Sudan will now permit non-Muslims to consume alcohol ban Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). FGM is a practice which typically involves the partial or total removal of the external genitalia of girls and women.
The country’s Justice Minister, Nasredeen Abdulbari revealed this on Saturday in what appears a ‘turn-around’ from almost four decades of hardline Islamist policies.
Women’s rights will be strengthened and non-Muslims will no longer be criminalised for drinking alcohol in private.
Mr. Abdulbari said the ban on alcohol consumption remains for Muslims and offended will still be flogged under Islamic law.
Alcoholic drinks were banned when former President Jaafar Nimeiri introduced Islamic law in 1983, throwing bottles of whisky into the Nile in the capital Khartoum.
The transition government which took over after Omar al-Bashir was toppled last year has vowed to lead the 43 million people of Sudan to democracy, end discrimination and make peace with rebels.
Apostasy will also be decriminalised and women will also no longer need a permit from male members of their families to travel with their children.
Nimeiri’s introduction Islamic law was major catalyst for a 22-year-long war between Sudan’s Muslim north and the mainly Christian south that led in 2011 to South Sudan’s secession.
Bashir extended Islamic law after he took power in 1989.
Sudanese Christians live mainly in Khartoum and in the Nuba mountains near the South Sudan border. Some Sudanese also follow traditional African beliefs.
The transition government led by Abdalla Hamdok runs the country in an uneasy coalition with the military which helped remove Bashir after months of mass protests.