OBITUARY: Hassan Al-Turabi; The Man Who Invited Osama Bin Laden To Sudan

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US media is reporting on the death of Hassan Al-Turabi, a past leader in the Sudanese Muslim Brotherhood. The New York Times story reports on Al-Turabi without mentioning his role in the Brotherhood:

KHARTOUM, Sudan — Hassan al-Turabi, the Sudanese Islamist who played a central role in the 1989 coup that brought President Omar al-Bashir to power and who once hosted Osama bin Laden, died on Saturday, Sudan’s state-run news agency said. He was 84.

Mr. Turabi championed radical Islam in the early 1990s, inviting Bin Laden, the leader of Al Qaeda, and his deputy, Ayman al-Zawahri, to Sudan. He once called the United States the “incarnation of the devil” and hailed Bin Laden as a hero.

But shortly after Sudan, under pressure from the United States and other countries, expelled Al Qaeda in 1996, Mr. Turabi began to remake himself as a mainstream politician.

Mr. Bashir dismissed him as Parliament speaker after Mr. Turabi backed legislation aimed at curbing the president’s powers in 1999. Mr. Turabi went on to form the opposition Popular Congress Party. He was jailed on a number of occasions and spent more than two years under house arrest.

Born the son of a religious judge in 1932, Mr. Turabi was a lifelong scholar of Islam. A soft-spoken cleric, he was among the few Islamic scholars to argue that Muslim women could marry Christian or Jewish men.

He died at the Royal Care International Hospital in Khartoum, the Sudanese capital. He was taken to the hospital on Saturday after losing consciousness at his office. The cause of death was not immediately known.

Sudanese state television interrupted its programming to broadcast a recitation of the Quran in mourning.

 The  Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood also announced the death of Al-Turabi.

Hassan Al-Turabi was a past leader in the Sudanese Muslim Brotherhood when Sudan was both a center for terrorist activity and strongly under the influence of al-Turabi. In 2011, the GMBDW reported that the head of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood had held a meeting in Cairo with members of Al-Turabi’s Popular Congress party ahead of a visit to Sudan where Mohammed Badie was expected to meet with Al-Turabi himself. In 2012 we reported that al-Turabi had endorsed President Obama for re-election.

An organization reporting on African affairs had just recently published an analysis of what was described as Al-Turabi’s attempts to make a political comeback in the Sudan.

A 2009 BBC profile of Al-Turabi can be found here

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