Islam is often blamed for violence towards persecuted ladies. The occasion of Noura Hussein, who is sentenced to death, presents otherwise, says social advocate and columnist Yassmin Abdel-Magied
Violence against girls does not discriminate. One in three women across the globe know-how physical or forms of sexual violence in their lives, regardless of race, age or income. Intimate partner violence is the most common form, with physical violence occurring to as many as two out of three women who have ever been in an intimate partnership.
This is not news, and hitherto, significant differences in how this violence is discussed is stark, depending on where and by whom it has been perpetrated. When the brutality occurs in majority Muslim countries, scholars are quick to blame Islam itself, instead of noticing the army of Muslim women who are fighting for their rights within the faith, and representing maidens- and themselves- at all costs.
Noura Hussein, a young woman from Sudan, renders an instructive and urgent precedent. At the age of 16, Noura was forced into a marriage by her father-god. She repudiated and escaped from her family home near Khartoum to stay with her aunt in Sennar, around 250 miles away. She lived there for three years, determined to finish her education, when she received word that the bridal schemes had been cancelled, and she was welcome to come home.
On her return, it became apparent that “shes had” been tricked. The wedding ceremony was underway, and Noura was duly “given” to the groom. Distraught, the 19 -year-old refused to consummate the union for a number of periods. Within the week, her husband’s tactics was increasingly vigorous. Noura’s spouse crimes her, with the help of relatives who pinned her down during the act.
When the husband returned the next day to repeat the felony, Noura retaliated. She stabbed her husband a number of hours, ultimately killing her rapist. She thereafter returned to her family, who were allegedly then disowned her and turned her over to the police.
Over a year later, on 29 April, 2018, Noura was imprisoned of slaughter. On 10 May, she was sentenced to death. His family was offered the choice of either abiding money compensation for the felony, or execution. They preferred the latter. Now the family and community have 15 dates to appeal the convict. They are hoping to invalidate the decision to execute Noura for representing herself against physical and sexual violence, and steering an hopeless situation that no young woman should ever face.
Noura’s fib is perhaps not unique in a macrocosm where intimate partner violence is abounding. Nonetheless, “theres anything” about Noura’s case that is indicative of a wider truth. The majority of people involved in raising awareness about this young woman’s case are other Sudanese Muslim dames. The solicitors working on the action in Washington DC are members of the Sudanese diaspora, and term of the case reached me through another Sudanese writer’s Instagram and blogposts. The majority of parties fighting for Noura are women, Muslim women.
This reality flies in the face of those who claim that Muslim maidens are crushed, submissive or believe in a religion that takes away their rights. It likewise is currently in complete opposition to men who try to use a warped version of sharia to justify any part of such a situation- the forced marriage, the rape, the sentencing. The maidens arguing on Noura’s behalf point to both law and theology: to be united without approval is forbidden in Islam. Child marriage is still practised, although women continue to fight the laws and institutions that allow it.
However, as happens so often in cases like this, the story becomes an opportunity for the broadcast of grievances and racisms about Islam, through the argument of advocating for women’s rights. Islam is murderous, people will say, because of how they treat their women- and seem, here is an example that strengthens that argument!
Let the women who are advocates for #JusticeForNoura be an example of how that is fundamentally incorrect. The burden on Muslim women is impossibly heavy- to defend themselves against both the knowledge of non-Muslims with an Islamophobic agenda, and the deeply patriarchal standards that exist within interpretations of sharia around the world. To restate Dr Susan Carland, Muslim women forever face a catch-2 2. However, when the fight rightfully is on, as in the case of Noura, they are the firstly to step up to fight for each other’s rights and protection. Tell me, how is that oppression?
* Yassmin Abdel-Magied is a mechanical engineer, social proponent, and novelist. Trip her website here