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Politics of Oppression in the State of Shariaa

Photo of Ameera in the court yard holding a sign with "public order law is humiliating women" Source https://www.facebook.com/pages/%D8%B6%D8%AF-%D9%82%D8%A7%D9%86%D9%88%D9%86-%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%86%D8%B8%D8%A7%D9%85-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%B9%D8%A7%D9%85-%D9%8

Ameera Osman is a Sudanese activist who was arrested, under article 152 of the criminal code “indecent clothes,” on August 27, 2013 for uncovering her hair. She refused the summary trial and insisted on having a lawyer. She has chosen to speak up and invited people to attend her trial on September 1, 2013. She came to the court in the same clothes as those in which she was arrested and found about a hundred supporters, males and females, waiting with her while the judge didn’t show up.

A few weeks ago Noor Elhadi, a Sheikh and traditional therapist who was convicted of raping a female student and sentenced to 10 years in prison and 100 lashes has been released on a presidential decree. He has never been lashed, and only imprisoned for a year. In Islam, Allah forgives all the sins but not those include grievances and violations of people’s rights. Albashir, the head of the Islamic state, has granted himself the right of forgiveness over people’s grievances. In a speech that he made last month, he admitted being responsible for the Muslims being killed in Darfur and followed his admission with holding himself accountable only to Allah, as the sins of killing souls is not punishable in life.

In 1989, the National Islamic Front came into power with a military coup. Their Islamic ideology was interpreted in “Modernization Project” which aims to reform the Sudanese people and make them “more Muslim”. This project focused on enforcing certain standards of morality those are directly connected to controlling women’s bodies and behavior through legally punishing their violations, setting them as a condition of being a true Muslim and socially through desensitizing the society to oppression under Manhood and Islamism slogans.
Hijab has been imposed on Sudanese women for the past 24 years. Ameera’s conviction of indecency for not covering her hair is punishable by flogging, bailing or imprisonment. The indecency is defined by the police officers who check women’s clothes randomly in the streets to see whether they are wearing tight jeans, midi skirt, and short sleeved shirts, or simply not putting their scarves on. Every year thousands of women are being arrested, compromised, jailed and flogged for their dress code. Accusations of prostitution are made by existing in a “prostitution place” which could be a car, an office or a classroom, or even a dark street. Few of those women go public like Ameera and speak about what they have been through, fearing the social stigma of being immoral and less Muslim.

The interpretation of Hijab in Quran differs widely between sects. While Suna Wahabist think the whole veil and covering the face is a must, many sects stick to only exposing the hands and face and others see it’s not a part of Islam but the Arabic culture. Fourteen centuries ago; during prophet Muhamed era and in the Bedouin community of Arabian Peninsula, no single woman was punished for not wearing Hijab. For sure NIF is not trying to make Sudan a more Muslim society than that of prophet Muhamed, but trying to present oppression of women as having divine authority. Although Shiaa sect is labeled as polytheist and non Muslims by our “Muslim” government, banned from conducting any activity in Sudan (This depends on how our diplomacy with Iran and Saudi Arabia looks like.), and verbally insulted during Friday speeches; judges found no clue to pass two stoning sentences last year based on Yazidi Gafary doctrine that allows stoning of women for committing adultery without accusing a male partner. Its seems that our government searched for the most oppressive Fatwa even if they had a huge dispute with its source.

I’m convinced that what’s happening in Sudan has nothing to do with Islam but instead with the politics of oppression. As a Muslim woman, I hope to be seeing Muslims, men and women, rising up against the violations made in the name of their religion. Principally our existence in this country isn’t because of being Muslims but citizens who need to enjoy their personal freedoms and rights. Religion is a personal belief -- not a state affair and a tool of injustice that humiliate human beings.

This article is part of a writing assignment for Voices of Our Future a program of World Pulse that provides rigorous digital empowerment and citizen journalism training for grassroots women leaders. World Pulse lifts and unites the voices of women from some of the most unheard regions of the world.

Comments

Y's picture

Your case is well presented

Your case is well presented and a great proposed solution in your last paragraph, "I’m convinced that what’s happening in Sudan has nothing to do with Islam but instead with the politics of oppression. As a Muslim woman, I hope to be seeing Muslims, men and women, rising up against the violations made in the name of their religion. Principally our existence in this country isn’t because of being Muslims but citizens who need to enjoy their personal freedoms and rights. Religion is a personal belief -- not a state affair and a tool of injustice that humiliate human beings." Wonderful work, Yosra.
Blessings.
Yvette

Yvette

Yosra Akasha's picture

wouldn't do it without your support

Dear Yvette,

Thank you for your great help and support. I wouldn't do it without you and Amy's support.

Best regards,

Yosra Akasha, Sudan

Tash's picture

''Principally our existence

''Principally our existence in this country isn’t because of being Muslims but citizens who need to enjoy their personal freedoms and rights. Religion is a personal belief -- not a state affair and a tool of injustice that humiliate human beings.''

100% on point! great job!

Kind Regards,
Patsy.

Yosra Akasha's picture

thanks patsy, I'm happy you

thanks patsy, I'm happy you liked it

Yosra Akasha, Sudan

bitani's picture

Thank you for bringing this

Thank you for bringing this up Yusra. This is horrible. I sometimes think: are the arab countries in such a good shape and with no problems at all that some governments are concerned how the citizens are dressing!!!

This is totally unfair, and i like how you contrasted it with the story of the rapist.

warmest regards,
Bayan

"Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else."
—Judy Garland

Yosra Akasha's picture

Thanks Bayan, Indeed

Thanks Bayan,

Indeed government are making noise by our dress code and sexuality while at the same time people are dying of hunger and wars. Its their way to distract the attention of its citizens from their shortcomings.

best regards,

Yosra Akasha, Sudan

shahd's picture

Thanks for sharing this

Thanks for sharing this dear.
Unfortunately, Sudan is not alone. labeling people by what they wear is so frustrating. Aside from the fact that it is a personal, The thing that makes you wonder, are these people not busy solving bigger problems? Is everything else settled and stable in the community so you make women hijab your concern?

Yosra Akasha's picture

Thanks Shahd for pointing

Thanks Shahd for pointing that out. Its away to keep us busy with what to dress and life in terror that keep us away from politics and activism.

Best regards,

Yosra Akasha, Sudan

pelamutunzi's picture

agree

Oppression through religion has gone on for long enough time to put a stop to it. People should fully express themselves as they wish. Forcing someone is abuse of human rights. I have always admired islam religion and thought the women wore the veil by choice which was admirable. But to imagine patriarchy playing out in religion is disturbing then where are women protected. At the end it seems men are just trying to amass power through whatever means possible.

we may be powerless to stop an injustice but let there never be a time we fail to protest.
regards
pela

Yosra Akasha's picture

Indeed Pela, and protesting

Indeed Pela, and protesting at some point will achieve justice.

warm regards,

Yosra Akasha, Sudan

Mukut's picture

Beautiful piece

Your last line sums up your piece beautifully - "Religion is a personal belief -- not a state affair and a tool of injustice that humiliate human beings.

Well written, as always. Carry on fighting the injustice that takes place in the name of religion, culture and patriarchy.

Love,

Mukut Ray

Yosra Akasha's picture

Thanks Mukut, I'm glad you

Thanks Mukut, I'm glad you liked it. let us keep fighting for our cause.

Best regards,

Yosra Akasha, Sudan

Sarah Whitten-Grigsby's picture

Well Said!

Dear Yosra,

Thank you so much for this strong, clear, well-expressed piece, and for sharing Ameera's story. She -- like you! -- is another brave woman who inspires awe.

Yosra, in seminary I studied the Interfaith path, and I would be doubly interested, because of my studies, to hear your personal feelings about what is good, compassionate and supportive in today's society in the Islamic faith. I heartily agree that church and state should not be used to endorse cruelty, antiquated practices and oppression of women.

If you have any time, Dear Yosra, to tell me any ways in which you respect your Muslim faith, please share that with me, as it will help me to learn.

With Respect and Support,

Sarah

Sarah Whitten-Grigsby

Yosra Akasha's picture

Dear Sara, unfortunately I

Dear Sara,

unfortunately I don't see the positive aspects of Islam in the contemporary societies. Islam was a huge social revolution in the societies of the 5th and 6th centuries a.b. This social revolution was exploited by fundamentalists who regarded that societies as models for their ideal world and refusing to think/ understand the progress and development of today's societies. I'll be more than happy to share with you my feelings with the misinterpretations and abuse of women and minorities made under the name of Islam and how this was related to the nature of Bedouin communities 14 centuries ago rather than the religion itself. Please pay a visit to Alfikra.org a website for the republican thought which is a modern interpretation of Islam made by Sudanese scholar Mahmoud Taha who was sentenced to death in 1985 for these thoughts.

best regards,

Yosra Akasha, Sudan

Sarah Whitten-Grigsby's picture

Thank you, Yosra

Thank you, Yosra, for your response to my question. I will indeed visit Alfikra.org with great interest.

Wishing you ongoing success in getting your voice heard,

- Sarah

Sarah Whitten-Grigsby

Sarah Whitten-Grigsby's picture

P.S.

P.S. Yosra, what I mean by, '…. what is . . .supportive in today's world . . ." about Islam, is: what aspects of Islam do you feel serve you in a positive way in your life now?

Sarah Whitten-Grigsby

Yosra Akasha's picture

The concepts of equality in

The concepts of equality in rights and duties and equity and the only distinction between people is the work they do. The social welfare system of Zakat and Sadagat. The accountability of the governor to the people. The notion of focusing on self discipline rather than criticizing other people. Fundamentalists cannot see those values but the culturally specific notions of Jihad, slavery and women oppression

Yosra Akasha, Sudan

Manya Arond-Thomas's picture

Such an important topic

Yosra,

Thank you for highlighting this extremely important topic by presenting the case of Ameera. You did a great job of succinctly demonstrating just how religion is in fact used to justify the oppression of women. I second Sarah's comment about wanting to hear more about what is just and compassionate, especially for women, in Islamic faith and ways that women can reconcile their position in Islamic society.

Keep up the good work!

Warmest regards,
Manya

Manya Arond-Thomas, M.D.
Coach, Mentor, Facilitator

Yosra Akasha's picture

Thank you Manya, I'm willing

Thank you Manya, I'm willing to write more about women and Islamic faiths.

Best regards,

Yosra Akasha, Sudan

Pushpa Achanta's picture

Bold narrative

Dear sister,

I salute the courageous commitment of people like you and Ameera and believe that patriarchy conveniently (mis)interprets and abuses religion/faith to oppress and suppress women and 'vulnerable' people universally.

Continue the great work! We need more like you.

Warmth,
Pushpa

Yosra Akasha's picture

Thank you Pushpa, I'm

Thank you Pushpa, I'm thankful to you and all the support that I find from WP community.

Best regards,

Yosra Akasha, Sudan

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