Sudan invites Jews back to country to enjoy citizenship in new climate

Minister of Religious Affairs Nasr-Eddin Mofarah, left, was included in Sudan’s Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok new government. (Videograb)
Updated 07 September 2019

Sudan invites Jews back to country to enjoy citizenship in new climate

  • We welcome diverse ideas, values and cultures, religious affairs minister tells Al Arabiya

JEDDAH: Members of Sudan’s Jewish community who had left the country in previous years were free to return and “enjoy citizenship” like other ethnic groups, Minister of Religious Affairs Nasr-Eddin Mofarah said on Friday.

Speaking to Al Arabiya TV, the newly appointed minister said Sudan was welcoming of diverse ideas, values, cultures and “intellectual persuasions.”

He even added that the Muslim-majority country was welcoming of other religions, citing the number of Christians and Jews who still lived in the country and those who might have left.

“I urge them (Jews) from this platform to return to Sudan and recover their right to naturalization and citizenship because Sudan is a civil state where citizenship is the source of all rights and duties. We also have other religions and faiths embraced by different people,” he said.

The announcement came after Sudan’s Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok announced his Cabinet on Thursday, the first since former President Omar Bashir was ousted in April.

The Cabinet includes Asmaa Abdalla, Sudan’s first woman foreign minister, and a former World Bank economist. Hamdok also picked women to lead the Sports and Youth Ministry, the High Education Ministry, and the Labor and Social Development Ministry.

The new Cabinet has come about as part of a power-sharing agreement between the military and pro-democracy demonstrators, following pressure from the US and its Arab allies amid growing concerns the political crisis could ignite a new civil war.

Mofarah said Islam had been a peaceful part of Sudanese life for centuries, and had not been introduced through violence or conflict. 

He also stressed the importance of religious tolerance in the post-Bashir era.

“Religious tolerance has also been given a significant importance in the Holy Qur’an, in which Muslims have been urged to accept and respect other religions and live in peace with them,” Mofarah said.

“This constitutes a clear call for the Sudanese to live according to the saying ‘you have your religion and I have mine,’ as long as there is no infighting, sedition or wars and as long as people interact,” the minister added.

“The issue of peace, tolerance, loyalty and resilience is one of the indicators that will allow us to build this nation on new foundations, centered around freedom, justice, equality and noble moral values,” he said.

Sudan’s power-sharing deal calls for the government to reach a peace agreement with the rebels within six months. 


Iraqi president discusses foreign troops cut with Trump in Davos

Updated 8 min 10 sec ago

Iraqi president discusses foreign troops cut with Trump in Davos

BAGHDAD: Iraqi President Barham Salih met U.S. President Donald Trump in Davos on Wednesday and discussed reducing foreign troops in the country, the Iraqi presidency said, after Washington spurned an Iraqi request earlier this month to pull out its troops.
"During the meeting, reducing foreign troops and the importance of respecting the demands of Iraqi people to preserve the country's sovereignty were discussed," the statement said.
Iraq's parliament passed a non-binding resolution on Jan. 5 requesting the government to end the presence of foreign troops in Iraq following U.S. air strikes that killed Iranian General Qassem Soleimani and Iraqi militia commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis.
The killing of Soleimani, to which Tehran responded with a ballistic missile attack on two Iraqi military bases housing U.S. forces, has highlighted the influence of foreign powers in Iraq, especially Iran and the United States.
Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi asked Washington to prepare for a U.S. troop withdrawal in line with Iraq's parliament decision, but Trump's administration rebuffed the request.
Washington said later it was exploring a possible expansion of NATO’s mission in Iraq, a plan to “get burden-sharing right in the region”.