Juba’s streets were reportedly full of people dancing and chanting “USA, USA” and “Trump, Oyee!” soon after the election results were reported.
Christians and Muslims from both South Sudan and the Nuba and Darfur regions of Sudan are celebrating President-elect Donald Trump’s victory over Democratic rival Hillary Clinton, according to a human rights advocate who has worked extensively in the region.
“For my Sudanese friends, both Christian and Muslim, they were afraid of a Clinton presidency because of her closeness to the Muslim Brotherhood with the Clinton Global Foundation and what’s been coming out about that,” said Faith McDonnell, director of the Religious Liberty Program and Church Alliance for a New Sudan at the Washington D.C.-based Institute on Religion & Democracy, in an interview with The Christian Post on Wednesday.
“They saw [a Clinton victory] as a way for Arab countries to get even more influence than they already have under President Obama,” she added.
McDonnell said earlier this week in an op-ed published in The Stream that she has received emails from both Muslim and Christian friends in South Sudan as well as Sudanese in the United States who are esctatic about the outcome of the election.
One such message, she said, read: “Congratulations, my sister! We are very happy for the election of Donald Trump! Close your eyes and picture the streets of Juba [South Sudan’s capital].”
McDonnell told CP that other responses she received in her inbox expressed distaste for the former secretary of state’s alleged past financial dealings with Islamic regimes.
“We believe Hillary is corrupt and has constantly received Middle Eastern dictators’ money that have long fought to protect [Sudan’s dictator] al-Bashir. They get money through her foundation to promote the pro-Arab policy that has devastated our people in Darfur and Sudan at large. We are sure that Donald will not take money from Middle Eastern dictators to promote pro-Arab policy, genocidal policy within the Department of State,” said a Darfuri friend of McDonnell’s in an email shared with CP.
South Sudanese Christians in particular are hopeful that a President Trump will examine the situation in South Sudan more fairly than the U.S. has been since the failed coup attempt by former Vice President Riek Machar in December 2013.
“Right now, the U.S. administration is playing the moral equivalency game and making the government of South Sudan, which was a freely and fairly elected government, on the same level with the instigators of a coup, and instigators of a bloody, violent war,” McDonnell said.
“We have treated both sides as equals and [the South Sudanese] believe that they have a chance with Trump to put out the true story and to say that we treat sovereign governments as sovereign governments,” she said. “We don’t try to come in and say ‘Well, we’re not happy with the way this has gone for the last three years of being a country.'”
“What was the U.S. doing three years after it signed the Declaration of Independence? We weren’t perfect either,” McDonnell added. “And yet, we’re acting as if we believe that the government of South Sudan should be totally perfect and have it all together when a lot of these guys are who came out of the bush and suddenly they were put into positions of power.”
McDonnell told CP that she has received considerable flak for what she has written, even from fellow Christians, but asserts that she is simply reporting what she is hearing. The opinions expressed by her Sudanese friends may stand in stark contrast to what many Christians and Muslims in the U.S. are feeling about a future Trump presidency.
“These are their words, not mine. But it has influenced the reason why I am not opposed to this presidency because I have a feeling that they’re right and I certainly feel that anything is better than a Clinton presidency,” she asserted.
While exit polling data is currently unavailable regarding how American Muslims voted, they comprise approximately 1 percent of the U.S. population.
Muslim-Indian immigrant and a women’s rights activist Asra Nomani is also receiving flack after she explained in a widely-read Nov. 10 op-ed in The Washington Post why she voted for the Trump-Pence ticket. Her sentiments mirrored the concerns of McDonell’s friends about Clinton’s actions with Arab governments that Wikileaks had uncovered.
“The revelations of multimillion-dollar donations to the Clinton Foundation from Qatar and Saudi Arabia killed my support for Clinton,” wrote Nomani, co-founder of the Muslim Reform Project, who identifies as politically liberal on many issues.
“What worried me the most were my concerns about the influence of theocratic Muslim dictatorships, including Qatar and Saudi Arabia, in a Hillary Clinton America. These dictatorships are no shining examples of progressive society with their failure to offer fundamental human rights and pathways to citizenship to immigrants from India, refugees from Syria and the entire class of de facto slaves that live in those dictatorships,” Nomani added.