Watch: Sudanese Minister invites Jews to return

Sudan's new Minister of Religious Affairs calls on Jews to return to the country following overthrow of Omar al-Bashir.

Tags: MEMRI Sudan
Elad Benari ,

Sunset view of Khartoum, Sudan
Sunset view of Khartoum, Sudan

Nasr Al-Din Mufreh, Sudan's Minister of Religious Affairs, said in an interview on Saturday on the Al-Arabiya Network that Sudan is pluralistic in its views, values, cultures, ideologies, Islamic schools of thought, and religions, and he called upon Jewish minorities that may have left Sudan to reclaim their Sudanese citizenship and return to the country, which he pointed out is now ruled by secular law.

On a same-day interview on Sudania 24 TV, Sudanese writer Haidar Al-Mukashafi said that the Jewish presence in Sudan dates back over 1000 years, and he said that this may be evidenced by a rumor in the Sudanese city of Merow that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was born and raised in Sudan.

Al-Mukashafi said that Jews and other minorities may return to Sudan if reforms take place and if there are incentives to do so.

Both interviews were translated by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) and come in the wake of the overthrowing of former Sudanese dictator Omar al-Bashir in April of this year.

Bashir was replaced by the Transitional Military Council (TMC) after several months of street protests calling on him to step down. Following further protests, the TMC and the Forces of Freedom and Change (FFC) alliance agreed in July to a 39-month transition process to return to democracy, including the creation of executive, legislative and judicial institutions and procedures.

Last week, Sudan’s new Prime Minister, Abdalla Hamdok, unveiled his new cabinet which includes four women, including the country’s first ever female foreign affairs minister.

Israel and Sudan have no formal ties. In 2016, the country’s then-Foreign Minister hinted that his country could consider normalizing ties with Israel, but the government was then quick to that his comments were “taken out of contest”.

In 2009, Sudan accused Israel of carrying out an airstrike on an arms convoy near the Red Sea in eastern Sudan.

In 2011, news outlets in Sudan claimed that Israeli fighter jets, helicopters and possibly a submarine were involved in multiple attacks on targets in the country.

In October of 2012, Sudan claimed that Israeli airstrikes caused an explosion and fire at a military factory south of the capital, Khartoum, killing two people.

Sudan claimed that four aircraft hit the Yarmouk complex, setting off a huge blast that rocked the capital before dawn.

Israel refused all comment on Sudan's accusation about the factory blast, though a top Israeli defense official said Sudan "serves as a route for the transfer, via Egyptian territory, of Iranian weapons to Hamas and Islamic Jihad terrorists."