Posted in Columns and Letters

We’ve all heard the news about the referendum on secession in South Sudan. We hoped that the information age would bring people together, yet today we see Sudan being divided. The largest country in Africa, boasting the vast Nile river water basin, oil and mineral reserves, agriculture and wild game herds, is being ripped apart before our very eyes. We have seen what division does to people. We have seen it in India, Palestine, Cyprus and even our own dear Ireland. Division gives us nothing but conflict and instability down the road.

US President Obama called this secession and referendum a historic step. It’s ironic that he claims to admire Abraham Lincoln, the man who took his nation to war to prevent his country from splitting into two!
Do the supporters of this secession not stop to think: why won’t the UK allow it for Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland? Why won’t Spain allow it for the Basque region, or Canada for Quebec or India for Kashmir? It is interesting to note that Muslim lands are encouraged to be divided, whether in Bangladesh, East Timor or now South Sudan, yet for the former East and West Germany, political unity was a good thing?
Let us consider the facts on the ground. There are numerous issues that remain unresolved, like how will oil revenues be shared. And what about Sudan’s $35bn debt?
It is our firm belief that the division of Sudan will not result in much benefit to South Sudan. The region has itself seen bloodshed internally due to warring tribes. It is not the case that North Sudan is highly developed and the South is poor; rather, the whole of Sudan has suffered under oppressive governments and atrocities that have taken place against both Muslims and Christians.
One of the US diplomatic cables revealed by WikiLeaks states that Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir has siphoned off $9bn of oil money from his country and stashed it in British bank accounts. When you have a thief as head of state, let there be no uncertainty that the country will go to the dogs.
The solution to Sudan’s problems is not a new state in Juba. Today’s freedom fighters will become tomorrow’s oppressors. The solution instead lies in good governance and leadership for the whole country, a sincere leadership that will manage people’s affairs justly regardless of their creed, tribe or colour.
The case of Sudan is nothing but promotion of division and fragmentation of the Muslim world. There is no end to these divisions. It is a continuation of the Sykes–Picot Agreement in 1916 that tore the Middle East asunder. US Vice President Joe Biden has even called for the division of Iraq into three states! It’s a game of divide and rule, my friends – be warned.
We call upon Muslims and specially the Sudanese community in Ireland to actively condemn these attempts to divide their country. We demand that the Imam of Dublin Mosque, who himself hails from Sudan, should speak out against this referendum in his Jummah Khutbah. And we pray that the world be united against the evil of those who seek to fragment and divide it. Amen.

One Comment

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    Unfortunately, the Sudanese community in Ireland (like the rest of the Muslim community) is only concerned with their jobs and their daily prayers. Although in all fairness some Sudanese have also supported our work. It is interesting to note that there was a big outcry within the Pakistani society on all levels when East Pakistan separated from West Pakistan in 1971, but we have seen nothing like that after the division of Sudan.