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National Islamic Front

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Title: National Islamic Front  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
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Subject: Hassan al-Turabi, Islamism, Sudan, Khalil Ibrahim, Egyptian Islamic Jihad
Collection: 1960S Establishments, Islamic Political Parties in Sudan, Islamism in Sudan, Islamist Groups, Political Parties in Sudan
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National Islamic Front

National Islamic Front
الجبهة الإسلامية القومية
Abbreviation NIF
Formation 1960s
Type Political organisation
Purpose Creation and maintenance of Sudan as Islamic state
Leader Hassan al-Turabi
Affiliations National Congress
Political Wing

The National Islamic Front (

  • National Islamic Front at
  • Profile: Sudan's Islamist leader, BBC, 14 October 2003

External links

  • Kepel, Gilles (2002). Jihad, on the Trail of Political Islam. Harvard University Press. pp. 176–84. 
  2. ^ a b c "National Islamic Front". Retrieved 28 April 2015. 
  3. ^ a b , 2002JihadKepel, : p.177
  4. ^ "National Islamic Front". Retrieved 28 April 2015. According to the Political Handbook of the World 2011, the NIF was renamed as the National Congress (NC) in 1996 (2011, 1356). Other sources report that in November 1998, the NIF renamed itself the National Congress (NC). 
  5. ^ Reeves, Eric (17 September 2014). "Enough Forum: Watching the Bubble Burst". enough project. Retrieved 28 April 2015. Since the Government of Sudan—essentially the National Congress Party (formerly the National Islamic Front) ... 
  6. ^ a b c "National Islamic Front". Retrieved 28 April 2015. In late 1999/early 2000 the NIF went through a power struggle after Turabi attempted to take away Bashir's power (i.e. ability to name regional governors). In December 1999, Bashir took `the Ramadan decisions`, stripping Turabi of his posts, dissolving the parliament, suspending the constitution and declaring a state of national emergency. Eventually, in May 2000, Turabi was deposed from his position as "Speaker". As a result, Turabi then created the Popular National Congress Party later that summer. 
  7. ^ "Popular Congress Party (PCP)". Sudan Tribune. Retrieved 28 April 2015. 
  8. ^ , 2002JihadKepel, : p.178
  9. ^ a b c , 2002JihadKepel, : p.180
  10. ^ a b , 2002JihadKepel, : p.180-1
  11. ^ Moussa Yaqoub, Muhammad Faysal Al Saoud: malamih min tajriba al iqtissadiyya al islamiyya (Aspects of Experience in the Islamic Economy) (Jeddah: Saudi Publishing and Distributing House, 1998), esp. pp.54-55, 60, quoted in Kepel, Gilles, Jihad, 2002, p.180
  12. ^ , 2002JihadKepel, : p.179
  13. ^ source: Francis M. Deng
  14. ^ a b c d e f g Packer, George (11 September 2006). "The Moderate Martyr". The New Yorker. Retrieved 29 April 2015. 
  15. ^ Roy,, Olivier; Volk, Carol, translator (1994). The Failure of Political Islam. Harvard University Press. p. 125. Retrieved 2 May 2015. 
  16. ^ Kepel, Gilles (2006). Jihad: The Trail of Political Islam. Harvard University Press. p. 182. Retrieved 2 May 2015. 
  17. ^ a b c d e , 2002JihadKepel, : p.184
  18. ^ Fluehr-Lobban, Carolyn; Lobban, Richard (Spring 2001). "THE SUDAN SINCE 1989: NATIONAL ISLAMIC FRONT RULE". Arab Studies Quarterly 23 (2): 1–9. Retrieved 30 April 2015. 
  19. ^ , 2002JihadKepel, : p.182
  20. ^ a b , 2002JihadKepel, : p.183
  21. ^ official prepared statement of Steven Emerson before the Senate Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on Terrorism, Technology, and Government Information, on February 24, 1998, Federal Information Systems Corporation, Federal News Service, as downloaded from the Library of Congress, 1998, Made available 4/5/98
  22. ^ Historical Dictionary of Islamic Fundamentalism. Scarecrow Press. 2012. p. 252. Retrieved 29 April 2015. 


By 2012 South Sudan had gained independence, but abuses in Darfur had gained note, and the government was reportedly "still dominated" by high-ranking members of the NIF.[22]

After the John Garang to be Vice President in a peace deal. By 2006 there had been “a hundred-and-eighty-degree turn” in Turabi’s stated views, with declarations of support for gender equality, democracy and human rights.[14]

Starting around 1999 Hassan Turabi's political clout waned. Between late 1999 and early 2000 the NIF went through a power struggle following an attempt by Turabi to take away Bashir's ability to name regional governors. In December 1999, Bashir stripped Turabi of his posts, dissolved parliament, suspended the constitution and declared a state of national emergency.[6] Turabi created a splinter Popular National Congress Party in summer of 2000.[6]

Decreasing Influence

The abuses against southerners (some of whom were Christians) had aroused the activism of Christian groups in Europe and the US.[20] Sanctions were imposed by US and parlayed into legitimacy for the narrowly-based NIF -- a symbol of "resistance to imperialism".[17] Sudan came under United Nations sanctions for sponsoring a 1995 assassination attempt on Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.[14]

Bin Laden had been exiled to Sudan because he had publicly spoken out against the Saudi government for basing U.S. troops in Saudi Arabia in order to oppose Iraq's takeover of Kuwait. So although bin Laden and the NIF appeared to be on opposite sides of sympathy for or against the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, they both found differing reasons for their greater and common concern, the presence and involvement of the United States in that region's conflict.

Beginning in 1991, they also harbored Osama bin Laden for several years after the Saudis revoked his citizenship. It is suspected they hoped he could aid them through his wealth and construction company. However, eventually the NIF government deemed him too great a liability and ejected him.

The NIF also tried to position itself as the world's leading Saddam Hussein Turabi held an anti-American Islamist conference during Operation Desert Storm, toward the end of supporting the Iraqi people in their war. During terrorism expert Steven Emerson's 1998 testimony before the United States Senate, he implicated the Sudanese National Islamic Front as partly responsible for the February 1993 World Trade Center bombing.[21] That attack, on February 26, 1993, occurred on the 2nd anniversary of the retreat of Iraqi forces from Kuwait, thus ending the 1991 Gulf War.

The NIF intensified the war against the South which was declared a jihad.[14] [17] School uniforms were replaced with combat fatigues and students engaged in paramilitary drills. Young students learned jihadist chants.[14] On state television, actors simulated “weddings” between jihad martyrs and heavenly virgins (houris) on state television. Turabi also gave asylum and assistance to non-Sudanese jihadi, including bin Laden and other Al Qaeda members.[14] They also placed Sadiq al-Mahdi in prison, (despite the fact he was related to Turabi by marriage, the two had become bitter enemies by the mid-1980s). The regime also committed what are widely deemed to have been massive human rights violations against religious minorities, particularly in the South. Women in the Sudan could face execution for adultery even in cases of rape. This was used by several soldiers in their war against the South.

International organizations denounced the routine interrogation and torture by security agencies in anonymous "ghost houses". To compensate for its lack of mass support the NIF employed paramilitary force made up of Fallata tribesmen (traditionally agricultural day labourers) to "do its dirty work", the tribesmen being bound to the NIF because "they risked forfeiting everything should the NIF lose its grip on power." In interviews Turabi dismissed abuses as minimal and attributed them to the "extreme sensitively" of his opponents.[20]

Alleged human rights abuses by the NIF regime included war crimes, ethnic cleansing, a revival of slavery, torture of opponents, and an unprecedented number of refugees fleeing into Uganda, Kenya, Eritrea, Egypt, Europe and North America.[18] Repression of the "secular middle class" was "savage" and unprecedented for Sudan where "political customs" were relatively relaxed.[19] "Purges and executions were carried out in the upper ranks" of the army, and civil and military officials were subjected to Islamist "reeducation". Opponents were forced into exile to prevent them from organizing an alternative to the regime.[17]

Like the Jamaat-e-Islami in Pakistan, and unlike the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, or Islamic Salvation Front in Algeria, the NIF was interest in spreading Islam from above rather than preaching to the masses. It strove to eliminate the power of the traditional Sufi brotherhood based parties (Democratic Unionist Party and Umma Party) and replace them with itself.[17] Under NIF government, education was overhauled to focus on the glory of Arab and Islamic culture, and memorizing the Quran. Religious police in the capital insured that women were veiled, especially in government offices and universities.[14] [17]


The NIF alliance with the Omar al-Bashir putch has been described (by Olivier Roy) as similar to the Jamaat-e-Islami alliance with Pakistan General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq.[15] Jamaat-e-Islami also favored top-down Islamism and Zia also staged a coup against an elected government. Explanations for why the military allied itself with the NIF include infiltration of it by the NIF and the "ideological justification" the NIF gave the war as a jihad against the animists and Christians of the south.[16] (While the Pakistan military had just lost a war and Omar al-Bashir was continuing a war, both wars ended in the loss by secession of a large area of their country (East Pakistan and South Sudan), and in international opprobrium for millions of civilians killed and human rights abused.)

Alliance with military

On June 30, 1989 this government was overthrown by Colonel (later General) Omar al-Bashir who was committed to imposing the sharia on the and to seeking a military victory over the SPLA. While some NIF leaders, including Turabi, were placed under house arrest following the coup as part of the internal power struggle that brought President Omar Hasan Ahmad al-Bashir to power, they were soon released.

In 1989, the southern rebels, Sudan People's Liberation Movement signed an agreement with the democratic government that included provisions for a cease-fire, the freezing of the sharia (which the non-Muslim south opposed), the lifting of the state of emergency, and the abolition of all foreign political and military pacts and proposed a constitutional conference to decide Sudan's political future. On March 11, 1989, Prime Minister Sadiq al-Mahdi formed a new governing coalition that included the Umma party, the DUP party, and representatives of southern parties and the trade unions. The NIF refused to join the coalition because it was not committed to enforcing the sharia.

1989 coup

In 1983, Tarabi used his position as Attorney General to push for the strict application of sharia. "Within eighteen months, more than fifty suspected thieves had their hands chopped off. A Coptic Christian was hanged for possessing foreign currency; poor women were flogged for selling local beer."[14] 1986 elections their financial strength and backing among university graduates still gave them only ten percent of the vote and therefore a third-place position. They made up for this by increasingly gaining support of the military during a time of civil war. The well educated status of their leadership, Turabi was one of the best educated men in Sudan, also gained them prestige.

With al-Nimeiry regime

In 1979, when Nimeiry sought an accommodation with the NIF, Turabi was invited to become Attorney-General, NIF members help other member be placed in "every available position of power" in the Sudanese government.[12] It also benefited from Nimeiry's falling out with his erstwhile Communist allies. Sudan had the largest Communist Party in the Arab world[3] and was the Islamists' rival amongst University students. The Communists and NIF appealed to University students by being less based on family connections than the mainstream Sudanese parties.[13] Although Nimeiry called his regime socialist to the end he turned on the Communists as a threat to his power and likely as an impediment in gaining aid from the United States.

In the fall of 1977, the Faisal Islamic Bank opened a branch in the Sudan—60% of its start up capital was Saudi.[11] By the mid-1980s the bank was second biggest in Sudan in terms of money held on deposit.[9] Also founded in the late 1970s was the Al Baraka Bank. Both provided rewards for whose affiliated with Hassan al-Turabi's Islamist National Islamic Front—employment and wealth for young militant college graduates and easy credit for devout Muslim investors and businessmen.[9]

Turabi's group served as "intermediaries" between Sudan and Saudi Arabia, whose port Islamist support of Saudi Arabia. Saudi financial help for the NIF and its dominance of Islamic banking (which later meant all banking), gave them the means to transcend their original bases in intellectual and university circles.[10]

Sources of strength

[1] The National Islamic Front itself was founded following the failure of the anti-Numayri coup, led by the Ansar in July 1976.[8] Created in the 1960s as an

Formation & Early History



  • History 1
    • Formation & Early History 1.1
    • Sources of strength 1.2
    • With al-Nimeiry regime 1.3
    • 1989 coup 1.4
    • Alliance with military 1.5
    • Governance 1.6
    • Decreasing Influence 1.7
  • References 2
  • External links 3

In the late 1990s, the Front changed its name to National Congress,[4][5] and the "gross human rights violations" of the regime's early years gave way to "more subtle methods of social control such as restrictions on the right to freedom of expression, opinion, religion, association, and movement."[2] In 1999 al-Turabi and his supporters were expelled from the Congress by Sudan's ruler Omar Hassan al-Bashir, [6] and subsequently founded the rival Popular Congress Party which has remained in opposition.[7]

The NIF emerged from Muslim student groups that first began organizing in the universities during the 1940s, and its main support base has remained the college educated.[2] It supported the maintenance of an Islamic state run on sharia and rejected the concept of a secular state. It took a "top down" or "Islamisation from above" approach of "infiltrating Sudan's state apparatus, army, and financial system".[3] It demonstrated itself to be both politically adept and ruthless in its use of violence, in particular in the internal conflicts of the Second Sudanese Civil War and the Darfur conflict, as well in the provisioning of proxy forces such as the Lord's Resistance Army, West Nile Bank Front and Uganda National Rescue Front II against Uganda.

[2]).Islamic Republic of Iran in the Ruhollah Khomeini movements to secure political power in the 20th century (the other being the followers of Ayatollah Islamic revival government starting in 1979, and dominated it from 1989 to the late 1990s. It was one of only two Sudanese that influenced the Hassan al-Turabi and led by Dr. [1]

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