Islam is often blamed for violence towards suppressed maidens. The client of Noura Hussein, who is sentenced to death, pictures otherwise, says social advocate and writer Yassmin Abdel-Magied
Violence against wives does not discriminate. One in three women across the globe ordeal 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 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 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 representing maidens- and themselves- at all costs.
Noura Hussein, a young woman from Sudan, caters an helpful and urgent instance. At the age of 16, Noura was forced into a wedlock by her father-god. 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 marry contrives 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 union for a number of daytimes. Within the week, her husband’s tactics became increasingly aggressive. Noura’s husband abused 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 stabbed her husband a number of times, ultimately killing her rapist. She thereafter returned to her family, who was allegedly then rejected her and turned her over to the police.
Over a year later, on 29 April, 2018, Noura was convicted of murder. On 10 May, she was sentenced to death. His family was offered the choice of either countenancing money seeks compensation for the crime, or executing. They selected the latter. Now the family and community have 15 dates to appeal the sentence. They wish to see overrule the decision to execute Noura for representing herself against physical and sexual violence, and navigating an impossible situation that no young woman should ever face.
Noura’s tale is perhaps not odd in a macrocosm where intimate partner violence is rampant. Nonetheless, “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 occurrence in Washington DC are members of the Sudanese diaspora, and text of the case reached 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 girls are persecuted, submissive or believes in a religion that takes away their rights. It also stands in complete opposition to men who try to use a warped version of sharia to justify any part of such different situations- the forced marriage, the abuse, the sentencing. The wives debating on Noura’s behalf point to both rule and theology: to be marriage without consent is forbidden in Islam. Child marriage is still practiced, 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 televise of grudges and prejudices about Islam, through the arguing of proposing for women’s rights. Islam is violent, people will say, because of how they treat their women- and gaze, here is an example that reinforces that dispute!
Let the women who are advocates for #JusticeForNoura set an example of how that is fundamentally inappropriate. The onu on Muslim wives is impossibly heavy- to defend themselves against both the ignorance 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 genuinely 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 writer. See her website here