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.

 

Hundreds of residents protest against Qaeda control of Yemen city

Qatar signs deal for 24 French Rafale fighter jets

Police foil attack against Prophet Muhammad exhibition in Texas

UN gears up to host separate talks with Syria rival sides

Israel seeks to ease tensions with angry Ethiopian community

Lebanon security forces arrest IS-linked cleric

Recent disasters fail to slow tide of desperate migrants

Rumour of Al-Duri killing breathes life into shadow of Iraq dictator

Closure of last overland route chokes off Lebanon exports

Syria army tightens crippling siege on rebel bastion

Terror threats against Jews: Israel warns and Tunisia denies

Arab coalition deploys ‘limited’ force on ground in Aden

Syria army launches offensive on rebel attacks in regime bastion

Istanbul under security lockdown on May Day

ICC will consider Palestinian war crimes too

Dutch anti-Islam lawmaker 'warns' America against Muslim immigration

Ban warns fuel shortages threaten Yemen relief operations

Iran trying to buy nuclear technology

Iraqi Kurd leader to meet Obama next week

Yemen rebels launch first major attack on Saudi

Sudan maintains balancing act with Saudi Arabia, Iran

Syria, Iran vow to step up fight against ‘terrorism’

Iran warships reach entrance of key Yemen strait

Iraq offers amnesty to personnel who fled ‘Islamic State’

UN envoy urges Israel to lift Gaza Strip blockade

France set to sell Qatar 24 Rafale jets

Mali peace deal tatters

Saudi-led coalition pounds rebels in south Yemen

Iran opposition leader: Tehran ‘godfather’ of IS

Saudi king concentrates power in his inner circle

Sadr threatens to attack US interests over budget provision

France increases defence budget in response to extremist threats

Hamas silences pro-unity protest in Gaza Strip

Turkey acquits all leaders of 2013 protests against Erdogan

Iraq seeks to counter IS propaganda victory in Anbar

After four decades, Prince Saud al-Faisal steps down as Saudi Foreign Minister

Sisi vows elections for 2015

Iraqi peshmerga leave Syria’s Kobane

Iran-Saudi war of words heats up

Bahrainis jailed, stripped of nationality, for 'terrorist acts'

Prince Mohammed bin Nayef named new heir to Saudi throne

Iran detains US cargo ship in Strait of Hormuz

Syria defence minister starts official visit to Iran

Qatar unveils world’s biggest environment project

Saudi Arabia foils suicide bombing against US embassy in Riyadh