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Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Women's Rights: Lubna Ahmed al-Hussein

Lubna Ahmed al-Hussein

If you haven't heard of Lubna Ahmed al-Hussain, you need to.

Ms. Lubna Ahmed al-Hussein is a Sudanese journalist who, until recently, also worked for the United Nations. Why does she no longer work for the U.N., you ask?

Because recently, Ms. al-Hussein was enjoying herself in the company of other women like herself at a restaurant in Khartoum when some 20 or 30 policemen arrested her, and twelve of her compatriots, for the crime of — wearing trousers. Ms. al-Ahmed decided to fight this ridiculous charge, and, when the U.N. moved to protect her as an employee, she resigned her U.N. post to fight it on her own.

Brave does not begin to describe this woman. She faces a whipping — 40 lashes — for her "crime." To demonstrate her commitment to her cause — defying this application of the law as "un-Islamic" and not deriving from the underlying authority for Shari'a law, the Quran — Ms. al-Hussein wore the exact same outfit she was wearing at her arrest to her court hearing. The charges against her, FTA:
[A]rticle 152 of the Sudanese criminal law of 1991 [provides that] women [...] wearing clothes that causes “public uneasiness” [or] a “threat to the Sudanese society values and virtues[...]” [are] subject to 40 lashes in public
The Arab Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) is calling on all NGOs working on human rights issues to get involved.

Ms. al-Hussein plans to fight the charges all the way to the Constitutional Court, if necessary, she says, adding that her plan is to get rid of Article 152, which is more stringently enforced against women, and constitutes an invidious form of discrimination. Ms. al-Hussein has said she is willing to endure 40,000 lashes to fight this discriminatory law.

Some of the other women arrested with her have decided not to fight the charges, and accepted their whipping quietly. Not Ms. al-Hussein. She has printed invitations for the press and human rights activists to witness her trial, and plans to print invitations to the whipping if she loses her court case.

Ms. al-Hussein's bravery has inspired demonstrations by her supporters, according to al-Jazeera. Sudanese police have used tear-gas to disperse her protestors, and the court in which she was to be tried has postponed her case while they verify whether she has legal immunity from prosecution due to her status as an employee of the U.N. Ms. al-Hussein has called this "an attempt to delay the case," since she resigned from the U.N. before the trial specifically to renounce any immunity. FTA:
"If some people refer to the sharia to justify flagellating women because of what they wear, then let them show me which Quranic verses or hadith [sayings of the Prophet Mohammed] say so. I haven't found them," she said.
Two paws up from La Casa de Los Gatos, Ms. al-Hussein! We hope you win your case and get this foolish law repealed.

Note: Sharia law is only applied in the Muslim north of Sudan. The southern part of the country consists mainly of animists and Christians, and the Islamic legal framework does not apply there.

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At 8:50 PM, Blogger Chuck Butcher said...

Would it be fair to contrast her against the 101st Keyboard Wingnut Brigade?

At 10:21 PM, Blogger ThePoliticalCat said...

Yeah. She's got the courage of her convictions. Makes that whining lot of pussies look like ... a whining lot of pussies.

At 6:59 AM, Blogger ric said...

Go here for an interview with Lubna - Sudanese Trouser Woman: The Story Behind the Pants


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