|South Sudanese vote to end Islamic rule ~ a stand against dhimmitude ~ and for individual freedom and dignity!|
Most of the Arab media are glum about the prospect of South Sudan’s secession
THROUGH the lens of the Muslim Brotherhood’s slick Arabic-language website, the referendum on the future of South Sudan looks rather different from its portrayal elsewhere. The looming partition of Sudan is not, it says, the logical outcome of five decades of civil war. It is the fruition of a century-old Western ecclesiastical plot to close Islam’s gateway into Africa, and the start of a plan to break other Arab countries into feeble statelets so as to grab their riches.
A Brotherhood reporter in the southern capital, Juba, says he witnessed massive fraud in the voting, so turnout will not genuinely have reached even half the 60% threshold needed to validate the poll. Another article reports a fatwa, signed by 60 prominent Brotherhood clerics, banning Muslims from voting for southern independence.
But not all Arab accounts of Sudan are so blinkered and shrill. Belatedly, most Arab governments and commentators have come to accept the inevitability of South Sudan’s separation. Amr Moussa, who runs the 22-member Arab League, recently took his cue from Sudan’s own president, Omar al-Bashir, and paid a friendly visit to Juba. Arabs, he said, would continue to support the South, whatever future its people opted for.
Neighbouring Egypt, which long sought to impede South Sudan’s quest for independence ostensibly because of fears over the White Nile’s headwaters, is now also currying favour with offers of educational and technical aid. Some Arab analysts have sounded more informed warnings, fretting that a truncated northern Sudan could become an Islamist police state and that the impoverished South may soon relapse into internal strife.
Still, an undercurrent of mistrust and paranoia, exacerbated by a widespread ignorance of Sudan’s geography and history, tends to infuse Arabs’ misunderstanding of the country. Libya’s leader, Muammar Qaddafi, recently described the likely break-up of Sudan as a disease that would spread through the region. Mosque sermons in Egypt have linked Sudan’s fate to sectarian strife in Iraq and to recent attacks against Egyptian Christians, as parts of a global effort to create fitna, or schism, in Muslim lands. But Islamists who campaign elsewhere have drawn a different lesson from Sudan’s referendum. It should, they say, serve as a model for resolving the equally long dispute over India-controlled Kashmir, which should, in their view, become independent too.