Dr. Farouk's Lectures on Evolution

Date: 1989

Region: Africa

Subject: Religion , Political/Economic/Social Opinion

Medium: Public Art

Artist: Dr. Farouk Ibrahim el Nur

Confronting Bodies: Sudanese Government

Dates of Action: November 30, 1989

Location: Sudan, University of Khartoum

Description of Artwork: Dr. Farouk el Nur, a lecturer in the Faculty of Science at the University of Khartoum. The government objected Dr. Farouk's lectures on the Darwinian theory of evolution.

The Incident: " ...Fundamentalists associated with the government have begun to try to influence the content of courses taught in the Universities. An extreme example of this is the treatment of Dr. Farouk el Nur. Dr. Farouk was arrested on November 30, 1989, at a time of widespread anti-government civil disobedience. The major reason for his detention was probably his left-wing political views. However, while he was kept in a ghost house, by members of the newly created "Security of Revolution," Dr. Farouk was questioned abut his teaching of the Darwinian theory of evolution. In a letter to Lt. Gen al Bashir, Dr. Farouk described what occurred: 'On the evening of Saturday, December 2, I understood during an interrogation by Colne Bakri Hassan Salih (RCC member and head of the revolution security system) that he disapproves of the contents of the courses I teach at the university.' Fundamentalist security officials considered that Darwinism was incompatible with Islam, and tortured Dr. Farouk in an attempt to recant his views. This opinion was a novel one, as Islam, unlike Christianity, has never before had doctrinal disputes over the theory of evolution. Zaki Bedawi, Principal of the Moslem College in London and Chairman of the Imams and Mosques Association, said "I don't see a contradiction between (evolution theory) and Islam." Dr. Farouk's letter detailed his ordeal: 'I was flogged, kicked, hit in the face, head, and other parts of the body by professional torturers. I was threatened with death, humiliated and subjected to other types of torture. Afterwards, I was transferred to a small toilet that was flooded with water where I spent three days during which time I was beaten, humiliated, and deprived of sleep. Then I was taken to a bathroom with five detainees where the same process was repeated for nine days. We have been prevented from observing our prayer or brushing our teeth.' Dr. Farouk concluded: 'regarding the contents of my courses at the University, I would like to draw to your attention that the only body which is legally authorized to make such comments is the University Senate.'

Results of Incident: " ...NIF(National Islamic Front) members have begun to scrutinize e the contents of lecturer's classes for ideological correctness... " Dr. Farouk has been released.

Source: Human Rights Watch/Africa Watch, 'Sudan Suppression of Information', 8/30/90 Vol. 2, Iss. 28 Pg.23-24