Turabi’s Islamic Project: From the Rhetoric of Freedom to the Politics of Tamkeen
This chapter examines Sudanese Islamism under the guidance of Sheikh Hassan Turabi. Sudan represents a unique case among a few models of the contemporary Islamic state, where the Islamist rulers—civilian-military professionals and politicians—came to power through a military coup d’état. The core argument is that Sudan’s problem was addressing governance as a project of Islamist literal justice. The project’s foremost theorist, Turabi, often used the rhetoric of freedom in promoting the Islamist project, while his strategies of governance were based primarily on implementing the politics of literal justice through tamkeen, a strategy of socio-political empowerment that rewards ideological loyalty while systematically prosecuting political opponents. The project’s outcome was clear: it failed to maintain the nation-state of Sudan, build a viable democracy, improve its human rights records, or even afford justice itself.