Freedom House on Sudan: Shrill, Contentious and Unreliable

0
76

Sudan has been at war, off and on, since 1955. The war has been fought between the Sudanese government and rebels in southern Sudan. Since 1983 the war in the south has been largely conducted by the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) led by John Garang. (1)

As with most conflicts, and particularly civil war, the Sudanese conflagration has been beset with considerable propaganda and disinformation. Several American organisations have clearly been caught up, consciously or unconsciously, in this war. One of these institutions has been Freedom House, a body whose mission statement commits it to campaigning for freedom, democracy and human rights. While Freedom House may have done laudable things in these areas in other countries, its track record on Sudan has been questionable. The Center for Religious Freedom, headed by Nina Shea, is the division of Freedom House most involved with Sudanese affairs. (2)

Many of the claims about Sudan made by Freedom House, Nina Shea and the Center for Religious Freedom have been shrill, contentious and poorly sourced. These allegations have ranged from the sensationalist to the ridiculous. Freedom House, for example, has claimed "genocidal persecution" of Christians in Sudan. (3) The Center for Religious Freedom has also claimed of Sudan that "No place on earth is religious persecution more brutal". (4) Several other assertions have been equally questionable and based on very dubious sources. This publication will present and examine three or four examples of these allegations.

While no-one would deny that there have been grave human rights abuses by all parties to the conflict within Sudan, some of the claims made by Freedom House jar with reality and verge on partisan propaganda. Their claims of "genocidal persecution" and unprecedentedly brutal religious persecution, for example, are quite simply not borne out by the clear, independent, observations of other, better informed and more independent sources.

This has led to some clear contradictions. While director of the Center for Religious Freedom, Nina Shea is also, for example, the Vice-Chairman of the federally-funded US Commission on International Religious Freedom. Freedom House’s claims of "genocidal persecution" jar with the US Commission’s observation that the government permits non-Muslims to worship in existing places of worship and that several Christian groups have received permission to build new churches. (5) It has also noted that only one person was known to be imprisoned on religious grounds. The US Commission on International Religious Freedom also confirmed that the largely non-Muslim southern Sudan has been exempt from Islamic sharia law. (6)

The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in the Sudan, whose appointment was orchestrated by the United States, has also presented a markedly different picture to that projected by Nina Shea and Freedom House:

"Finally, although all counterparts I meet concurred with the view that there is no religious persecution as such, Churches do face some difficulties, and are often harassed with lengthy and cumbersome procedures, particularly hampering their freedom of movement within and outside the country." (7)

It is a matter of fact that Nina Shea has herself previously cited the United Nations Special Rapporteur as "an independent human rights investigator", a reliable source on Sudanese affairs. (8)

Reputable American newspapers such as ‘The New York Times’ have also presented a very different picture to that cited by Freedom House, reporting that "Khartoum’s churches on Sunday are filled to overflowing with Christians, worshipping freely, and those congregations are growing. One measure of the strength of Christianity here is that in recent years Catholic priests have been performing more than 7,000 baptisms of new-borns every Easter, church officials said…In dozens of interviews, Christians acknowledged they do not face overt oppression. By and large they are free to go where they please and to worship at the existing churches." (9)

Freedom House’s claims of "genocidal persecution" are also fundamentally undermined by the fact that well over half of the population of southern Sudan, including thousands of Christians, has fled not to rebel-controlled parts of the country, or neighbouring countries, but rather to Khartoum and other centres in northern Sudan. Victims of genocide and genocidal persecution very rarely flee towards those who seek to destroy or persecute them. To use an analogy, very few European Jews voluntarily moved to Berlin and the Third Reich in the 1930s and early 1940s. Similarly, few Tutsis were voluntarily trekking towards Hutu-controlled areas of Rwanda during the horrific genocide in that country. Claims of "genocide" for the purposes of political propaganda – as in the case of Sudan – devalues the memory of those who have been the victims of genocide.

It is obvious to any outside observer, therefore, that it is difficult to make the jump from the Special Rapporteur’s "no religious persecution as such" to Freedom House’s claim of "genocidal persecution" of Christians in Sudan.

It is clear that Freedom House, Nina Shea and the Center for Religious Freedom have placed considerable reliance upon questionable sources. The Center for Religious Freedom has, for example, placed great store in claims made by groups they describe as "coalition partners" such as Servant’s Heart, The Voice of the Martyrs, and Freedom Quest International, American and Canadian Christian groups active on the Sudan issue. (10) In one recent example, the Center accepted and disseminated grave allegations made by these groups that Sudanese armed forces had massacred between two and three thousand Sudanese civilians in attacks on the villages of Liang, Dengaji, Kawaji and Yawaji in late April 2002. It was claimed that there were fields littered with human remains. Servant’s Heart called for an investigation of its claims by the international Civilian Protection and Monitoring Team." (11) The CPMT did just that.

Previously, many of the sorts of claims made against the Government of Sudan by groups such as Servant’s Heart had been taken at face value. For the first time since the war began, however, there is now an independent mechanism in place able to investigate the allegations that have been levelled at the combatants. As part of the peace process, former US Senator John Danforth was instrumental in ensuring that both the Government and rebels signed an Agreement to Protect Civilians from Military Attack. This established the Civilian Protection Monitoring Team (CPMT) to investigate any allegations of attacks on civilians. The team was became operational at the end of November 2002. The CPMT is funded by the United States Government, and consists of an international team of experienced professionals serving as monitors. It is headed by a United States army brigadier-general.

The Findings of the Civilian Protection Monitoring Team

The CPMT conducted two on-site field investigations at the coordinates provided. Interviews with villagers and rebels within these areas confirmed that attacks had occurred in the late April time frame, stating that approximately 20-30 persons were killed, including civilians and combatants. It was also stated that the attacks in the alleged timeframe were related to "some cattle and sheep raids" which are common in the region.

The CPMT determined therefore that there had been government activity in the area in April 2002, and that approximately 20-30 people had been killed. The CPMT found that "These actions may have occurred in response to actions by the SPLM/A in the killing of two (2) civilians, looting and robbery of cattle and sheep in the Basholi area in early January and February 2002."

The CPMT found the evidence of 4-5 human remains in one location and another 4-5 remains at another location. It was noted that the latter location had been a battlefield and it was concluded that "It is highly likely that the human remains at this location are those of combatants who fought at this site".

The CPMT concluded: "The claim, therefore that up to ‘2,500 people were killed’ has not been substantiated." (12)

The Civilian Protection Monitoring Team recommended: "That all sources carefully screen future allegations for credibility, source of information, accuracy, and the feasibility of such an allegation being truthful so as to cautiously avoid inflaming the situation and reality on the ground." (13)

This was also not the only example of Servant’s Heart getting things grotesquely wrong on Sudan.

In another widely publicised claim, for example, Servant’s Heart claimed some months later that Sudanese government forces had murdered 59 civilians in attacks on ten villages in southern Sudan. It was also claimed that government soldiers had abducted ten children and six women. It was also alleged that Presbyterian minister Jacob Gadet Manyiel was burned to death together with his wife and four children. (14) The CPMT investigated these claims.

The Civilian Protection Monitoring Team conducted on-site field investigations in the areas of the incident from 6-10 June and 12-13 June 2003, collecting evidence and interviewing witnesses in Kosti, Adar, Bolgok, Pagak, Daga Post, Buong, Longochok and its surrounding villages, and Wan Tau. The CPMT "determined the allegation that the [Government of Sudan] lead militias forces launched an attack on 27 May 2003 is unsubstantiated. The claim that 59 persons were killed as a result of this attack is also unsubstantiated. Finally the claim that the [Government of Sudan] abducted 16 persons was also found to be unsubstantiated."

The CPMT interviewed with the representatives of Servant’s Heart who had made the allegation. It reported that "The alleger stated that he received the information third hand from Pastor John Wiyul. Neither he, nor Pastor John Wiyul had been to Longochok, Wan Tau or any of the villages that were attacked to verify the details with the remaining residents." (15)

With regard to the death of the Presbyterian pastor, the CPMT concluded that "the body of evidence… strongly suggests that it was the SPLM/A and an element of the Fellata not the [Government of Sudan] or its militia that contributed to the death of Pastor Jacob Manyiel as well as indeterminate number of people, the displacement of civilians, and the destruction and looting of civilian property. Although it could not be conclusively proven that the SPLM/A or the Fellata were respectively responsible for all of 59 civilians reported to have been killed, there is eyewitness testimony supporting that each is responsible for an indeterminate number of the deaths." (emphasis added by CPMT). (16)

It was also ascertained that the Pastor’s wife and children were alive and well, and that his house had not been burned. Pastor Manyiel had died of gunshot wounds.

The fact is that Servant’s Heart made baseless claims about Sudanese government forces. The motivation for the claims made by Servant’s Heart and disseminated by Freedom House has been independently questioned. It was reported, for example, that CPMT investigators were privately very critical of the claims made by Servant’s Heart. A CPMT member was said to have referred to its claims about Longochok as "a pack of lies" and implied that it had been designed to "derail the peace process in Sudan". (17) It is true that these allegations – allegations which certainly cast the Khartoum government in a bad light – were made at key phases during the Sudanese peace process, and may have been designed to adversely effect Sudanese-American relations.

Questionable Sources: Christian Solidarity International

Freedom House has also relied upon groups such as Christian Solidarity International (CSI) and this group’s claims of "slavery" and "slave redemption" in Sudan. (18) Yet these claims have now been comprehensively exposed as fraudulent and untrustworthy. A Western diplomat in Khartoum has stated that CSI has "zero credibility" among mainstream aid organisations and the United Nations. (19)

Exposes of the allegations made by CSI began to emerge as early as 1999. (20) In 2000, the Canadian government also clearly questioned the credibility of CSI’s assertions of large-scale "slave redemptions": "[R]eports, especially from CSI, about very large numbers were questioned, and frankly not accepted. Mention was also made to us of evidence that the SPLA were involved in "recycling" abductees…". (21) In February 2002, in an unprecedented international focus, ‘The Irish Times’, London’s ‘Independent on Sunday’, ‘The Washington Post’ and ‘International Herald Tribune’, published articles exposing the deep fraud and corruption at the heart of CSI’s claims of "slave redemption" in Sudan. (22) ‘The Independent on Sunday’ reported that it was able to "reveal that ‘redemption’ has often been a carefully orchestrated fraud". (23) In an open letter in 2000 senior SPLA commander Aleu Ayieny Aleu stated that "slave redemption" had become a "racket of mafia dimensions". (24) Aleu declared: "It was a hoax. This thing has been going on for no less than six years". (25) In May 2002, the CBS "60 Minutes" programme independently confirmed the unreliability of CSI’s claims of "slave redemption" in Sudan. (26)

It should also be noted on the sorts of claims made by CSI –” and repeated by Freedom House – that in a submission to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights in Geneva, Anti-Slavery International observed:

"Unless accurately reported, the issue can become a tool for indiscriminate and wholly undeserved prejudice against Arabs and Muslims. [WE] ARE WORRIED THAT SOME MEDIA REPORTS OF "SLAVE MARKETS", STOCKED BY ARAB SLAVE TRADERS – WHICH [WE] CONSIDER DISTORT REALITY – FUEL SUCH PREJUDICE." (27) (emphasis added)

Questionable Sources: Ms Kola Boof’s "Fatwa"

Freedom House’s reliance on questionable sources is nowhere more obvious than in its taking at face value the claims of Kola Boof. (28) Ms Boof’s "sudden" appearance on the Internet "several months ago" was noted by ‘The New York Times’ in December 2002. (29) Ms Boof came to prominence when she claimed that she had been made the subject of a Sudanese government fatwa issued by a Sudanese diplomat in London, Mr Jamal Ibrahim, allegedly sentencing her to death for being opposed to the Khartoum government and blaspheming Islam. Ms Boof claimed that she had been sentenced to be beheaded. These claims were carried by several media outlets, and repeated by Freedom House. (30)

On the basis of these and other previous claims Ms Boof quickly emerged as a darling of the anti-Sudan campaign, and was embraced by activists such as Maria Sliwa of "FreeWorldNow". (31) Building on her anti- Khartoum theme, Ms Boof also stated in interviews for example: "I am a political activist, a soldier in Dr. John Garang’s Sudanese People’s Liberation Army". (32)

Every one of her claims unravelled under examination. The facts were far less interesting. Mr Jamal Ibrahim, the deputy chief of mission at the Sudanese embassy in Britain, wrote an article critical of Ms Boof and claims she had previously made, an article published in ‘Al-Sharq Al- Awsat’ in September 2002. In this article he criticised her "falsehood and dishonesty" in previous claims. Ms Boof subsequently claimed that this article was in fact a fatwa, inaccurately stating that a fatwa is "a contract for assassination". [33]

Unlike Freedom House, ‘The New York Times’ took the trouble to confirm the claims made Ms Boof. The newspaper spoke to Sheikh Omar Bakri, a senior judge of the Islamic Sharia court in London, and someone noted for his forthright views. Ms Boof claimed that he had been party to the fatwa. He stated that "nobody issued a fatwa against Kola Boof". [34] The Islamic judge went on to state: "I know she was criticized by a Muslim official in London, but he isn’t in a position to issue a fatwa." This was confirmed by Mr Ibrahim himself, who said the claim was "bizarre and baseless". [35] Mr Ibrahim did criticise Ms Boof in his article, and there would appear to be considerable grounds for legitimate criticism, but as ‘The New York Times’ observed "criticism isn’t the same as a fatwa".

Ms Boof’s claims about her early life are similarly flawed. She alleged that Murahleen tribesmen killed her parents in Omdurman. These horsemen are only found in southern Kordofan, several hundred miles away from Omdurman. It is the equivalent in American terms of being attacked in a Washington-DC suburb by a band of Oklahoma cattlemen. She also claimed that the SPLA were in existence in 1977. It is also a simple matter of record that the SPLA was founded only in late 1983. [36] Ms Boof’s claim that her father was murdered in 1978 for speaking "up against…the brutish Islamic government of Sudan" similarly jars with reality. In 1978 Sudan was resolutely secular, governed by President Jaafar Nimeiri, a close American ally whose government was one of the largest recipients of international American economic and military assistance. The present Islamic government in Sudan only came to power in 1989.

Ms Boof made a number of other claims about herself. In August 2002, she claimed to have been shot at outside Los Angeles by Arab Muslim gunmen, and that she shot back. Boof further claimed to be under FBI protection. ‘The New York Times’ reported that the FBI "had no knowledge of Ms. Boof". [37]

Ms Boof was also said by ‘The New York Times’ to have "told flamboyant stories about her life in Egypt and Morocco, where, she said she was a B-movie actress and a high level prostitute, operating in luxury hotels…" It was during this time in Morocco that Ms Boof also claimed to have had an affair with Osama bin Laden in 1996. She claimed to have met bin Laden in a Senegalese restaurant "which was the only place in Marrakech where they knew how to cook lion’s meat" (one of her "favorite" dishes). She claimed that she subsequently became "Osama’s mistress" and that she had "lounged about in silk and diamonds". [38] Boof has also made other jarring claims, speaking, for example, about "rich Palestinians who have black women slaves working in their kitchens, their tongues cut out of their heads." [39]

Ms Boof’s somewhat elaborate claims began to be actively challenged by the end of 2002. ‘The New York Times’ examined her allegations in some depth. (40) In an interview with the newspaper, Ms Boof admitted to being manipulative: "I can’t deny that I’m a conniving person…I have to manipulate the system, and I don’t mind if you publish that…". The newspaper discredited the fatwa claim. Ms Boof was dropped by her publisher at the end of 2002.

And, despite having been warmly embraced and extensively publicised by the anti-Sudan lobby within the United States and taken up by Freedom House, Ms Boof’s claims soon became even too outrageous for all but the diehard fringe. The SPLA has also distanced itself from Ms Boof. ‘The New York Times’ reported that the SPLA "embraced her and then backed away, as Ms. Boof’s personal, if not literary credentials have been called into question." ‘The New York Times’ reported that anti-Sudan activists such as Ms Silwa has also "distanced" herself from Kola Boof’s claims, quoting her as stating: "I don’t think it behooves our human rights interest to connect ourselves with someone who is inconsistent and can’t prove her identity." [41]

Deng Ajak, secretary-general of the anti-government Sudan Commission for Human Rights, stated that he was initially supportive of Ms Boof "but when she said in one of her own e-mails to me that she had a brief encounter of dating Osama bin Laden, I said to my colleagues that we need to pull the plug on this one". He stated that "This could be one of the most impressively spun and choreographed pieces of fiction that one could imagine".

It is obvious that Freedom House has repeated "impressively spun" claims about Sudan. It would be disturbing enough that Freedom House was seen to have relied upon one source subsequently seen to have questionable where not simply false. To have relied upon a multiplicity of such sources clearly undermines much of the image it has projected of Sudan and Sudanese affairs. It can also only but cast a shadow on Freedom House’s integrity on other issues.

Conclusion

It should be clear that the reputation of any human rights organization depends upon the credibility of it claims and that of its sources. Ensuring the reliability of one’s sources and fact-checking is essential. Allegations which are in any way questionable should be withheld for that reason. Freedom House and Nina Shea have conspicuously failed to do this with regard to Sudan. A Western diplomat in Khartoum has said of Christian Solidarity International, of Freedom House’s prominent sources on Sudan, that it has "zero credibility". The American government-sponsored Civilian Protection Monitoring Team made the following recommendation in the light of grave allegations made by two more of Freedom House’s sources on Sudan: "That all sources carefully screen future allegations for credibility, source of information, accuracy, and the feasibility of such an allegation being truthful so as to cautiously avoid inflaming the situation and reality on the ground." [42] It is a recommendation to which Freedom House, Nina Shea and the Center for Religious Freedom should pay close attention in the future with regard to their claims about Sudan.

Notes:

[1] The SPLA is sometimes also referred to as the SPLM/A, a reference to the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement, ostensibly the political component of the organisation. The ‘Economist’ states that "the rebels have always, in theory, been a political movement as well as an army. In practice, the army was the movement" (March 1998). This publication refers to the organisation as the SPLA.

[2] For more information about Freedom House see their website: http://freedomhouse.org . Freedom House is partly financed by American government funding.

[3] See, "Key Christian Leaders to Convene for Action Against Genocidal Persecution: Sudan & North Korea", Press Release by Center for Religious Freedom, Washington-DC, 29 April 2001, and "Christian Leaders Ask U.S. to Sanction Sudan, North Korea", ‘The Washington Times’, 2 May 2002.

[4] ‘Center for Religious Freedom Fact Sheet: Sudan’, Center for Religious Freedom, Freedom House, Washington-DC,

[5] ‘U.S. Department of State Annual Report on International Religious Freedom for 1999: Sudan’, Bureau for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, Washington-DC, 9 September 1999.

[6] A significant example of Khartoum’s effort to accommodate the interests of Sudan’s non-Muslim southerners was the 1991 exemption of the largely non-Muslim southern Sudan from sharia law. Even the Clinton Administration has had to admit that sharia law was not applied in the south. The American State Department’s ‘Sudan Country Report on Human Rights Practices’, for example, has stated: "Sudan’s 1991 Criminal Act, based on Shari’a law, (prescribes) specific "hudud" punishments. The Government officially exempts the 10 Southern States, whose population is mostly non-Muslim, from parts of the 1991 Criminal Act. But the Act permits the possible future application of Shari’a law in the south, if the local state assemblies so decide." (See, ‘Sudan Country Report on Human Rights Practices for 1995’, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, United States Department of State, Washington-DC, February 1996.)

[7] ‘The Speech of the Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in the Sudan delivered to the Third Committee of the General Assembly’ 8 November 2001, New York.

[8] See, for example, Nina Shea, "A War on Religion", ‘The Wall Street Journal’, 31 July 1998.

[9] "Christians Face Difficulties in Arab Khartoum", ‘The New York Times’, 5 April 1998.

[10] Servant’s Heart is described as the Center for Religious Freedom as a "partner".

[11] This claim was clearly designed and timed to influence the Sudan Peace Act. The organisations specifically called upon "the US State Department to include this incident in their Sudan Peace Act-mandated report to Congress on atrocities and war criminals in Southern Sudan." These groups clearly wished to see the punitive clauses of the Sudan Peace Act enacted. Drafted towards the end of the Clinton Administration, the Sudan Peace Act encapsulated every negative aspect of the Clinton Administration’s policy towards Sudan – a policy described by former President Carter: "The people in Sudan want to resolve the conflict. The biggest obstacle [was] US government policy…Any sort of peace effort [was] aborted, basically by policies of the United States…Instead of working for peace in Sudan, the US government…basically promoted a continuation of the war." "Carter, Others Say US Has Faltered in Africa", ‘The Boston Globe’, 8 December 1999. The grotesquely-misnamed Sudan Peace Act perpetuates these policies.

[12] Executive Summary, ‘The Report Of Investigation: Liang, Dengaji, Kawaji and Yawagi Villages’, Civilian Protection Monitoring Team, Khartoum, 19 June 2003.

[13] ‘The Report Of Investigation: Liang, Dengaji, Kawaji, And Yawagi Villages’, Civilian Protection Monitoring Team, Khartoum, 19 June 2003.

[14] See, for example, Christian Solidarity Worldwide claims in "Christian Leader Burned to Death with Wife and Four Children as 59 People Killed", News Article by Assist News Service, California, 5 June 2003.

[15] ‘The Report Of Investigation: Longochok Area’, Civilian Protection Monitoring Team, Khartoum, 30 June 2003.

[16] Executive Summary, ‘The Report Of Investigation: Longochok Area’, Civilian Protection Monitoring Team, Khartoum, 30 June 2003.

[17] Comments reported in "Three Abductees Killed in Government of Sudan Captivity", Press Release by Servant’s Heart, 11 June 2003.

[18] See, for example, CSI materials on Freedom House/Center for Religious Freedom website.

[19] "Baroness Faces Anger Over Sudan ‘Slave Scam’", ‘The National Post’ (Toronto), 20 April 2002.

[20] Richard Miniter, "The False Promise of Slave Redemption", ‘The Atlantic Monthly’, July 1999.

[21] John Harker, ‘Human Security in Sudan: The Report of a Canadian Assessment Mission’, Prepared for the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ottawa, January 2000

[22] "The Great Slave Scam",’The Irish Times’ (Dublin), 23 February 2002; "Scam in Sudan – An Elaborate Hoax Involving Fake African Slaves and Less-than-Honest Interpreters is Duping Concerned Westerners", ‘The Independent on Sunday’ (London), 24 February 2002; "Ripping Off Slave ‘Redeemers’: Rebels Exploit Westerners’ Efforts to Buy Emancipation for Sudanese", ‘The Washington Post’, 26 February 2002; "Sudan Rip-Offs Over Phony Slaves", ‘International Herald Tribune’, 27 February 2002. "Slave Redemption" has also been extensively questioned. See, for example, Richard Miniter, "The False Promise of Slave Redemption", ‘The Atlantic Monthly’, July 1999; ‘The Reality of Slave Redemption’, European-Sudanese Public Affairs Council, London, March 2001; ‘The Use of Intertribal Raiding as ‘Slavery’ Propaganda in Sudan: A Statement of Concern to Mrs Mary Robinson, The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights’, European-Sudanese Public Affairs Council, London, March 200, all available at www.espac.org. Christian Solidarity International’s Sudan activities have long been seriously questioned. See, for example, ‘Time to Speak Out on Christian Solidarity International and Sudan: An Open Letter to Anti-Slavery International’, European-Sudanese Public Affairs Council, London, June 2001; ‘Prejudiced and Discredited: Christian Solidarity International and Sudan’, European-Sudanese Public Affairs Council, London, 2000, available at www.espac.org; David Hoile, ‘Sudan, Propaganda and Distortion: Allegations of Slavery and Slavery-Related Practices’, The Sudan Foundation, London, March 1997.

[23] "Scam in Sudan – An Elaborate Hoax Involving Fake African Slaves and Less-than-Honest Interpreters is Duping Concerned Westerners", ‘The Independent on Sunday’ (London), 24 February 2002

[24] "The Great Slave Scam", ‘The Irish Times’ (Dublin), 23 February 2002.

[25] "Ripping Off Slave ‘Redeemers’", ‘The Washington Post’, 26 February 2002.

[26] "The Slave Trade and Mass Redemptions Hoax in Sudan", CBS "60 Minutes", 16 May 2002.

[27] The reference number of this submission to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights is TS/S/4/97, and is available to view on the Anti-Slavery International web-site at www.charitynet.org/asi/submit5.htm

[28] See, for example, "The World’s Most Repressive Regimes 2003: A Special Report to the 59th Session of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, 2003", ‘Excerpted from Freedom in the World 2003, The Annual Survey of Political Rights & Civil Liberties’, Freedom House, New York, 2003. See, also, ‘Sudan and the Kola Boof Hoax: "Slavery" Propaganda Exposed’, The European-Sudanese Public Affairs Council, London, May 2003.

[29] Julie Salmon, "Mystery Enshrouds Kola Boof, Writer and Internet Persona", ‘The New York Times’, 11 December 2002.

[30] See, for example, "’Anti-Islam’ Books Spark Fatwa: Author Speaks Out Despite Warning From Bin Laden", News Article by World Daily Net, 9 November 2002. This article claimed that Sudanese diplomat Gamal Ibrahim had issues a fatwa calling for her to be beheaded. It also claimed that Ms Boof was "under the protection of U.S. government agents". On 7 November 2002, CNSNews.com claimed in an article entitled "Islam, Religion of Peace: Sudan’s Threat to Behead Author Sparks US Protests", that there was a "Sudanese government death warrant calling for the beheading of best-selling author Kola Boof", and that this had prompted anti-Sudanese demonstrations in Washington, New York and Los Angeles. An article in ‘The Washington Times’ claimed that Ms Boof was "sentenced to death for denouncing the oppression of women under Islamic law and the enslavement of non-Muslim black Africans in Sudan" ("Eminem’s Raunchy Rap", ‘The Washington Times’, 15 November 2002).’The Village Voice’ has also echoed her claims stating, for example, that "Prominent Sudanese writer Kola Boof has recently taken refuge in the U.S. after death threats in Sudan ("Taslima Nassrin Speaks (Still)", ‘The Village Voice’ (New York), 13-19 November 2002. The Russian newspaper, ‘Pravda’ also repeated Ms Boof’s claims ("Kola Boof, Some Lady", ‘Pravda’ (Moscow), 26 July 2002.

[31] Madison, for example, provided Ms Boof with considerable coverage on his radio program, a program already noted for its anti-Sudanese propaganda.

[32] "Kola Boof Surrenders", Interview by Nathan Lewis, at http://www.nathanlewis.com/artist_of_month/Ko…/body_kola_surrenders-interview.htm

[33] ‘The New York Times’ correctly pointed out that far from being a murder contract, a fatwa "is a juristic opinion issued by a Muslim scholar to address a specific problem, that can be related to political, economic or social issues", ("Mystery Enshrouds Kola Boof, Writer and Internet Persona", ‘The New York Times’, 11 December 2002).

[34] Julie Salmon, "Mystery Enshrouds Kola Boof, Writer and Internet Persona", ‘The New York Times’, 11 December 2002.

[35] Ibid.

[36] See, for example, the 1983 SPLM Manifesto, published in ‘Horn of Africa’, Volume VIII, Number 1, New Jersey, 1985

[37] Julie Salmon, "Mystery Enshrouds Kola Boof, Writer and Internet Persona", ‘The New York Times’, 11 December 2002.

[38] "Who’s Afraid of Kola Boof?". Statement by Kola Boof, 3 January 2003, available at http://poetwomen.50megs.com/custom2.html

[39] Ibid.

[40] Julie Salmon, "Mystery Enshrouds Kola Boof, Writer and Internet Persona", ‘The New York Times’, 11 December 2002.

[41] Ibid. Ms Sliwa does, however, continue to publicise a number of similarly discredited claims about Sudan, including allegations of
"slave redemption" still made by groups such as Christian Solidarity International.

[42] ‘The Report Of Investigation: Liang, Dengaji, Kawaji, And Yawagi Villages’, Civilian Protection Monitoring Team, Khartoum, 19 June 2003.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Comment moderation is enabled. Your comment may take some time to appear.