First Published: 2013-09-08

 

Muslim with no veil: Woman defies 'Taliban'-like law in Sudan

 

Activists say vaguely-worded law leaves women subject to police harassment and disproportionately targets poor.

 

Middle East Online

By Ian Timberlake – KHARTOUM

Morality laws stifle freedoms in Sudan

A Sudanese woman says she is prepared to be flogged to defend the right to leave her hair uncovered in defiance of a "Taliban"-like law.

Amira Osman Hamed faces a possible whipping if convicted at a trial which could come on September 19.

Under Sudanese law her hair -- and that of all women -- is supposed to be covered with a "hijab" but Hamed, 35, refuses.

Her case has drawn support from civil rights activists and is the latest to highlight Sudan's series of laws governing morality which took effect after the 1989 Islamist-backed coup by President Omar al-Bashir.

"They want us to be like Taliban women," Hamed said in an interview, referring to the fundamentalist rebel movement in Afghanistan.

She is charged under Article 152 which prohibits "indecent" clothing.

Activists say the vaguely-worded law leaves women subject to police harassment and disproportionately targets the poor in an effort to maintain "public order".

Hamed said she was visiting a government office in Jebel Aulia, just outside Khartoum, on August 27 when a policeman aggressively told her to cover her head.

"He said, 'You are not Sudanese. What is your religion?'"

"I'm Sudanese. I'm Muslim, and I'm not going to cover my head," replied Hamed.

Her dark hair, tinged golden, is braided tight against her scalp with a flare of curls at the back.

In 2009 the case of Lubna Ahmed al-Hussein, a journalist, led to a global outcry and attention toward women's rights in Sudan.

Hussein was fined for wearing slacks in public but she refused to pay. She spent one day behind bars until the Sudanese Journalists' Union paid the fine on her behalf.

Others rounded up with her in a restaurant were flogged.

 

13 dead, 100 injured in two Spanish seaside city attacks

Israel freezes implementation of settlement law

Erdogan meddles in German politics

Saudi Arabia installing cranes at Yemen ports

Civilians stay on frontlines despite dangers in Raqa

IS fighters almost encircled in Syrian desert

For Israel, White House ties trump neo-Nazis and antisemitism

Iran reform leader ends hunger strike

Van ploughs through pedestrians in Barcelona terror attack

13 killed in Barcelona van attack

Iraq acknowledges abuses in Mosul campaign

Netanyahu under fire for response to US neo-Nazism

Israel to free high-profile suspects in money laundering probe

Spanish police shut down jet-ski migrant smugglers

Syrian actress, activist Fadwa Suleiman dies in Paris

Israeli court extends detention for Islamic cleric over ‘incitement’

UAE to provide $15 million a month to Gaza

Sudan's Bashir 'satisfied' with Nile dam project

US-backed rebels say American presence in Syria to last ‘decades’

Tunisian clerics oppose equal inheritance rights for women

Israel strikes almost 100 Hezbollah arms convoys in 5 years

UN hopes for eighth round of Syria talks before year’s end

LONG READ: How Syria continues to evade chemical weapons justice

Civilians killed in US-led raids on Raqa

Qatari pilgrims begin flooding into Saudi by land

Turkey arrests 9 more journalists for alleged ‘Gulen links’

Iran’s Karroubi on hunger strike over 6-year house arrest

Saudi Arabia to restart work on Grand Mosque expansion

Algeria reshuffles cabinet, nominates three new ministers

Syria rebels lose heavyweight faction

ICC orders Mali ex-jihadist pay 2.7 m euros for Timbuktu destruction

Libya seeks to ‘organise’ NGOs carrying migrant rescue Ops

More than one million South Sudan refugees in Uganda

Beirut, Damascus pledge to boost economic ties

Two killed on Gaza-Egypt border

Qataris to do hajj on Saudi king expenses

Fire breaks out at UNESCO heritage site in Saudi Arabia

Iran military chief in Turkey for talks on Syrian war

Saudi Electricity announces $1.75b in international loans

Israel to strip Jazeera journalist of press credentials

Bahrain state media accuses Qatar of trying to topple regime

Iran's Khamenei blasts US over Charlottesville

Libyan forces snub ICC over warrant for commander

Iran’s detained opposition leader starts hunger strike

Saudi Arabia, Iraq draw closer with wary eye on Iran