Sudan's Islamic scholars have issued a religious edict (fatwa) urging the president not to travel to an Arab summit because of the international warrant against him on war crimes charges, state media reported Sunday. The scholar's fatwa joins increasing calls in Africa's largest nation for President Omar al-Bashir to skip the summit in Qatar later this month for fear of an attempt to implement the arrest warrant issued by the International Criminal Court.
"The enemies would like to see us split and thrown to the four winds, and if you are harmed then the whole nation would be affected," the scholars argued in their fatwa.
"From a Sharia (Islamic law) standpoint, you must not travel abroad," they added, saying it was part of their role as Islamic scholars to advise the president on matters that affect the lives of Muslims in the country.
Only a few Arab countries are signatories to the ICC bound by its rules, and the Arab League has publicly stated that al-Bashir would be welcome to the March 27 summit to be held in the Qatari capital. Arab League chief Amr Moussa said last week that the 22-nation group would not act on the arrest warrant.
Despite the calls for him to stay home, the Sudanese president said he will attend the summit. "I insist on taking that decision since their arrest warrant is meant to restrict my movements and put me in a prison inside Sudan," he was quoted as saying in an interview published Saturday in the Egyptian weekly al-Osboa.