Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi, Chairman of the International Union of Muslim Scholars (IUMS), issued a fatwa declaring that it is not permissible for Muslims in South Sudan to vote for separation from the North.
He also called on Muslims and Arabs to unite and form a large entity that brings them all together. The fatwa came in response to a question the Sheikh received on Al-Jazeera TV "Shari`ah and Life" program aired this past Sunday evening (26/12/2010). The question was about the role IUMS should take in a bid to prevent the separation of Southern Sudan, and whether it is religiously permissible for eligible Muslim Sudanese voters to vote in favor of secession.
"A Muslim Sudanese is not allowed to vote in favor of separation, which always brings evil. The West is now united and allied, whereas we are in a state of division and disunity. There are schemes aimed at partitioning this vast country of Sudan," Al-Qaradawi replied.
The Sheikh added that the division of Sudan is supported by the United States and other Western countries with the aim of rupturing the unity of the Muslim world. "The South now, then Darfur will follow. In fact, the West is seeking separation and partition (of Muslim countries). This is very serious. We should not approve the separation of any country," the IUMS Chairman emphasized.
He called on Muslims and Arabs to establish a bigger entity than the Arab League and the Organization of the Islamic Conference, stressing that these current bodies do not assume their roles properly. "I call on Muslims to build a larger and more comprehensive entity that brings them all together and unites their word. We, Muslims, will thus be able to shoulder our responsibilities regarding these issues. We have to move to a bigger role."
Al-Qaradawi also pointed to the experience of the European Union as an example of unity and alliance, saying, "Consider Europe, which saw internal wars in the past centuries resulting in millions of deaths. They, however, left the past behind and now form one bloc that is united economically, culturally, and religiously."
Earlier, the Shari`ah Association of Scholars and Preachers in Sudan issued a fatwa declaring the referendum on self-determination for the South as unlawful. They called on the Khartoum government to apply the Shari`ah rules regardless of what the southerners will decide. Moreover, they warned of "a Zionist Western" scheme that aims at dividing Sudan into five small "feeble" countries.
"The referendum lacks any shar`i value. It is unlawful to cede any part of Sudan's land, which belongs to the whole Ummah. Playing a role in separation – by forsaking our fellow Muslims in the South – is religiously impermissible," the Association stressed.
The public referendum is set to be held on January 9, 2011. There will be two simultaneous referendums on that day. One referendum will see the inhabitants of the disputed region of Abyei decide on whether to become part of Southern or Northern Sudan. In the other referendum, Southern Sudanese will decide whether to separate from the North or not.
The referendum is a main element of a peace deal between the central government of Sudan, led by Al-Bashir, and Southern rebels in the former Sudan People's Liberation Movement, led by Salva Kiir. In 2005, this deal put an end to a civil war between the North and the South that lasted more than two decades.
ReferencesPublished on the Arabic web site of Onislam.net, and translated into English by Ahmed El-Gharbawy
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