The deafening silence

Category: Africa, World Affairs Topics: Conflicts And War, Darfur, Human Rights, Sudan Views: 14201

Casualties of Darfur conflict

This year, the world marked the ten-year anniversary of the genocide in Rwanda. Once again, the world forcefully declared "never again." Yet, once again, the world is dragging its feet as the fires of another conflict rage in Africa. This time, it is happening in the Darfur region of Western Sudan. And it is not pretty. 

The conflict in Darfur has a long history. The Darfur region is a very poor region almost entirely dedicated to subsistence agriculture and livestock herding for domestic and export purposes. The Fur and other ethnic African peoples of Darfur have farmed the most fertile parts of central Darfur for generations. The Northern part of Darfur is mostly desert, and the ethnic Arab populations of Northern Darfur bring their flocks to graze and water in the south every spring. This has led to conflicts between the Fur and the Arabs. The Fur and other African groups of Darfur formed self-defense groups in the 1990s to protect their crops, homes, and families from increasing incursions by the Arab raiders, many of whom have also been armed over the past decades. 

In early 2003, armed conflict broke out between two non-Arab rebel groups in Darfur, the Sudanese Liberation Army/Movement (SLA/SLM) and the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), and Sudanese government forces. The Sudanese government, however, responded by attacking the civilian populations associated with the rebel groups. Human Rights Watch, in a scathing report released in May 2004, accused the Sudanese government of ethnic cleaning in Darfur. The 77-page report documents how "Sudanese government forces have overseen and directly participated in massacres, summary executions of civilians, burnings of towns and villages, and the forcible depopulation of wide swaths of land long-inhabited by the Fur, Masalit, and Zaghawa ethnic groups [of the Darfur region]." Peter Takirambudde, executive director of the Africa Division of Human Rights Watch, said, "There can be no doubt about the Sudanese government's culpability in crimes against humanity in Darfur." 

In addition, government forces allied themselves with the janjaweed, armed Arab militiamen from the North of Darfur, and these fighters have raped, pillaged, and terrorized the civilians of Darfur. The government has recruited and armed an estimated 20,000 militia. In fact, numerous eye witness accounts document coordination between government and janjaweed forces. For instance, the Sudanese air force will bomb a village, and then a joint government-janjaweed force will later attack that same village. The janjaweed wear green khaki uniforms similar or identical to the Sudanese Army, except that the patch worn on the chest of sleeve may have a horseman. The janjaweed officers sometimes arrive at the scene of an attack in an army Land Cruiser. In addition, they use satellite phones said to be issued by the government, and the janjaweed have offices in the main government-controlled towns and are paid by the government. 

Militia in Darfur ride around on horses and camels accused of committing atrocities.

There is no religious element in this conflict, unlike the decades-old conflict in the South. Both the janjaweed and tribes of Darfur are Muslims. In fact--and this makes my blood curdle in fury--the Human Rights Watch report documents how the janjaweed have destroyed mosques, killed Imams, and desecrated Korans of the Dafur (emphasis added). Appendix C of the report lists 39 mosques in Darfur that have been destroyed by the janjaweed. Muslims killing Muslims; Muslims destroying mosques; Muslims desecrating Qur'ans. 

When I first heard reports of the genocide in Darfur, I was skeptical. I had thought that this was another attempt by the Western media to smear Muslim Sudan. I then researched this conflict, and I was shocked at what I learned. My earlier skepticism was entirely misplaced. Unfortunately, I am still haunted by the ghosts of my fundamentalist past from time to time. What is happening in Darfur is nothing short of genocide, and the silence of the Muslim world is most deafening. 

These are Muslims killing Muslims. What happened to this Qur'anic command: "If two parties among the Believers fall into a quarrel, make peace between them. If, however, one of them transgresses beyond bounds against the other, then fight (all of you) against the party that transgresses until it complies with the command of Allah. If it does (then) complies, then make peace between them with justice and be equitable, for Allah loves those who are equitable" (49:9)? Where are the Muslim voices of outrage? Where are the Muslim armies that should have been dispatched to protect their Darfurian brothers and sisters? Is it not true that "The Believers are but a single brotherhood," as the Qur'an mentioned in verse 49:10? What has happened to the Nation of Muhammad? 

The very same Muslim world that lambasted the United States for the horrible prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib has remained silent in the face of the massacre and rape of Muslims in Darfur. What shameful hypocrisy. It is the United States, in fact, that has been the most publicly vocal in its condemnation of the genocide in Darfur. The U.S. House of Representatives has even held hearings on Darfur. Where are the hearings in the governments of the Muslim world? As of this writing, there is not a single press release on the website of the Organization of the Islamic Conference on the distasteful violence between Muslims in Darfur. What has happened to the Nation of Muhammad? 

The remainder of verse 49:10 declares: "so make peace between your two (contending) brothers and fear Allah that you may receive Mercy." The Muslim world has failed its brothers and sisters in Darfur. The Prophet would be disgusted and horrified at our impotence. On the Day of Judgment, the innocent victims of the Darfur violence will point their fingers at us. They will ask us why we did not come to help them. Worse yet, Allah will ask us, just as He asked "the female (infant), buried alive" (81:9), for what crime were they killed. When "the Scrolls are laid open" (81:10), what will we say? What will we say? What will we say?

Hesham A. Hassaballa is a Chicago physician and writer. He is author of "Why I Love the Ten Commandments," published in the book Taking Back Islam: American Muslims Reclaim Their Faith (Rodale Press), winner of the prestigious Wilbur Award for 2003 Best Religion Book of the Year by the Religion Communicators Council.

  Category: Africa, World Affairs
  Topics: Conflicts And War, Darfur, Human Rights, Sudan
Views: 14201

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Older Comments:
Thought provoking and an eye opener article. Every leader in the muslim world is engaged in combating terrorism. Its shows that muslim world not only condemn trrorism but stress it vehemently that terrorism has never ever any place in Islam. And at the same time they are ignoring the fact that muslims of Darfur being terrorised. And who are doing this--- sadly and shamefuly speaking their own muslim brothers. may Allah give us true guidance to settle down this barberic incident, happeninfg in darfur.


May allah reward this brother for bringing attention to a disastrous humanitarian situation that few muslim/arab websites have paid any attention to. We have got to police our own ummah, or otherwise accept that outside forces will mobilize against misbehaving muslims themselves. Take Saddam's crimes against the muslims as a disastrous example of what can happen when we don't police ourselves. May we all find the courage to _loudly_ command the good and forbid the evil inshaAllah.

The report is entirely right or wrong. One fact is there that muslims fighting against each other.
Our muslim leaders fighting against terrorism and they don't know Biggest Terrorist activity under way in Darfur. may Allah guide them and they act upon this same command of Allah. Ameen

H.A. - why does everything have to go back to Washington? Would you have no identity outside of the gaze of America? You are like a child - 'look at me', 'look at me', begging for the attention of your 'big brother' the US.

To the editor - why must you post this boy's drivel? It is obvious that he is sick in some way.

Don't believe in this Human Right report entirely. There are part of the protocol. Investigate ourselves.

This is one article, very well written. We are only as helpless as we think we are. Public opinion moves mountains, the more maistream articles like this the bigger the voice of opposition. Join Lindy's Place for Muslims fighting Muslims discussions for anyone who wants to hone their writting skills and raise awareness for these kinds of issues. Raise your voice. Silence is not permitted.

I cry I cry I cry in SHAME. Ashamed because I belong to the Nation of Muhammed and also I belong to family of Adam. This HURTS so bad even more because I know exactly the same is happening in Somalia where muslims kill muslims. When I read this article I was shaking because its a great SIN ....Muslims are in GREAT SIN nowadays...we pray and ask allah to bring us to heaven but how can that happen when we are not even clean? We are sinners...even us who dont kill anybody. we sin because we dont care...all that matters is our or people we love. We dont care about other muslim. Ya Allah! This is SELFISHNESS!!!!

I wish there were BIG OIL Reserve in Sudan so that the necons and the oil-stealing thugs of Washington would pay attention.


Why Big Bangs taking place in the USA! and Why more are coming up? ...Why ask why? Try Bud Dry! (with your babies, children, wives, brother and sisters) every every day and night!


I strongly agree, and yet, I do not know what I can do. I have never heard of this issue, and certainly never heard of Muslims desecrating the Quran - the one thing we all agree on is that we have the same Quran. And if we have the same Quran, desecrating 'their' Quran is the same as desecrating 'our' Quran! Bad enough to break all the rules contained in it...


The mid-east is ran by greedy criminals who worship position and the dollar not ALLAH!

Until the people in these countries fight for justice for their own one will go out of their way to give it to them.

This is make ever so clear in the Arab leaders asking the US and the West to broker a peace with will NEVER happen.

Until the citizens of the Arab world realize that the root of their problems is planted in their own back yards....they will continue to live in hell on earth.

Great article. It is a sad fact for all of us; regardless of our religion or culture, people who claim to be Muslims, Jews, or Christians have done horrible things. So many articles on Islamicity rail against the complacent Americans. The fact is, there are millions of complacent Americans, but there are also millions that care - the same can be said for ALL other national or religious groups. Other articles say that people of all faiths should get together and work towards stopping the violence and injustice, maybe that is the best idea. May God be with the people of Dafur, and may the rest of the world get off their butts and do something about it!

Its obligatory on all well to do muslims to help the helpless ones.we'll be questioned on the day of judgement regarding their stateTthe present humiliation worldwide which muslims are buried into is because of our deafening silence.for Allah never changes the state of people unless they change their own souls.o!Allah protect muslims from lip-service muslims.

In the name of God, the merciful, the compassionate, it is so much refreshing to see an article finally attributed to the Africans in Sudan especially for the suffering people of Darfur. I remembering reading an article in the L.A times about how these Arab militiamen come into the houses of these people and have killed other men while praying and raping the women. There was one quote that I founds interesting in the paper where a woman who pleaded with a militiaman when he was raping her she asked, "why are you doing this?" and the response (not surprising was " Abid! Abid!" which is derogatory for blacks as being called slaves in arabic. How do we as a community cry about the atrocities of United States and about teh atrocities of the world when we ourselves have created a cycle in which we can control?

What a shame! As long as there is no democracy in Muslim countries, and until there is an organization that represents all Muslims that is independent of the politicians of Muslim states we will not achieve anything of substance. An Ummah in name only, with hypocrites at it's head.

Thank you for this eye-opener!
Unfortunately, I like many of us are not aware of such conflicts going on in other parts of the world, unless they are brought to our attention with all the details - reasons of the conflict, etc. It is important for our Brothers and Sisters who are in the media and who actively participate in social and political activism and our leaders and Imams, to bring such issues to the notice of the Muslim Ummah so that remedial action can be taken, inshallah.
Thank you Brother Hesham for the article.

In the name of ALLAH(SWT)the only other comment I can add is that we must think of ALLAH'S(SWT) last prophet's sermon on the ummah being non-discrimminating. We as muslims should keep trying to help and assist each other but be aware that we ourselves are not perfect. This world is a reality for a fixed time meaning that failures and obsticles can be overcome by THE WILL OF ALLAH(SWT). So let us pray and act accordingly.We must keep trying to obey ALLAH(SWT) always regardless of the good or the bad. INSHA-ALLAH

The Muslims of Darfur are tired of being mistreated by the Arab Government in Khartoum and I believe that they wanted to seperate. The militias were partly sent in due to this.

Muslims spend all their time accusing America and the West of hypocrisy that they often unwittingly fall in the same trap themselves.
When Israel kills ten Palestinians there is outrage expressed from pulpits and angry marchers on the streets burning flags. All of this is of course justified. However, Saddam Hussain kills 10 000 Iraqis(Plus brutal torture making what the Americans did seem like child's play) and all we get is silence.

I'm afraid this is nothing more than double-standards and hypocrisy. The Muslim Ummah needs to clean up its' act.

Salamu Alaikum,

We do appreciate you article, and May the Creator give you more wisdom to give us more of your brilliant articles! Ameen! Let us not point fingers at Arabs only; it is our duty as Muslims to remedy the situation. I do agree with the author that the United States is doing more for the sake of Muslims than the latter are doing for themselves or their bretheren. Who got rid of Hitler #2 (Saddam Hussein)? How liberated the Iraqi masses from the clutches of one of the biggest monsters since the dawn of history? Who has interceded for the sake of Bosnia Muslims? I am sick and tired of the impotence of the Muslim countries. I have said many times that Muslim nations do not exist at all these days. Let us not kid ourselves! There are very few true Muslims around the globe. As a matter of fact, Christians are doing a better job for us defending Muslims. The Roman Catholics in Italy and Spain have demonstrated in the Millions against the war in Iraq, a sign of sympathy for both sides. What did the Muslims do for us lately? NOTHING, NOTHING, NOTHING! All Muslims are bound to account for every single deed on the Day of Judgment. Let us not fool ourselves. Tomorrow is the Day of Reckoning! As people of faith, we ought to be ashamed for letting this happen. Hellfire is the abode for those who do not heed.

Assalamu Aleykum

this is a very interesting article.
I want your opinion in what ways we can
help our muslim brothers and sisters

Asalaamualeikum. Thank you for the excellent article on the situation in the Sudan. I was beginning to worry about the fact that I hadn't been reading any coverage of the genocide in the Sudan on Islamicity or any other muslim websites. Acknowledging the fact that this does appear to be a muslim-muslim conflict (although not necessarily about religion) is an important first step in hopefully putting an end to this genocide. I pray that this will spur on the muslim community to actively engage the Sudanese government to resolve the situation immediately.

Thank you for including this article on your website.

Paul Muto

Thank you brother for this article. I often hear many times in our community consistently blaming those who are not Muslims for all of our suffering as an Ummah.
But few of us seems to realize that they are doing what Allah warns us about in our Quran as those who have no faith. But what excuse do those of us who call ourselves Muslims have when we degrade our breatheren, and have our own Abu Ghaibs throughout the Muslim countries. I think it is our arrogance, ignorance and lack of unity throughout history that has brought us to our current state. It is defintely is a trying period in our lives and and we need to take a long hard look in the mirror and start correcting ourseleves and truly standing for what we say we believe in.

the present humiliation worldwide which muslims are buried into is because of our deafening silence.for Allah never changes the state of people unless they change their own souls.o!Allah protect muslims from lip-service muslims.

J FROM USA said:
I have not completely read this article. However, I must say, that it is our Arab bros and sis that contribute the colonialist destruction of the world. How? You ask. By there turning the cheek when Afrikans are oppressed, yet encourage all Afrikans to support their jihadist efforts. Not to mention, when you enter masjids, you see the Arabs grouped together, Indians grouped together and the Afrikans grouped together. Tolerated segregation is all this is. Another miseducation technique instilled in the slave by his master of colonial empires. Oh, and what ever happened to praying shoulder to shoulder toe to toe, like the angels. It has been my experience from whatever masjid I have attended thru out the South of the U.S., if you are Afrikan people alienate you. It is this that the colonialist have mastered and assisted the world in implementing. The exact same pride that the Ibliss had when he refused to bow before ALLAH's creation. He was arrogant! So yes we can tell Afrikans to be more like Arabs and denounce who they are, especially if they are of the diaspora. I once recall attending a masjid in Ga. and a young Afrikan accepted Islam. A brother of Pakistani / Indian origin, explained to me the need to tell the young bro. that he should pull up his pants and change his style of dress when attending the masjid. B/c in his country that is how things are done. Never mind that we are not in Pakistan and that this young man is an Afrikan and that HipHop is a part of our culture and that we sag our pants in an effort to reverse the colonial brainwashing. Oh and by the way, did not the prophet (PBUH) suggest men ware loose clothing? Yes, until MUSLIMS come together and truely SUBMITT to the will of ALLAH. We will continue to digress in the colonial "perception" of democracy. Keep in mind the #1 colonial rule to conquering is through division. Peace be upon you.

The last months when hearing about the conflict between muslims in Darfur I was asking myself why the ummah is not discussion this issue? How can muslims kill other muslims and be responsible for the death of thousand other muslims in such numbers and nobody cares? Even the leadership of a muslim state is involved. I am sorry but I can't understand why muslims are doing such things and why the ummah keeps silent.

Thank you Hesham Hassaballa very much for your great article and bringing up the issue!
as-salamu aleikum!

I agree partially with the article. However I would like to draw attention to the way must of us view situations without concrete evidence at hand. The author said he rearched, agreed! Did he mentioned the areas he visited in Dafur? No.

We should be careful wih what these so call "Human rights" organisations feed us with. After all, these big NGOs are all offshoot of the greater agenda of the Freemasons. They had a century to perfect their plans. A few months ago Bush mentioned that "THEIR" plans can take fifty years to mature... " They have got most of the world communication networks, they are everywhere!

But what do we have? We have Islam and intellect that Allah bestowed on us to identified evil machinations that confuse our minds. First, are you telling me that there is/are no people of Black skins in the government of Sudan? That they will sit and watch their "kins" being slaughtered simply cos of the colour of their skins, without doing anything? No sir, this issue is beyond what an outsider thinks nomater how "educated" he may appear to be.

The author has refer to a very important aspect though, the verse he quoted where Allah commands us to settle dispute b/w two disputing parties(that are MUMINUN). And that we are doing. From Nigeria here, we have learned Sheikhs that are in the vanguard of visitin and talking to those concern with a view to doing just that.

Please lets desist from agreeing with our adversaries always that whenever there is dispute it is Black against whites, Arabs against Africans, Jews against Arabs etc. The bottom line is the world of the Freemasons consider communism dead. The only obstacle to their progress is Islam and so we need not to be deceive or deviated from the reality. Lets remain focus on the issue if it is not Zionism Vs Islam then it is Infedelity Vs Islam period. And the struggle has just began. We have to thank Allah for showing us the true reality of the infidels and to implore Him to give us the <

Thank you, once again for a great article. I pray for our brother's and sister's in Darfur may Allah ease their suffering. Too often we forget, and become enmeshed in bashing others, pointing out their short comings, forgetting to look at our own selves. We are our own biggest enemy. Allah doesn't look at peoples' skin color, or race, but it is the intention and actions that count. I just wish people would have the courtesy of renouncing Islam instead of commiting their barbarous acts in the name of preserving the Truth. Protecting the truth needs no suicide bombers, it needs no orphaned children and widows, what it needs are clean hearts, free of anger, jealousy and covetousness. May Allah give us all guidance. Ya Haqq.

this article made my eyes well up in tears. At first i was disgusted that Arabs were doing such a thing and i was hesitant to make a descision. But the burning of mosques, as muslims, voids them of any support. As Mr. Hassaballa points out "this is muslims killing muslims" WHERE IS THE NATION OF MOHAMMAD?

I agree with what you say. I feel that the Arabs are racist towards non-Arabs. I think this is all due Nasser and his ilk, where the Arab unity took over the Muslim unity for some time.

Note that the Arabs concentrate all their efforts on Palestine, but there are worse atrocities being committed in the Muslim world that are should be given more attention. Allah values the blood of a Muslim more than the Kabba, however we, Muslims as a whole, do not.

What's happening in Sudan is a dire violation of human rights! I have a BUT,though. Do I sense a negative labelling of the Arab and Islamic world? If we apply Western mesuring sticks to our world, then please do not mix the units. What is an Australian, a Canadian, or an American? They are English speaking citizens of the respective countries that might have or not an English ancestry! Does anybody call the above English or Englishmen? Based on this measuring method, the Arab speaking Sudanese cannot be Arabs as well as the Canadian is not English! To be politically correct and not offend people like me, I am a Canadian of Arab Palestinian ancestry and if I read that the Arabs did something I wonder what the hell did the Palestinians(Arabs) do to the Darfur people??! Wouldn't it be more correct to say that the Arabic speaking or Arabophones Sudanese did this or that. Racially speaking all inhabitants of Sudan are black according to any racial chart, darker or lighter makes no difference, they are black! Why I say this? Because a very smart fellow on this site tried to make it a racial issue, like white(Arab?) against black(whatever he speaks). As the article stated it is not a religious conflict. I would have been more specific, not religious, not racial but an ethnic conflict. Don't get me wrong, I do not try to vindicate the Arabophones, all I want is to disassociate "Arab" as a general term for the perpetrators of this heineous crime, simply because as ancestry I am Arab and I don't feel myself ethnically responsible for what is happening in Sudan. Oh, yeah, they are guilty as charged, I personally would keep their trial in Hague(Nurenberg is obsolete). As we have Anglophone Canadian(I am one) and Francophone Canadian, nobody call us English, so with any Arabic speaking country. Let's stick to the Western measure, not Arabs but rather, Iraqis,Palestinians, Egyptians, etc. It's sounds like the Arabs were an invading force taking over Sudan from the Fur!?