The deputy chairman of the Sovereignty Council, Lt Gen Mohamed Hamdan ‘Hemeti’, has denounced protest calls against the separation of religion from the state.
In his address to members of the Popular Initiative to Guard the Revolution who organised a collective breaking of the Ramadan fast in the Dinar Hall in Khartoum, he proposed a campaign to explain secularism to the people to avoid fierce discussions “which may lead the country to fragmentation”.
The Dinar Hall serves as the home office of religious and native administration leaders.
The signing of an Agreement of Principles by the government and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLN-N) under the leadership of Abdelaziz El Hilu on March 28, by which the two parties agreed on the principle of freedom of religion, triggered fierce criticism among several Muslim leaders.
Hemeti, who is also commander of the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces, called on the opponents of secularism “to come with arguments, instead of hunching over their positions for a political and partisan agenda”. He argued that “religion is not bargaining material” and added that secular countries are spreading Islam more than Muslim countries.
“No Muslim is under pressure to leave his worship,” he emphasised. “The decision on the application of secularism must be resolved in the planned constitutional conference”.
In addition, Hemeti criticised the silence of all political forces on the issues of democratisation and elections. “Elections will take place, no matter how late. The final word will be for the Sudanese.”
He further said that no one in Sudan is happy with the current dire situation in the country. “The people suffer in everything, even in the simplest necessities. [..] We are ashamed of this situation, and we apologise to the people.”
He accused affiliates of the Al Bashir regime of “systematic sabotage operations of state institutions, especially in the field of oil and drinking water provision, with the aim of overturning the government”, and indicated that “the solution lies in the solidarity between all Sudanese”.
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