Catholic World News

Southern Sudan: a different culture, a quest for independence

January 27, 2011

A referendum in southern Sudan has undoubtedly produced a large majority in favor of independence from the Khartoum government, but the official returns have been delayed-- adding to tensions that new fighting could break out in the region that saw Africa's longest and bloodiest civil war.

The north-south divide in Sudan is geographical, political, and religious. The Khartoum government is Islamic; the south is not. William Saunders, in a short but informative summary of the situation, notes: "Ironically, the fanaticism of the north, aimed at stamping out both African cultural identity and the Christian church, fueled a burst of Christianity in the south. Now, perhaps half the southerners are Christians."

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