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The Question of Identity: Ethnicity, Language, Religion, and Gender

Islamic Period:  The Concept of Ethnicity

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Displaced Mother and Malnourished Child at a Refugee Camp in Kebkabiya, North Darfur

Violence flared in Darfur, in western Sudan, in 2003. The Sudanese government argued that separatists were threatening the stability of the region, and, by extension, the country. For Western governments, already at loggerheads with the Sudanese government, the assaults on citizens in the area by state-sponsored militias (the Janjaweed‚) indicated a racially motivated genocide, perpetrated by Arabs against black Africans. A long-standing and complex conflict between Baggara cattle herders and Fur pastoralists over resources in a fragile environment assumed clearly defined ethnic contours. The result was a human catastrophe, which continues.

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