Source: Sudan Tribune
Sudan's opposition leader, Hassan Al-Turabi, on Friday said he wishes a female candidate would succeed him at the helm of the Popular Congress Party (PCP).
Addressing the PCP's third women conference at the party's headquarters in Khartoum, the veteran Islamist opined that electing a woman to lead the party should serve to create "real change" in society's norms.
"I wish that the PCP, if it wanted to shock people and create real change, brings a woman as secretary-general," he said.
The PCP's secretary-general added that change often occurs after entrenched beliefs are challenged, calling on other political parties to place women on senior positions.
He further reiterated his broadly controversial fatwa that women should be allowed to lead the prayer in Islam.
In his eighties, Al-Turabi's is one of the most prominent intellectual figures in Sudan's contemporary history.
His controversial religious views and fatwas, especially on women, have earned him the enmity of fundamentalist Islamist groups and individuals, some of whom branded him as an apostate.
In his Friday's address, Al-Turabi satirized Islamist clerics who criticize his views on women, saying he has "suffered so much at the hands of those who call themselves religious scholars and don't know anything."
He went on to call for changing women-related laws and pointed out that they are not seeking to follow the West's model.
"We are not satisfied with the status of women in the West. Women there are treated as sexual figures more than humans," he said.
In a separate speech he delivered at the closing session of the PCP's women conference on Saturday, Al-Turabi renewed his criticism of clerics who oppose new views and brand people as infidels.
"If you come up with something new, they come to you saying that newness is heresy, and every heresy is forbidden and that you're going to hell."
Turning to the political arena, Al-Turabi stressed that opposition parties are united behind the goal of regime change.
He also expressed confidence that Sudanese people are fed-up with the government president Al-Bashir, saying it is only a matter of time before they rise against it.