The nation of Sudan has one of the most turbulent histories on Earth. Its history is filled with jihad, gorilla warfare, militias, civil war, ethnic cleansing, religious persecution, mass poverty and intense oppression. The conflict in Sudan's history has led to a fracturing of the country into two separate countries, North and South Sudan.

In ancient times, before Sudan was ever Sudan, this region was part of the Kingdom of Kush. In the 8th century B.C., the Kingdom of Kush invaded Egypt, conquered it and set up its rule from there. One large region ruled by the Kingdom of Kush was Nubia. Its capital was Meroe. Because of its capital, it was also known as the Meroitic Kingdom. Nubian rulers ruled Meroe until the 4th century A.D. By the 6th century A.D. , fifty states had evolved out of the Meroitic Kingdom. A significant portion of what we call Sudan today was, at that time, called Alawa and Muqurra.

What is the religious heritage of this region? Islam spread throughout this area for a long period of time, supplanting other religions and bringing the population under its control. For centuries, very little changed in this region of Africa.  

In 1820, the region of Sudan was shaken up by the invasion of the Albanian-Ottoman warlord and ruler of Egypt, Muhammad Ali. Muhammad Ali conquered Northern Sudan. The region, as well as most of the rest of modern-day Sudan, was both inherited and conquered by Ismail 1. In 1879, the Great Powers (Germany, Austria-Hungary, Russia, Italy, France, England) forced Ismail off of his throne and set up a ruler named Tewfik 1 in his place. As a result of corruption and mass mismanagement of the empire, a revolt erupted known as the Orabi Revolt. British intervention stabilized, to some degree, the turbulent situation. However, a revolutionary, named Muhammad Ahmad ibn Abd Allah, led another revolt which saw the death of the British Governor General, Charles George Gordon. The British decided to withdraw forces from Sudan and left the country to Muhammad Ahmad. Six months after capturing Kharthoum, Muhammad Ahmad died of typhus. After a bitter power struggle, Abdallahi ibn Muhammad seized control.

In the 1890s, Britain again sought to re-establish rule over Sudan. A number of decisive battles from 1896 to 1898 achieved this. Sudan became a British colony, however, it was run by a governor general appointed by Egypt with British consent. The British divided Sudan into two separate territories, the Muslim North and the Christian South.

In the 20th century, a nationalist movement pressed hard for Sudan's independence from Britain and Britain allowed the North and South Sudanese to have a free vote for independence. At the will of the Sudanese people, in 1954 Sudan became a nation, independent from Britain. Democratically elected Ismail Al-Azhari became the first prime minister of modern Sudan. However, the days for democracy in Sudan were numbered.

On June 30, 1989, Colonel Omar Al-Bashir ousted the unstable coalition government in a bloodless military coup. The radical Al-Bashir immediately began solidifying his control over Sudan. He is a devout Muslim and he instituted an Islamic legal code for the entire country. He assumed the position of chief of state, chief of the armed forces, prime minister and minister of defence. The set-up of his rule was followed by military purges and the banning of political parties, associations and independent newspapers. A number of journalists and political figures were imprisoned. In 1993, Al-Bashir appointed himself as president of the country. In the 1996 national election, he was the only candidate. Sudan had become a single-party state.

What was, and is, the nature of Sudan's government under Al-Bashir? This government has sought to strengthen Islamic fundamentalism and Islamic terrorism. Even Osama Bin Ladin was invited to Sudan. The United States has identified Sudan as a state sponsor of terrorism. Hamas is another terrorist organization which has a base within Sudan and is invited to speak with Al-Bashir.

Al-Bashir is probably most known for two horrific atrocities in Sudan. One of those conflicts is the Darfur conflict. In the region of Darfur, a massive genocidal effort was enacted which has seen the death of somewhere between 200,000 and 400,000 Sudanese. The North Sudanese government denies these statistics and claims that less than 10,000 people have died in this conflict. The other conflict is the long-standing civil war between Al-Bashir's government and the Southern Sudanese. In this conflict, Arab-Muslim militias have killed over 1.5 million professing Christians. This war has resulted in the fracturing of the country. An unbending Southern Sudanese population, supported by the international community, has at long last achieved independence from Northern Sudan.

Although Al-Bashir's Sudan is most infamously known for the Darfur conflicts and the persecution of the Southern Sudanese, Sudan is also haunted by another human rights tragedy. A thriving slave industry has existed in Sudan for years and it is estimated that during the second Sudanese civil war as many as 200,000 people were inducted into slavery. One eighteen-year old man who has been freed and who has received international attention is Ker Aleu Deng. He was a young child when Arab raiders attacked his village, killed the adult male population and inducted him and his mother into slavery. In captivity, he was forced to cite Muslim prayers and he was often beaten. As a punishment, he had chili peppers rubbed into his eyes and this caused him to go blind. Today, he is a free man living in America and he professes to be a Christian.

An international effort to prosecute Al-Bashir resulted in the International Criminal Court issuing a warrant for him in March of 2009, accusing him of war crimes and crimes against humanity. In 2010, after a lengthy appeal, the Court held that there was insufficient evidence to charge him with genocide. However, a subsequent warrant for him has been issued but is not expected to result in his surrender. Despite his record, Al-Bashir has strong support from a number of political allies. In the Muslim world, to many he is a hero for aggressively advancing Islam. The International Criminal Court's decision to issue him a warrant is opposed by the League of Arab States. It is also opposed by the governments of Russia and China who have strong economic ties with North Sudan.

Many of Sudan's finest men and women have been bludgeoned to death and snuffed out by the violent rule of Al-Bashir. However, many Sundanese have resisted him and Sharia Law, and their resistance has led to the formation of a new country, South Sudan. May South Sudan inspire others to stand for truth and freedom. May they receive the support of the international community. May the world also call for and see the prosecution and arrest of Al-Bashir.


Shawn Stevens





“Gaza premier, Hamas leaders meet Sudan's Bashir.”