KHARTOUM (Reuters) - Sudan will permit non-Muslims to consume alcohol and strengthen women's rights, including banning female genital mutilation (FGM), its justice minister said late on Saturday, in a reversal of almost four decades of hardline Islamist policies.
About 3% of Sudan's population is non-Muslim, according to the United Nations.
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Alcoholic drinks have been banned since former President Jaafar Nimeiri introduced Islamic law in 1983, throwing bottles of whisky into the Nile in the capital Khartoum.
The transition government which took over after autocrat Omar al-Bashir was toppled last year has vowed to lead Sudan to democracy, end discrimination and make peace with rebels.
Non-Muslims will no longer be criminalised for drinking alcohol in private, Justice Minister Nasredeen Abdulbari told state television. For Muslims, the ban will remain. Offenders are typically flogged under Islamic law.
Sudan will also decriminalise apostasy and ban FGM, a practice which typically involves the partial or total removal of the external genitalia of girls and women, he said.