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A Clash of Ideologies as Sudan Charts a New Path

The euphoria following the ousting of Sudan’s long-serving President Omar al-Bashir has been replaced by the hard work of cementing the democratic revolution. But a clash over the new school curriculum with some religious figures has exposed the tricky path that the transitional government is treading. Last month, at Friday prayers in a mosque in the capital, Khartoum, an imam known for his support of Bashir passionately shouted “Allah, Allah, Allah” before encouraging the male worshippers to scream and cry over the inclusion of the famous Michelangelo painting The Creation of Adam in a post-revolution history text book. Imam Mohamed al-Amin Ismail believed the painting, which forms part of the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican, was a heretical image. He also lashed out at Suna, the official news agency, for giving a platform to Omer al-Qarray, one of the people behind the new school programme, accusing him of promoting infidelity and atheism. Following the imam’s intervention, many other pro-Bashir imams joined him to launch a campaign against the new curriculum and Mr Qarray himself. His family later said that they had received death threats over his work. Then, Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok froze the introduction of the new curriculum.