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A Sudanese Ramadan series raises controversy about “Islamists”


“The corrupt Sheikh Al-Rifai” is a new character for viewers

A Ramadan series in Sudan sparked widespread controversy for showing the personality of a corrupt cleric (Sheikh Al-Rifai), which some considered as a stab at the owners of the political Islamist movement that ruled the country for 30 years under the leadership of the isolated President Omar Al-Bashir.

And the “December Revolution” of 2019 overthrew Al-Bashir’s rule, which opened the door for critics of his regime by referring to corruption files that took place during his reign, and then linking the character of “Sheikh Al-Rifai” in the series with Al-Bashir’s supporters. However, the controversy sparked by the series “Wad al-Mak” also provoked clerics who are not affiliated with the political Islamist movement, which prompted some to say that the personality of “Sheikh al-Rifai” shook the image of clerics and bearded men in general, which angered a number of what society calls “men of clergy.” They flooded social media with denunciations of portraying the cleric as a corrupt figure.

The series is a Sudanese social drama written and directed by playwright Haitham Al-Amin, starring Musab Omar, Ahmed Al-Bakry, and Salah Ahmed, who plays the role of a corrupt cleric, which the Sudanese viewer is not used to.

Despite the torrent of criticism faced by the series “Wad al-Mak”, some interpret the huge campaign criticizing the series as a success for it, while others consider it an attempt to “clean up” the image of the clergy, which was greatly distorted during the Islamists’ rule in Sudan. Historically, clerics in Sudan enjoyed great respect and blind confidence among the general public, but this image was subjected to violent shocks during the rule of the Islamists.
Ramadan series raises controversy about “Islamists” in Sudan