Islam is often blamed for violence towards subdued ladies. The subject of Noura Hussein, who is sentenced to death, pictures otherwise, says social advocate and novelist Yassmin Abdel-Magied

Violence against dames does not discriminate. One in three women across the globe experience physical or 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 insinuate partnership.

This is not news, and yet, the difference in how this violence is discussed is striking, depending on where and by whom it has been perpetrated. When the violence occurs in majority Muslim countries, pundits are quick to blame Islam itself, instead of noticing the army of Muslim women who are fighting for their rights within the faith, and protecting dames- and themselves- at all costs.

Noura Hussein, a young woman from Sudan, furnishes an instructive and urgent example. At the age of 16, Noura was forced into a wedding by her papa. She refused and escaped from her family home near Khartoum to stay with her aunt in Sennar, around 250 kilometers 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 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 days. Within the week, her husband’s tactics became increasingly aggressive. Noura’s spouse abused her, with the aid of relatives who pinned her down during the act.

When the spouse returned the next day to repeat the crime, Noura retaliated. She stabbed her husband a number of times, ultimately 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 assassination. On 10 May, she was sentenced to death. His family was offered the choice of either countenancing monetary seeks compensation for the crime, or executing. They chose 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 protecting herself against physical and sexual violence, and steering an hopeless situation that no young lady should ever face.

Noura’s tale is perhaps not unexpected in a macrocosm 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 females. The advocates “workin on” the instance in Washington DC are members of the Sudanese diaspora, and parole of the case contacted me through another Sudanese writer’s Instagram and blogposts. The majority of people fighting for Noura are women, Muslim women.

This reality flies in the face of those who claim that Muslim ladies are subdued, subservient or believe in a religion that takes away their rights. It likewise stands in ended 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 wives disagreeing on Noura’s behalf point to both rule and theology: to be marriage without permission is forbidden in Islam. Child marriage is still practised, although women continue to fight the laws and habits that allow it.

However, as happens so often in cases like this, the floor becomes an opportunity for the airing of grudges and prejudices about Islam, through the contention of preaching for women’s rights. Islam is murderous, beings will say, because of how they consider their women- and examine, here is an example that reinforces that polemic!

Let the women who are advocates for #JusticeForNoura be an example of how that is fundamentally faulty. The headache on Muslim dames is impossibly heavy- to defend themselves against both the ignorance of non-Muslims with an Islamophobic agenda, and the deeply patriarchal norms that exist within interpretations of sharia around the world. To paraphrase Dr Susan Carland, Muslim women forever face a catch-2 2. However, when the fight truly 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 proponent, and writer. Visit her website here


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