As the US-led action against Saddam Hussein gets underway, there’s mixed reaction from African countries with large Muslim populations. Some say the campaign is directed against Muslims, but others disagree. Among the dissenting voices is Dr. Suleyman Nyang, a Muslim and a professor of African studies and comparative politics at Howard University, here in Washington.
Dr. Nyang told English to Africa reporter Richard Kotey the war is long overdue because Saddam Hussein has been a negative force not only in the Middle East, but also in terms of global security and stability. Dr. Nyang said contrary to what some observers are saying, he does not think the war can be termed a religious one against a Muslim country. He said this is exactly how the Iraqi leader would like it to be seen, but it is not.
He said the campaign is a battle of two nationalisms – Iraqi nationalism vs. US nationalism. Dr. Nyang said he wants the African audience to liken the Saddam Hussein issue to the Idi Amin affair of Uganda. He said Idi Amin brutalized his own people and established an authoritarian regime, just as Saddam Hussein has done in Iraq.
Professor Nyang said some African countries with large Muslim populations are likely to sympathize with Saddam Hussein at first, but in the end they will see the wisdom of the US action.
Click the above links to download or listen to Kotey interview with Dr. Nyang.