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Fri Dec 6, 2019, 03:50 AM

A Social Revolution to Rival Saudi Arabia

There’s a party in Osama bin Laden’s old neighborhood and Nasr Aldin has brought the booze to get things hopping. At 38, he’s no teenager, but it’s the first time he hasn’t feared the wrath of the authorities.

Being caught with alcohol in Sudan’s capital of Khartoum used to mean 40 lashes under former President Omar al-Bashir, who turned the African country of 40 million into an autocratic Islamic state over three decades. He was ousted by the army in April, and now the country that emulated Saudi Arabia in its pursuit of puritanism is rivaling the kingdom when it comes to loosening up.

“The old regime wanted to bury us alive,” Nasr Aldin said of his recent exploits in the Khartoum district of Riyadh, which al-Qaeda’s founder once called home in the 1990s. “We want to do things that are normal everywhere in the world,” he said, talking above the hubbub of a sidewalk cafe as smoke from the previously banned hookah water-pipes filled the air.

The power struggle between Islamists and secularists has dominated Sudan for generations and the risk is that the new era is just a prelude to another incarnation of that culture war.

Read more: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2019-12-06/sudan-is-staging-a-social-revolution-to-rival-saudi-arabia

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