Concerns About Cultural Conflict Persist Despite Proposed Peace Deal

March 22, 2004

Source: NCM

On March 22, 2004 NCM reported, "Warring parties in oil-rich Sudan -- long branded a supporter of terror by the United States and even a temporary home base for Osama bin Laden -- may soon stop fighting. Tempted by promises of development assistance and investment, they're trying to finalize a deal in wavering peace talks in neighboring Kenya. But a short drive from the banks of the Nile to the dusty edge of Khartoum reveals little peace left in a country where Africa meets the Arab world and Christianity confronts Islam. More than 2 million people have died in Africa's oldest civil war. Now a peace deal may result in a six-year transitional government. The southerners, many of whom are Christians and animists, will then be given a chance to vote for independence from the Islamic north in a referendum. But Toby Madout, a veteran political leader from the south, worries about the fate of Christians in the north. He lists some of the Islamic Sharia laws being imposed on Christians here in the capital: the prohibition of alcohol, and the enforcement of Islamic dress for women, who may be punished by police for wearing Western clothes."