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Oct 16, 2008
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Sudanese Islamist Hassan Al-Turabi and Egyptian Human Rights Activist Farida Al-Naqqash Clash over the Heritage of the Islamic Movement in Sudan

#1931 | 04:12
Source: Al-Arabiya Network (Dubai/Saudi Arabia)

Following are excerpts from a TV debate featuring Sudanese Islamist leader Hassan Al-Turabi and Egyptian human rights activist Farida Al-Naqqash, which aired on Al-Arabiya TV on October 16, 2008:

Hassan Al-Turabi: The Islamic movement [in Sudan] followed the example set by the Prophet Muhammad when he entered Al-Madina. The people welcomed him of their own free will. This is the method eventually reached by humanity – the method of parliament and elections. But we have realized – and this was reinforced by the experience of Algeria, Turkey, and Asia – that although the West views democracy as a value, it abolishes [elections] immediately, if the outcome reflects the Islamic will. Their supreme value is to prevent Islam from reaching power, and Hamas is the latest example of this.


Farida Al-Naqqash: I would like to make the following remarks about the Islamic movement in Sudan, as part of the Islamic movement throughout the Arab world. I would like to make four points: First, this movement came to power in Sudan through a military coup, and not through democratic elections, as claimed by Dr. Al-Turabi, who is now talking about democracy and freedom of the press. The Islamic movement in Sudan has thwarted the democratic process there, has conducted organized oppression in the country, and has impeded the class struggle by persecuting political parties, trade unions, and student movements. It has distorted the image of Islam, linking it with terrorism and backwardness.

Interviewer: Farida, perhaps you cannot hear me, but...

Farida Al-Naqqash: It has impoverished the culture. It is part of the Islamic movement throughout the Arab world, and this is why the situation in Sudan today is catastrophic - both in Southern Sudan and in Darfur.


Hassan Al-Turabi: With regard to the rise of Islam to power – obviously, it is best if this is by consent, because our religion is not based on coercion. But my dear colleague has neglected to mention that the renowned awakening of democracy in France and all other countries was achieved by means of revolutions and force. Later, liberties were consolidated, and the dictatorial power did not last beyond an interim period, which was known as the "Reign of Terror."


Interviewer: But there was also a call to wage Jihad in Southern Sudan, wasn't there?

Hassan Al-Turabi: A call for what?

Interviewer: For Jihad.

Hassan Al-Turabi: What call?

Interviewer: The call for Jihad.

Hassan Al-Turabi: It was difficult to change the armed forces, which were all formed according to Western models, which are ferocious. In the West, when they vanquish a people – like they are doing in the Arab countries, and like they did in Germany and Japan – they slaughter indiscriminately and mercilessly. So the Jihad was not [declared] only to muster more power, but in order to restrain people as well.


Farida Al-Naqqash: Dr. Al-Turabi is contradicting himself, playing verbal gymnastics, as always. It was Dr. Al-Turabi who established the so-called "Shari'a Laws," or "September Laws," in the days of al-Numeiri. These laws were among the main reasons for the worsening of the crisis in Southern Sudan. Sudan is a multi-national, multi-racial, and multi-faith state, with Muslims, Christians, pagans, and atheists. The tolerance demonstrated by the Sudanese people throughout its history was shattered by the alliance between Al-Bashir and Hassan Al-Turabi, in the so-called National Islamic Front.

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