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Sudan protesters reject anti-Islamist reforms

Author: BBC | Published: Saturday, July 18, 2020

"Khartoum is not New York” is reportedly one of the slogans protesters were chanting/AFP

Dozens of pro-Sharia supporters have protested in Sudan’s capital, Khartoum Friday, over recent government reforms that allow non-Muslims to drink alcohol, and scrap the apostasy law and public flogging.

The reforms come after long-time ruler Omar al-Bashir was ousted last year following massive street protests.

The protesters, who oppose any easing of Islamic laws, shouted: “God’s laws shall not be replaced” – and had banners saying: “No to secularism”, according to the AFP news agency.

Addressing Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, who leads the transitional government, the agency quoted some as saying: “Hamdok, Khartoum is not New York.”

Some held up photographs of Justice Minister Nasredeen Abdulbari, who had announced the reforms last weekend.

Under the new laws, women also no longer need permission from a male relative to travel with their children.

Non-Muslims are now allowed to consume alcohol in private, however the ban on Muslim drinking remains.

And anyone convicted of renouncing Islam, or apostasy, will no longer face the death penalty.

The imposition of strict Islamist laws in the 1980s was a key factor in the long-running civil war which eventually led to independence for South Sudan, where the majority of people are Christian or follow traditional religions.

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