The Sudanese State and the Globalization of Islamist Terrorism

This rise of Islamic fundamentalism occurred in Sudan with the rise of Mahdist movement. The Mahdist movement is essentially an Islamic messianic movement, and this was led by Muhammad Ahmad bin Abd Allah, who had declared himself to be that very Mahdi in 1881 before the war, in the midst of the Urabi Revolt, to rescue Islam from the hands of corrupters of the religion. Although he was of Samaniya Sufi tradition, his ideology was heavily influenced by Wahhabism – which would later become a vector for Islamic radicalism sponsored by Saudi Arabia.Ahmad’s Mahdist movement would work to establish puritanical Islamic state. The jihad campaign easily overran the Khedivate forces in Sudan. The British directly intervened merely to protect its strategic posts – especially the geopolitically significant Bab-El-Mandeb on the Red Sea. Some Egyptian expedition force was sent against the Mahdist forces. This, led by the ill-prepared Col. William Hicks, ended in utter disaster. The Khedivate essentially left the situation of the Sudan in the hands of the self-proclaimed Mahdi for several years due to the budget cuts resulting from massive financial austerity measures that were being imposed in Egypt at the behest of its British advisors. Khartoum fell to the Mahdist forces in January 1885, solidifying their control over Sudan and entrenching it with their brand of Islamist ideology. Muhammad Ahmad died in June 1885, but the identity of his successor was hotly contested among three claimants. Nevertheless, after putting down internal revolts over his legitimacy, Abdallahi ibn Muhammad was ultimately deemed to be the successor-Caliph in 1891.

Source: The Sudanese State and the Globalization of Islamist Terrorism


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