Thursday, 30 July 2009

Christian Woman Faces 40 Lashes For Outrageous Crime In Sudan

A Christian woman faces 40 lashes for the daring crime of.........wearing trousers in public. How outrageous, did she ever think she would get away with such a grave, grave crime as this. It has happened in Sudan where, under Islamic laws it is illegal for a woman to wear trousers rather than long skirts in public.

I think you'll find it is the same Sudan where they slaughter thousands of men women and children in the Darfur region, however, I rather doubt that Islamic law allows for that kind of behaviour. This 'cherry picking' of the parts of Islam you would like to use and abide by makes a mockery of the whole thing. The girl in question,Lubna al-Hussein has stood up for her rights and demanded a trial over the whole issue and quite right too. Isn't it a bit odd how Muslims have demanded the right to wear their traditional clothing in the UK, even when it is in violation of certain rules in certain places. Isn't it a bit odd how the favour isn't returned. This case highlights this quite clearly. In several Arab Muslim countries Western girls are not allowed to wear the clothes they wish to. I think a bit of give and take is called for here.

In Sudan the law is not supposed to apply to non-Muslims like Miss Hussein, a former journalist who works for the United Nations and it is only imposed sporadically in the capital, Khartoum, where she was arrested.

Indecency cases are not uncommon in Sudan, but Miss Hussein has used hers to campaign against dress codes and yesterday journalists scuffled with police armed with batons outside the court and some reporters, who were briefly detained, had equipment confiscated. Scores of women, some wearing slacks, attended to support Miss Hussein.

The case was adjourned as lawyers discussed whether her status as a UN employee gave her legal immunity.

After the hearing, defence lawyer Nabil Adib Abdalla said she had agreed to resign from the UN in time for the next session on August 4, to make sure the case continued.

Mr Abdalla said: 'First of all she wants to show she is totally innocent, and using her immunity will not prove that. Second she wants to fight the law. The law is too wide. It needs to be reformed. This is turning into a test case.'

He said Miss Hussein was ready to face the maximum penalty for the criminal offence of wearing indecent dress in public, of 40 lashes and an unlimited fine. Miss Hussein was arrested in June when police raided a party she was attending at a restaurant in Khartoum's Riyadh district.

She said before the hearing: 'Thousands of women are punished with lashes in Sudan but they stay silent. The law is being used to harass women and I want to expose this'.

A number of other women arrested with her received lashes. But her case was sent for trial when she called in a lawyer.

Northern Sudan is governed by Islamic law which includes restrictions on public decency, particularly for women.

While most women wear traditional dresses in public, some, particularly from the mostly Christian south, wear slacks and more Western clothes.

Lashing is often administered minutes after a trial, in public outside the court room for male defendants but generally in private for women.

Maybe, just maybe, in 1000 years time they might just catch up with the modern world but don't hold your breath.

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