Sudan’s Minister of Religious Affairs and Endowments, Nasreddine Mufreh, denied the existence of an ISIS entity in Sudan, but pointed to the presence of many extremists spawned by the former regime.
“The whole world knows that ISIS is an international organization, and there are groups in a number of countries… But in Sudan we do not have a founding organization of ISIS and we can say there are individuals. I do not have a specific number for them,” he said during an email interview with Asharq Al-Awsat.
“We are not aware of the presence of ISIS at the moment, but there are some religious sermons in which extremism is emerging,” he added, stressing that his country would face all attempts to undermine the freedoms of the Sudanese components.
He emphasized that his ministry would work on combating extremism and takfiri ideas, fighting terrorism and renewing school curricula to produce rational students who would benefit their community.
“The Sudanese Islamic Movement project has been defeated in political and community life thanks to the glorious revolution,” he said, noting that a number of Islamist movement cadres were now trying to exploit mosques to promote their ideas.
“We will besiege these mosques with a serious discourse calling for moderation and the fight against extremism,” Mufreh announced.
The minister stressed that one of the tasks of his ministry and the transitional government was to strengthen the role of the youth and “employ the creative spirit in them, and enable them… to build the national project.”
He added: “We will empower women in society and maximize their religious rights… and will work to strengthen their role in building social peace.”
The minister said that he sent invitations to the Sudanese Jews, who were forced to leave their country, to return to Sudan and participate in its reconstruction.
“In a particular era from 1880 to 1969, there was a socio-economic bloc representing the Jews,” Mufreh said.
“These Jews were part of the features of society and merged into it. They worked in commerce, economics and the civil service and were highly educated,” he remarked.
He added that this group of Jews faced great pressure, especially during the era of former President Jaafar Nimeiri from 1969-1985.
“Within the framework of a new civil state and in light of this glorious revolution that has asserted that citizenship is the basis of rights and duties… I have invited all Sudanese abroad, including Jews, who have the nationality of this country, to return to live in Sudan,” Mufreh stated.
The Minister of Religious Affairs and Endowments considered that Christians in Sudan cannot be described as a minority.
“They are Sudanese and their religion is heavenly with its values and beliefs,” he noted.
Mufreh said that Christians faced persecution and very bad practices during the previous regime, adding that property stolen from Sudanese Christians during that era would be returned to its people through the Judiciary.
Christians and all people of other faiths and religions are free to practice their rituals, he concluded.