Friday, December 10, 2010

Sudan Musicians Fear Return Of Sharia Law


Khartoum hip-hop group Rezoulution say they're free to rap about politics - up to a point

Sudan's musicians have gone from persecuted outcasts to high-profile stars. Now, as a referendum on the south's possible independence approaches, there are fears that the same combination of ideology and politics might send them packing again, writes the BBC's James Copnall in Khartoum.

When hardline Islamists took control of Sudan in 1989, they made it clear that a lot of music was not acceptable.

"Women and the arts are the two great casualties of the Islamists," says Sudanese human rights activist Albaqir Alafif Mukhtar.

Songs about that old musical staple - romantic love - were particularly frowned upon.

Some musicians were banned from staging concerts and many musicians, artists and intellectuals fled the country.

At the time the Muslim north, which implemented Sharia law, was engaged in a devastating civil war with the south, where most people follow Christianity and traditional religions.

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