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Sudan scraps Islamic social laws: Allows alcohol consumption, decriminalizes leaving Islam

2020 07 09T143722Z 438636041 RC2QPH9OK3LS RTRMADP 3 SUDAN POLITICS 1

A move by Sudan’s transitional government to eliminate a number of controversial Islamic laws – including those relating to apostasy, alcohol and female dress – has provoked both praise and anger from different segments of society.

The new laws, publicly announced at the weekend, include: scrapping punishments for renouncing Islam, or apostasy; allowing consumption of alcohol for non-Muslims; permitting children to travel with their mothers without permission from fathers; banning female genital mutilation (FGM); and dropping other articles that put restrictions on women’s dress.


The package of reforms overturns more than 30 years of Islamist policies enacted by former President Omar al-Bashir and his predecessors.

‘We want the constitution and laws to be based on citizenship and equality, not on a religious basis and discrimination’

– Shams al-Din Daw al-Bait, academic

Supporters of the former administration have been among the most vocal opponents of the new reforms. They have called for the ousting of the government of Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, established in 2019 in the wake of anti-government protests that toppled Bashir.


However, reformers and supporters of the anti-government protests have welcomed the move, saying it could make Sudan a beacon for the region – though some believe they don’t go far enough.

“It’s a historical decision and big victory for freedoms in Sudan that the apostasy [law] has been stopped,” said academic Shams al-Din Daw al-Bait, who was accused of apostasy in 2011.

Sudan witnessed many high profile cases of apostasy during Bashir’s era, notably that of Meriam Yehya Ibrahim Ishag. She was sentenced to death in 2014 after marrying a Christian man. 

“We want the constitution and laws to be based on citizenship and equality, not on a religious basis and discrimination. This is the core of the Sudanese revolution that called for justice and freedom and enhancement of human rights in the country,” said Bait.

This news has been published via Syndicate feed. Only the headline is changed.

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