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Sudanese minister calls to resist attempts to change Islamic laws

Gibril Ibrahim, JEM leader and Sudan Finance Minister (SUNA photo)April 30, 2021 (KHARTOUM) - Gibril Ibrahim, head of the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) and Minister of Finance called on the Sufi Muslim leaders to stand against any attempt to change the Islamic laws especially the Personal Status Law.

JEM is one of the Darfur armed groups that signed the Juba peace agreement with the transitional government in October 2020. Its leader joined the cabinet as finance minister in February 2021.

Ibrahim made his call in a speech delivered after Friday prayers at Wad Badr Mosque in the Sufi town of Um-Dawban, 45 km south of the capital in Khartoum state.

"We will not abandon our religion. This religion did not belong to the National Congress (Party) or to (the ousted President) Omer al-Bashir, but rather is a message from God Almighty that we are commanded to adhere to it (...), and we will not hesitate to do so".

He further urged to defend Islamic laws saying the "submissiveness of Muslims is unacceptable" without being supportive of religious extremism.

"There are those who seek to change the personal status law to comply with the moods Al-Khawajat" he further said.

Al-Khawajat is a popular term in Sudan used to describe Westerners.

He exhorted the Sufi leaders and all "the people of Islam" to defend their religion and its laws, stressing that Sudan will be "in danger" if they do not mobilize their bases for this cause.

"We are not extremist, but at the same time we will not accept that people tamper with our religion and our laws to change them according to the whims of the people of the West," he emphasized.

JEM leaders were known for their affiliation to the National Islamic Front of Hassan al-Turabi. However, they split from the government of Omer al-Bashir and founded the rebel JEM in 2003, citing its neglect of the Darfur region.

Last Thursday, the Sudanese cabinet approved the ratification of the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) with some reservations.

Several women groups including the leftist Sudanese Women Union rejected these reservations saying the international convention will become a dead letter without the objected articles.