Christian-Muslim Relations among the Internally Displaced Persons in KhartoumCase of Mandela and Wad Al-Bashir Camps

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Salma Mohamed Abd almun’im Abdalla
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University of Khartoum
There is a tendency in the Sudan to define the Sudanese conflict along religious lines, as Muslims versus Christians. This thesis examines the relationship among displaced communities of different faiths and how they consider the issues that unite or divide them. A fundamental question is -thus-: Is religion a dividing factor in the displaced camps? What are the concerns of displaced people about religious relations in their daily lives? Do the government and its institutions impose particular behavior; that is problematic to social interaction of displaced communities? The research findings are based on a field-work administered in two of the largest Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps in Khartoum. Namely, Mandela and Wad al-Bashir. The camps are cosmopolitan and are a melting pot of different cultures and religions. The primary data has been collected using the method of individual and group interviews as well as personal observation. The researcher used Snow-ball sampling because the population is extremely large and scattered over a large geographical area. This research demonstrated that, religious faith constitutes no barrier to mutual interaction and that in real life neither Islam nor Christianity constitutes ideological cleavages. The displaced people feel no differences among themselves along religious lines in their daily life. Factors of conflict hang up at the national and governmental levels. The majority of respondents of both religions agree that religion is manipulated as an instrument of political interest. Other factors such as religious institutions and community members play lesser roles in the use of religion for other purposes. On the contrary these religions constitute obvious differences in formal circles, namely governmental and administrative levels, as well as among political organizations. Here, at those levels there are barriers between Christianity and Islam and vice versa. Frequently actors in the political and hierarchy of society utilize religion for their own interests. The study showed that many Christians view Public Order Laws as critical factors in Christian/Muslim relations in the camps. Both Christians and Muslims agree on the occurrence of conflicts between Christians and State institutions. The reality is that the Church and the State are frequently at odds over development policy, confiscation of Church properties and demolition of Church buildings by the authorities under the guise of town planning. It is also noted that inter-communal violence is potentially eminent when a religious property is under the threat of destruction and/or confiscation. This is the situation when authorities of Khartoum State had confiscated Church premises and when many important parish centers were destroyed inside and outside the IDP camps. The research revealed that political attitude and behavior go contrary to the popular trends in inter-faith practice in the camp communities. The analysis of the perceptions of Christian-Muslim relations at this level shows that they should be valued, promoted and institutionalized by political actors namely the governments and political parties
Dissertation in fulfillment of M.Sc. Degree in Political Science
Political Science Christian-Muslim Relations Internally Displaced Mandela Wad Al-Bashir Camps University of Khartoum
Salma Mohamed Abd almun’im Abdalla, Christian-Muslim Relations among the Internally Displaced Persons in Khartoum Case of Mandela and Wad Al-Bashir Camps .- Khartoum : University of Khartoum, 2008 .- 184p. : illus., 28cm., M.Sc