Islam is often blamed for violence towards oppressed wives. The lawsuit of Noura Hussein, who is sentenced to death, indicates otherwise, says social advocate and novelist Yassmin Abdel-Magied
Violence against wives does not discriminate. One in three women across the globe knowledge 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 hitherto, the difference in how this violence is discussed is stark, depending on where and by whom it has been perpetrated. When the savagery 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 defending ladies- and themselves- at all costs.
Noura Hussein, a young lady from Sudan, adds an helpful and urgent speciman. At the age of 16, Noura was forced into a wedlock by her papa. She refused and escaped from her family home near Khartoum to stay with her aunt in Sennar, around 250 km away. She lived there for three years, determined to finish her education, when she received term that the marry plans had been cancelled, and she was welcome to come home.
On her return, it became apparent that she 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 matrimony for a number of eras. Within the week, her husband’s tactics became increasingly aggressive. Noura’s partner abused her, with the help of relatives who pinned her down during the act.
When the husband returned the next day to repeat the crime, Noura retaliated. She jabbed her husband a number of times, eventually killing her rapist. She thereafter returned to her family, who reportedly then disavowed her and turned her over to the police.
Over a year later, on 29 April, 2018, Noura was convicted of assassination. On 10 May, she was sentenced to death. His family was offered the choice of either accepting monetary compensation for the crime, or executing. They elected the latter. Now the family and community have 15 dates to appeal the sentence. They are hoping to invalidate the decision to execute Noura for defending herself against physical and sexual violence, and navigating an impossible situation that no young woman should ever face.
Noura’s storey is perhaps not unexpected in a world where intimate partner violence is rife. However, “theres 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 dames. The lawyers working on the occasion in Washington DC are members of the Sudanese diaspora, and term 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 ladies are suppressed, submissive or believe in a religion that takes away their rights. It also stands in terminated opposition to men who try to use a warped form of sharia to justify any part of such a situation- the forced marriage, the crime, the sentencing. The girls debating on Noura’s behalf point to both statute and theology: to be united without approval is forbidden in Islam. Child marriage is still rehearsed, although women continue to fight the laws and traditions that allow it.
However, as happens so often in cases like this, the floor becomes an opportunity for the publicize of grudges and prejudices about Islam, through the proof of advocating for women’s rights. Islam is brutal, people will say, because of how they treat their women- and ogle, here is an example that reinforces that polemic!
Let the women who are advocates for #JusticeForNoura be an example of how that is fundamentally inappropriate. The encumbrance on Muslim maidens 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 interpretings of sharia around the world. To rephrase Dr Susan Carland, Muslim women forever face a catch-2 2. However, when the fight absolutely is on, such as in the case of Noura, they are the first to step up to fight for each other’s rights and protection. Tell me, how is that oppression?
* Yassmin Abdel-Magied is a mechanical architect, social counselor, and writer. Inspect her website here