Categories: Columnists

Ignorance is Bliss or is it Suicide? The case of Darfurians and their Islamic Identity in Rumbek

A mosque at the centre of Rumbek (Credit: The Upper Nile Times)

UNT – The over 55 years of civil wars between the North and the South in the Sudan were fought on economic, socio-cultural and religious identities as mirrored in the work of many Sudanese scholars.

In the Sudan there occurred over the centuries a process of Arabization,encompassing the gradual spread of both Arab identity and the Arabic language among Sudanese peoples. In a way the then dominating Arabs popularly known as Khartoum governments went on to develop a conception of a self-consciously Sudanese Arabic national identity. This Islamic fundamentalism was indignantly fought until the signing of CPA in 2005, an Agreement which gave South Sudan a right to self determination. By hook or by crook, the self determination for the South was attained in the January 2011 Referendum.

But then isn’t the case of Rumbek quite impertinent?

It is quite off-putting when one goes to Rumbek markets today because of their replica of the culture- “Islamic”, which our martyrs and so many unsung heroes acrimoniously fought against. You will find all shops and restaurants being owned or run by Darfurians, who are intransigent fans of the Islamic religion and culture. Every Friday almost all shops would close because the owners attend the “Salat AlJumu’ah”, a congregational prayer which Muslims hold every Friday. This is in the subservient to the Qur’an , “O ye who believe! When the call is proclaimed to prayer on Friday (the Day of Assembly), hasten earnestly to the Remembrance of Allah, and leave off business (and traffic): That is best for you if ye but knew! And when the Prayer is finished, then may ye disperse through the land, and seek of the Bounty of Allah: and celebrate the Praises of Allah often (and without stint): that ye may prosper (Qur’an,sura 62 (Al-Jumua), ayat 9-10).

You would argue that Darfurians are our brothers and sisters, but then I would say that is a tangled web of self-deception. You may share the colour of skin but beliefs and practices are what tie us together as a society.

And so where do those of us who don’t believe in Qur’an and want to do shopping on Fridays at the opportune time go?

And more importantly isn’t this incongruous to the cause that our martyrs suffered and died for?

NOTE: the opinions expressed herein are entirely for the Author of this article. The Upper Nile Times have no responsbility on the contents published here.

The Upper Nile Times

Agook Mayek: The author is a contributor for The Upper Nile Times. He lives in Rumbek, South Sudan