Trouser-wearing Sudan woman to be fined or jailed, not whipped

September 7, 2009

lubnaLubna Hussein, a Sudanese woman arrested in Khartoum for wearing trousers despite the country’s Islamic decency regulations, was found guilty of indecency on Monday and ordered to pay a fine or go to jail for a month. She was spared the possibility of 40 lashes for wearing trousers at a party in July with 12 other women. Ten of the other women arrested with her have pleaded guilty and have been whipped.

Read the whole story here.

Hussein’s case was seen as a test of Sudan’s Islamic decency regulations, which many women activists say are vague and give individual police officers undue latitute to determine what is acceptable clothing for women.

After the verdict, Hussein said: “I will not pay the money, and I will go to prison.”

Scuffles erupted at a protest before the court session even began between women supporters and Islamists, who shouted religious slogans and denounced Hussein and her supporters as prostitutes and demanded a harsh punishment for Hussein.

The photo above, by Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah, shows Hussein leaving the court wearing her trousers. Do these seem indecent to you?

UPDATE: Sudan’s conviction of Hussein for indecency violates international law and is emblematic of wider gender discrimination there, the United Nations human rights office says.

Following is a short video of Hussein surrounded by supporters shouting “freedom, freedom” as she enters the court:

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As a modest pants wearing Muslim, it is once again very sad to hear of yet another misinterpretation of Islam. The dress for all Muslims, men and women, is simply modesty. If the picture above is representative of what these women were wearing when arrested, then the Sudanese government was out of order. This woman’s garment is not revealing and is very modest. Even if it was not modest by their standards, the extremeness of the punishment far outweighs the “crime.” The Sudanese should remember that Allah (God) is the Most Merciful. We should follow Allah’s (God’s)and Prophet Muhammad’s example of mercy. They need to go back and read the Qur’an more carefully and follow it’s instructions and not their own chauvinist whims.

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I admire her for her courage and I feel blessed to be living in the U.S.

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wow…this shows how blessed we are in America.

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I read this story in the world news section in a local newspaper in Trinidad and Tobago. The level of ancient madness that women are subjected to in Sudan is tremendously unsettling. The 21st Century cannot accommodate this uncivilised behaviour of wanting to senselessly punish women for such trivial incidents. There was clearly nothing indecent with the Sudanese woman’s attire. The role of law enforcement in any cultured society is expected to be one of protecting and serving its citizens rather than frustrating, terrorising and harassing them. A society of men who cannot empathise with their female population and subordinate their mothers, daughters and wives is indeed barbaric and underdeveloped. This requires immediate and significant social reform.

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