Timeline of Islamism in Sudan
Last Updated: 6-27-2005
Nimayri and His Regime
1969 - Jafaar Nimeri (aka Nimayri) takes power in Sudan. (Field, p.257) Members of Islamic Charter Front (an offshoot of the Sudanese branch of the Muslim Brotherhood) are arrested and imprisoned - including Dr. Hassan 'Abd Allah al-Turabi, the Front's London and Sorbonne-educated leader. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hassan_al-Turabi)
1977 - Nimayri's initiative of `national reconciliation` frees and/or allows back from exile opposition leaders -- including Turabi.
"Turabi and his people now begin to play a major role, infiltrating the top echelons of the government where their education, frequently acquired in the West, made them indispensable. This pragmatic approach was described by Turabi himself as the `jurisprudence of necessity.` It consisted in placing Islamist supporters in every available position of power, and it was a direct consequence of the restricted, elitist nature of the organization. ... Turabi and his friends were adept at Islamizing society from the top down, in the mold of Mawdudi and the Jammat-e-Islami of Pakistan or Anwar Ibrahim's ABIM in Malaysia. (Kepel, p.179-180)
"The final 8 years of Nimayri's regime [are] marked by a growth in the influence of Turabi's adherents, who [are] given a free hand to set up cells within the state apparatus on condition that they [do] not challenge the dictator himself ... (Kepel) )
Rise of Islamism in Sudan
1983 September - "Suddenly" Nimeiri becomes "a born-again Muslim - some say due to a stroke he survived, others claim as penance for past excesses."
Nimeiri announces "on nationwide television that Islam would immediately be instituted as the law of the land." (Wright, p.201)
Thieves' hands were cut off, adulterous couples were stoned, alcohol was banned, and the Islamization of the banking system was officially inaugurated.
(Kepel, p.181-3) War in the South begins again (Field p.259)
1985 January 18 - 76-year-old Mahmud Muhammad Taha, is publicly hanged in Kartoum. The leader of a small, non-violent, liberal sufi group, Taha, is a Muslim reformer who opposes Shari'ah law. His execution follows an arrest 2 weeks prior, a two hour trial on January 7 and reflects the growing power of the Islamists and their desire to make an example of someone opposing shari'ah law. Although officially the elderly, obscure Taha was convicted of `sedition, undermining the constitution, inciting unlawful opposition to the government, and disturbing public tranquility,` appostacy is considered the true reason for execution by both supporters and opponents of the regime. (An-Na`im) (Kepel, p.181-3)
1985 - Nimayri suddenly became alarmed by the extent of the influence wielded by Turabi and his entourage, whom he called the `Satanic Brothers.` Turabi jailed. (Kepel, p.181-3)
1985 April (?) - Nimayri's regime collapses, Turabi freed. (Kepel, p.181-3)
1986 April - Parliamentary elections. Turabi's group (NIF) wins 21 out of 28 seats reserved for graduates with diplomas. Only 51 of 264 seats overall. (Kepel, p.181-3) Sadiq Al-Mahdi leader of Umma party and (large) Ansar Sufi sect becomes Prime Minister. Opposes "selective version of" Shariah law being imposed. (Field p.259)
1989 June - Sharia is suspended to pave the way for national reconciliation with the SPLA which is beating the army. (Kepel, p.181-3)
1989 June 30 - coup d'etat by General Omar Hassan al-Bashir (Turabi's people had successfully infiltrated the army providing religious justification for the war against Sudanese animists and Christians).
Savage repression follows. Purges and executions are immediately carried out in the upper ranks of the army.
Re-education . . . .
Torture . . . .
Banning of "Associations, political parties, and independent newspapers ... and their leading figures were imprisoned.
"NIF compensated for its lack of mass support by heavily favoring the Fallata, a hitherto marginal group of tribesmen from West Africa whose loyalty and willingness to do the government's dirty work. (Kepel, p.181-3) Although all politcal groupings are baned "within a month" it becomes clear that the NIF and its leader" are the inspiration of most of the new government's policies." (Field, p.260)
1991 April - Turabi hosts first Islamic Arab Popular Conference following defeat of Sadam Hussein in Gulf War I. Fosters anti-Western unity and networking between Sunni and Shia Islamists, and between Arab Nationalist and Islamist groups. (http://www.thenation.com/blogs/capitalgames?bid=3&pid=8552)
1991 June - Osama Bin Laden moves to Sudan from Saudi Arabia. Stays in Sudan until 1996.
1993 - Osama bin Laden is elected a member of the Supreme Council of Turabi's Islamic Arab Popular Conference. Abopts the title of "sheik" and issues religious fatwas. (According to Amir Taheri (http://www.benadorassociates.com/pf.php?id=150)
1993 August - Sudan is placed on the U.S.'s list of "state sponsors of terrorism," following the first W.T.C. bombing in February. State Department notes that "five of 15 suspects arrested" following the bombing were Sudanese. (http://www.thenation.com/blogs/capitalgames?bid=3&pid=8552)
1994 - Report issued by Human Rights Watch/Africa, conducted by Gaspar Biro, a Hungarian law professor and the United Nations' special envoy to Sudan in 1993. Finds the Sudanese government practicing "widespread and systematic torture" of political detainees. (Miller, p.153)
1995 - attempted assassination of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak by (Egyptian) Islamic Jihad organization, many of whose members are in exile in Sudan. (Sageman, p.45)
Egyptians and others blame attempt on Sudanese government. (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/africa/576380.stm) "International condemnation at the United Nations and economic sanctions" follow. (Sageman, p.45)
1996 April - diplomat at the Sudanese U.N. Mission in New York is expelled by the U.S. government "for having ties to a bomb plot against the U.N. building and other targets in New York in 1993." (U.S. State Department Patterns of Global Terrorism, http://www.mipt.org/pdf/1996pogt.pdf)
1997 - Turabi tells Assocate Press reporter, "America incarnates the devil for Muslims. When I say Muslims, I mean all the Muslims in the world." (http://www.thenation.com/blogs/capitalgames?bid=3&pid=8552)
1998 August 20 - Following the death of hundreds and wounding of thousands from the August 7, al Qaeda bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, the U.S. (under Pres. Clinton) sends a cruise missile to destroy the al-Shifa pharmaceutical plant in Sudan, claiming "the plant was a front for joint Iraqi-Sudanese-al Qaeda chemical weapons development efforts. This claim was hotly contested in the press." (http://www.thenation.com/blogs/capitalgames?bid=3&pid=8552)
1998 October - Allegations of Turabi encitement of major terrorist attack. Turabi allegedly sends emissaries to both Saddam and bin Laden in carrying his "hand-written letter analyzing the Middle East situation and U.S. vulnerabilities" and telling them the United States is "so preoccupied by internal crisis, that [it's] susceptible to a spectacular series of surprise terrorist attacks." The emissaries also discussed the use of chemical and biological weapons to be used in the attacks. This account appears on UPI wire service quoting "a knowledgeable U.S. official," and in Yossef Bodansky's 1999 book, Bin Laden, The Man Who Declared War on America.
Apparent Decline of Turabi and Islamism
2001 - Turabi begins "to fall out of favor with his past allies in the Sudanese government" and is "thrown in jail."
2004 March - Turabi out of favor. Imprisoned in Khobar prison in Khartoum for alleged coup attempt "on the orders of his one-time ally, current president Omar al-Bashir." (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hassan_al-Turabi, english.aljazeera.net)
2005 June 28 -
Turabi released from prison. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hassan_al-Turabi)
An-Na`im, Abdullahi Ahmen. The Second Message of Islam, by Mahmoud Mohamed Taha Translated by
Abdullahi Ahmen An-Na`im, 1987
Field, Michael, Inside the Arab World, Harvard University Press, 1995
Kepel, Giles, Jihad: The Trail of Political Islam
Miller, Judith. God Has Ninety Nine Names, c1996
Sageman, Marc, Understanding Terror Networks by Marc Sageman, University of Pennsylvania Press, 2004
Wright, Robin, Sacred Rage : The Wrath of Militant Islam
Capital Games blog by David Corn. http://www.thenation.com/blogs/capitalgames?bid=3&pid=8552