April 2019. Hamdok’s government has implemented several democratic initiatives.

The apostasy law was used in 2014 to condemn to flogging and death of the then-pregnant Christian mother Meriam Yahi Ibrahim on false allegations of leaving Islam. She was released from prison on the 23rd of June 2014, less than two months after Morning Star News broke the story of false charges of apostasy against her that set off a firestorm of international protests.

Sudan’s amended laws also ban female genital mutilation and abolish its law requiring women to obtain permission from a male guardian to travel abroad with their children.

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