Islamism in Sudan:
Islamism in Sudan:
Before, After, in Between
The Sudanese Islamism experiment is a complex and multilayered phenomenon which sheds important light on the current debate on Islamism and post-Islamism. To start with, Sudan is probably the only country which entered the last century in ‘post-Islamist’ mode, having experienced its own Islamic revolution a century before Iran, it went through phases of conflict, disillusionment and rethinking over many decades. The modern Islamist movement in Sudan thus emerged into an environment which has already been framed within a specific ‘post-Islamist condition’. No less significant, however, is the emergence of a variety of post-Islamist ‘projects’ simultaneously with the rise of the Islamist movement itself, and in some cases as a result of splits within it, played an important role in shaping the way the movement evolved. Within this broader context, the pragmatic and pro-modernist line propagated by the Islamist movement under Turabi had a mutually reinforcing relationship with a variety of trends within Sudanese Islam. The experiment also raises questions about the generally positive characterisation of post-Islamism among the bulk of commentators who have taken up the issue. This stems from the fact that most of these commentators start from the premise that Islamism is a problem and post-Islamism is the solution. A post-Islamist order is therefore seen as having been ‘immunised’ against the destabilising impact of Islamism after having received a high dose of it which bred rejection and aversion. The Sudanese case indicates that this ‘immunisation’ is not absolute. More problematically, an ‘Islamism’ liberated from the rigid constraints of traditional dogma might lose its ethical moorings, thus giving us the worst of both worlds: loss of both traditional and modern restraints.
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