Islam is often blamed for violence towards subjugated wives. The case of Noura Hussein, who is sentenced to death, proves otherwise, says social advocate and writer Yassmin Abdel-Magied

Violence against maidens does not discriminate. One in three women in all regions of the world event physical or sexual violence in their own 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 yet, significant differences in how this violence is discussed is stark, depending on where and by whom it has been perpetrated. When the violence occurs in majority Muslim regions, 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 girls- and themselves- at all costs.

Noura Hussein, a young woman from Sudan, provides an helpful and urgent lesson. At persons under the age of 16, Noura was forced into a marriage by her leader. She accepted 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 parole that the marry contrives 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 marriage for a number of days. Within the week, her husband’s tactics was increasingly vigorous. Noura’s spouse raped her, with the help of relatives who pinned her down during the act.

When the partner returned the next day to repeat the crime, Noura retaliated. She jabbed her husband a number of durations, eventually killing her rapist. She thereafter returned to her family, who reportedly then disinherited her and turned her over to the police.

Over a year later, on 29 April, 2018, Noura was convicted of slaughter. On 10 May, she was sentenced to death. His family was offered the choice of either accepting monetary compensation for the felony, or execution. They preferred the latter. Now the family and community have 15 dates to appeal the sentence. They are hoping to nullify the decision to execute Noura for representing herself against physical and sexual violence, and steering an impossible situation that no young lady should ever face.

Noura’s legend is perhaps not odd in a world-wide where intimate partner violence is rampant. Nonetheless, there is something 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 females. The advocates working in the field of the event in Washington DC are members of the Sudanese diaspora, and message of such cases contacted me through another Sudanese writer’s Instagram and blogposts. The majority of beings fighting for Noura are women, Muslim women.

This reality flies in the face of those who claim that Muslim females are oppressed, subservient or believe in a religion that takes away their rights. It also stands in complete opposition to men who try to use a warped form of sharia to justify any part of such a situation- the forced marriage, the abuse, the sentencing. The females debating on Noura’s behalf point to both rule and theology: to be wedded without permission 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 tale becomes an opportunity for the publicize of grudges and racisms about Islam, through the polemic of proposing for women’s rights. Islam is violent, beings will say, because of how they treat their women- and examine, here is an example that reinforces that dispute!

Let the women who are advocates for #JusticeForNoura be an example of how that is fundamentally incorrect. The burden on Muslim dames is impossibly heavy- to defend themselves against both the ignorance of non-Muslims with an Islamophobic agenda, and the deeply patriarchal criteria 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 designer, social propose, and columnist. See her website here


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