18 September 2012

Sudan's Turabi 'Ashamed' of Anti-Film Protests

Khartoum — Veteran Sudanese Islamist and opposition leader, Hassan Al-Turabi, has expressed strong disapproval of the protests that have been gripping the Muslim world over an anti-prophet film made in the U.S., saying he feels "ashamed" of the demonstrators whom he described as "ignorant laymen"

Addressing a symposium held in the Sudanese capital Khartoum on Tuesday to discuss the situation of women in the country, the leader of the Islamist opposition Popular Congress Party (PCP) stated that his shame stems from the randomness that characterized the protests, referring to the fact that the demonstrations against the film in Khartoum also targeted the German and British embassies.

Nearly 5000 protesters led by hard-line Islamists under connivance from segments of the authorities demonstrated on Friday outside the German, British and U.S. embassies in Khartoum against the film "Innocence of Muslims" which mocks Islam's Prophet Mohammed.

Protesters in downtown Khartoum set fire on the German embassy while similarly violent demonstrations outside the U.S. embassy in Suba suburb led to confrontations with the police and the death of two protesters who, according to the ministry of interior, were accidentally hit by police cars.

Al-Turabi went on to describe those who participated in the demonstrations as "ignorant laymen" because they overlooked the "oppressive rulers and their approval of usury", in an apparent dig at the government of the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) which recently endorsed the use of external interest loans despite the fact that Islamic theology strictly prohibits them.

His comments are likely to stir up controversy and draw the ire of the authorities as well as that of the conservative clerics who led mobilizations efforts for the protests.

Al-Turabi called on Muslims to renounce "vandalism and focus on producing films advocating the reality of the prophet character and exposing the reality of Europeans and Westerners and reminding them of their history in enslaving and humiliating black people in their countries.

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