Islam is often blamed for violence towards oppressed females. The case of Noura Hussein, who is sentenced to death, testifies otherwise, says social advocate and novelist Yassmin Abdel-Magied

Violence against wives does not discriminate. One in three women in all regions of the world know-how physical or sexual violence in “peoples lives”, regardless of race, age or income. Intimate partner violence is the most common form, with physical violence occurring to as numerous as two out of three women who have ever been in an insinuate 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 speedy to blame Islam itself, instead of noticing the army of Muslim women who are fighting for their rights within the faith, and protecting wives- and themselves- at all costs.

Noura Hussein, a young lady from Sudan, provides an instructive and urgent instance. At the age of 16, Noura was forced into a wedding by her father. 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 term that the marry 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 daytimes. Within the week, her husband’s tactics became increasingly vigorous. Noura’s partner crimes 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 disowned her and turned her over to the police.

Over a year later, on 29 April, 2018, Noura was imprisoned of slaying. On 10 May, she was sentenced to death. His family was offered the choice of either abiding money seeks compensation for the crime, or hanging. They preferred the latter. Now the family and community have 15 periods to appeal the convict. They wished to be invalidate the decision to execute Noura for protecting herself against physical and sexual violence, and navigating an hopeless situation that no young woman should ever face.

Noura’s tale is perhaps not unique in a macrocosm where intimate partner violence is rife. However, 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 dames. The solicitors working on the case 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 parties fighting for Noura are women, Muslim women.

This reality flies in the face of those who claim that Muslim maidens are subjugated, submissive or believes in a religion that takes away their rights. It also is currently in ended opposition to men who try to use a warped version of sharia to justify any part of such different situations- the forced marriage, the rape, the sentencing. The wives disagreeing on Noura’s behalf point to both statute and theology: to be wedded without authorization is forbidden in Islam. Child marriage is still rehearsed, although women continue to fight the laws and habits 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 polemic of advocating for women’s rights. Islam is brutal, parties will say, because of how they plow their women- and search, here is an example that reinforces that debate!

Let the women who are advocates for #JusticeForNoura set an example of how that is fundamentally incorrect. The encumbrance 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 readings of sharia around the world. To rephrase 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 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 advocate, and writer. Inspect her website here


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