Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Blot on the landscape

This is a more serious "Hard Hat" post (I must get myself a pic of me in a hard hat).

I am really disgusted by this.

Lubna Ahmed Hussein is a respectable woman. A widow in her late 30s, she is a journalist and works, for the UN in the Sudan.

On a Friday evening, not long ago, she was in the Kawkab Elsharq Hall, a restaurant in Khartoum. There were other women there.

She had gone there to book the venue for a cousin's wedding party. While she waited she watched an Egyptian singer and sipped a coke.

She was arrested as a "trouser girl" together with other women by a 20 to 30 strong morality "public order" police raid. Because she had on trousers. Perfectly acceptable modest trousers, but trousers all the same.

She was arrested under Article 152 of Sudanese law, which punishes with 40 lashes anyone who "commits an indecent act which violates public morality or wears indecent clothing". In this case a modest pair of loose green slacks, a blouse and a headscarf.

Bundled into a vehicle by leering morality police, humiliated and beaten round the head. Now she is facing the prospect of 40 lashes if she is found guilty. She could wiggle out of it by claiming immunity working for the UN unlike some of the other women.

Now from what I understand it is not specifically against Sharia law to wear trousers but apparently those who police Sudanese criminal law consider trousers indecent, though only on females it seems.

A female journalist who wrote an article in support of her has now been charged with defaming the police. so they are clearly big on free speech and police accountability.

Other girls, some of who were Christian, or animist, who were arrested at the same location and time, have already received lashes and a fine.

This is despite the fact that under the law Non-Muslims are not even supposed to be subject to Islamic law in the Sudan, a country split with an Islamic North and Christian south, not even in Khartoum and other parts of the more Muslim north.

I guess to the Sudanese Police and their Sharia courts, the law is whatever they say it is, especially if you are a woman.

Scared ignorant despicable authoritarian little men.


Lone Grey Squirrel said...

I heard about this brave woman and understand that she has decided to waive her immunity under the UN to protest this arrest and now faces lashes and jail.

jmb said...

Miss Moggs, you are sending my blood pressure right into the stratosphere with this post.

These vigilantes/Scared ignorant despicable authoritarian little men are nothing more than lawless anarchists who seek to justify their suppression of women (not only Muslim) in the name of religion.

And what kind of barbaric punishment is 40 lashes? How does that come into a religion which preaches love and forgiveness. Oh no I forgot, apparently that is not preached or observed in the Muslim religion. At least not by types like this.

Anonymous said...

All I can do is shake my head in dismay.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Thanks for a hard-hitting post on this, Miss Moggs. I am also sitting here with my bp rising, as it has been since I first read about this earlier today. Why are these men so scared of women that they have to dictate what they can wear? I think Lubna is very courageous as she could have claimed immunity from prosecution because of her former UN status. Did you know there's a facebook campaign in support of her?

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Ps: I meant to say I am also disgusted that feminist groups in the west have apparently paid little attention to this case.

Berni said...

I read about this last night. It is terrible and one wants to do something but not sure what. Having lived and travelled in the middle east allbeit as a child I am well aware of the little value they put on womanhood.

Moggs Tigerpaw said...

Thank you all for commenting. I think probably the only thing that might make some difference is the glare of world public attention, especially if it keeps up.

Like if they think people are watching they may worry about how it looks. Like the sort of people who are only good or moral for fear of God, or state, rather than because it is right.

I guess that is the sort of people they are.

The way they seem to think seems so contrary and petty and sick. they would fudge it with her and then keep doing it to the next woman, and the next...

jams o donnell said...

It's a complete and utter disgrace.

Moggs Tigerpaw said...

It so is Jams.

lady macleod said...

AS you know I have done a great deal of traveling, and much of it in the Middle East, Asia, and Africa and I have found myself of late with my opinions shifting a bit. I am writing a more extensive piece for Powder Room Graffiti on a sister to this subject.

When I returned to the United States this last time and see women in the hijab or burka, I feel offended a bit - I know it's not what I expected from me either. But having spent these past two years in Morocco (one of the more liberal Muslim countries) wearing the djellaba and wearing a hat with my hair up under it; I think (I’m trying to tie down my reasons because I think it’s important) I feel offended that I worked very hard to blend into their culture but I don’t see them doing the same for mine.

I haven’t worked it all out yet, but it appears that travel cannot only broaden the mind, but in some cases narrow one’s focus. I’m at one end of the pendulum now; I expect it to swing back to the middle..

AS to this case it makes my teeth itch. I had to have my daughter wrap her arms around me and drag me away from a scene where a young man was slapping a young woman on a public sidewalk in Fez! No once else seemed to find anything out of the ordinary - I was seething.

I have one other comment (excuse the missive) but the comments that Islam is a "peaceful religion" that grants women equal rights is a sham. Islam was born in blood as much as Christianity. I have read three different translations of the Koran, so I have some authority with which to speak.

I'll go now. Got me stirred up didn't you?

Moggs Tigerpaw said...

Lady M,

Thank you very much for taking the time to 'pen' a comprehensive comment. Yes such injustice such treatment it does get us all stirred up I think. It made me mad too.

Maybe it is good it gets us riled?

I can relate to your hijab/burka comments. It riles me a bit to see girls wear them, especially by girls who never grew up where they are required..

I suppose for the them being unwilling to fit in side of things to some extent. If you choose to live somewhere you should surely fit in. If you are borne somewhere then there is something contrary about rejecting it yet staying.

I think it is carrying multiculturalism too far and can see why the French take the line they do over it.

But also I don't approve of it because, to my way of thinking, they are foolish girls co-operating in their own marginalisation. Enabling that repressive attitude in ignorant men. But even more by their actions they contribute to the collective marginalisation of all women, of me of my girls.

It's all very well (for mostly well meaning men) to say it will not happen or it is not a threat. It is if we don't resist it where we find it without letting up.

Good that you got stirred up, good for all of us.

Anonymous said...

I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.



Moggs Tigerpaw said...

Margaret or is it Wallis? Thank you for your visit and comment. Welcome.

I wonder what you thought about the subject of the post?

I guess you read other posts. Glad you enjoyed reading them.