The head of Sudan’s Sovereign Council, Abdel-Fattah al-Burhan, and the leader of the Popular Movement – North, Abdel Aziz al-Hilu, signed an agreement on Sunday which includes “separating religion from the state and unifying the army.”
The move effectively separates religion and state and guarantees freedom of worship in a country that practiced Sharia law for decades.
The agreement stipulates “the establishment of a civil, democratic, federal state in Sudan, which guarantees freedom of religion, freedom of belief, religious practices and worship for all Sudanese, by separating religion from regional, cultural and ethnic identity,” in addition to “forming a single professional national army, operating according to a new unified military doctrine.”
The agreement also stipulates “the existence of a single army, to be gradually integrated until the end of the transitional period, and the establishment of a federal civil state in Sudan, based on the separation of identity, culture, and religion from the state,” in addition to “stopping attacks and facilitating the access of humanitarian aid to the areas controlled by the popular movement.”
The Popular Movement – North explicitly called for a secular state, with the presence of two armies. This means that Sudan will dispense with Sharia law, which was first imposed there in 1983.
The transitional government is working to transform Sudan from being a shelter for extremists and terrorists into a nation seeking peace and looking to improve its relations with neighboring countries – including Israel – and its image globally.
The government changed the political map of Sudan when it took the bold step of signing a peace agreement with Israel on Oct. 23, joining the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain in the Abraham Accords.
After signing the Abraham Accords, the United States removed Sudan from the list of state sponsors of terrorism after Sudan’s transitional government demonstrated goodwill to transform its country.
The Sudanese army toppled the former regime on April 11, 2019, following popular protests across the country. Under its former leader Omar al-Bashir, Sudan was considered one of the biggest supporters of terrorism, and was classified as a state sponsor of terrorism. Bashir reportedly hosted al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden and the country became a funnel for smuggling Iranian weapons to Palestinians in Gaza between 2009-2012.
With this new transitional government, Sudan withdrew the Sudanese citizenship
from many terrorists who had been granted citizenship by the previous regime, the most prominent being Khaled Meshaal, former director of the political bureau of the terrorist Hamas movement.