Religious Politics and State Power: Religion in Sudan during War and Peace

Hashim, Mohamed, Religious Studies - Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, University of Virginia
Ochs, Peter, AS-Religious Studies, University of Virginia

This research aims to investigate how the National Reconciliation that took place in 1977 during the interwar years (1972-1983) between the First and Second Sudanese Civil Wars further alienated the political center and the impact it had on bringing religion from a peripheral to a central issue into national politics. Although the National Reconciliation and the weaponization of religion in multi-religious and multi-ethnic states and societies has been extensively studied in International Relations, better conceptualizing the relationship between how domestic, regional and international influences affect religious politics during war and peace can refine how scholars and policymakers alike understand elite politics in post-colonial states from a state-society lens and its effects on politico-religious violence. The research reached many conclusions; the most important one being that the National Reconciliation itself was motivated by Nimeiri’s intent on consolidating state control and internationally projecting Sudan as a regional ally with the US against Communist expansion in East Africa in order to finance state-building projects. By consolidating national control, his logic was to co-opt the traditional political parties. However, as Nimeiri’s coalition increasingly suffered from inter-Islamist rivalry, he leaned towards al-Turabi’s Islamic Charter Front (IFC) - with its expansive investment networks to finance his development plans; opening the door for a modified version of religious outbidding (defined in greater detail as religious outbidding entrapment). This religious outbidding entrapment further alienated Nimeiri from his own government as he vied to influence the political center against al-Turabi and Sadiq al-Mahdi’s competing visions of Islamist politics; further marginalizing the southern leadership’s role in national politics.

MA (Master of Arts)
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