Sudan's Turabi Says Islam Now 'Entrenched' Powerful Speaker of Parliament Claims America's Raid on a Khartoum Factory Aug. 20 Will Only 'Create 10,000 Bin Ladens.'

By Scott Peterson, writer of The Christian Science Monitor | The Christian Science Monitor, September 9, 1998 | Go to article overview

Sudan's Turabi Says Islam Now 'Entrenched' Powerful Speaker of Parliament Claims America's Raid on a Khartoum Factory Aug. 20 Will Only 'Create 10,000 Bin Ladens.'


Scott Peterson, writer of The Christian Science Monitor, The Christian Science Monitor


After the American cruise-missile strike on a factory in Khartoum Aug. 20, one man's appointment book filled up faster than anyone else's in Sudan.

From dawn until long after dusk, day after day, Hassan al-Turabi took advantage of the influx of Western journalists to convey Sudan's message to the world. Often seen as the power behind the throne of Sudan's Islamic government, the speaker of parliament has been called the "pope of terrorism" in the Western media.

But that is a point the cleric makes himself, laughing at its impossibility. In English, he speaks fast, flexing his Oxford and Sorbonne education, blending classical Islamic theology with his more-modern notions of justice.

"The {US} president wanted a target, and on his list Sudan was there," he says, gesticulating while sitting in his living room. "He finished his battle with Iran, and now it's our turn. This is a terrorist act against Sudan, a terrorist act."

Any effort by Washington to overthrow the regime, nine years after it came to power in a military coup is bound to fail, he says.

"Islam now is entrenched, and no one can remove it by force anymore," he says. "If you use force, we can defend ourselves. If you come in peace, we welcome you; if you come to fight us, we can fight back. …

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