The Dawn Chorus

Fresh Australian Feminism

Lubna al-Hussein – Legend

Posted by Leah on April 9, 2010

I’ve been meaning to write about this woman for ages so, despite my timing being a wee bit on the lagging side, here goes!

Lubna al-Hussein, a Sudanese journalist, was arrested along with 12 other women in July 2009 for wearing ‘indecent clothing’ – read, trousers – in a Khartoum restaurant. This ‘crime’ can be punished by up to 40 lashes, and 10 of Lubna’s co-accused received 10 each.

Lubna was ordered to pay a fine – which she refused to pay on the grounds that doing so would legitimise the charge. Instead she was sentenced to jail for a month; however she was released after only one night when supporters paid the fine without her permission. Lubna wanted to make a clear point about this discriminatory, oppressive law, and resigned from her position with the UN because it would have granted her immunity to the charge.

Before the trial she even sent out invitations reading, ‘Sudanese journalist Lubna invites you again to her flogging tomorrow.’

What a legend.

On another note, a belated shout out to the group of 34 imams and scholars in Mauritania who in January this year declared a fatwa against female genital mutilation. I’m not usually a fan of fatwas, but this one seems ok!

And to finish, a nice quote from the suffragette Rebecca West all the back in 1913, ‘I myself have never been able to find out precisely what a feminist is, I only know that people call me a feminist whenever I express sentiments that differentiate me from a doormat.’


3 Responses to “Lubna al-Hussein – Legend”

  1. dihstawrtid said

    That’s a great quote by Rebecca West – I hadn’t actually heard it before reading this post. The funny thing with humanity is that as soon as you refuse to conform because of something you believe in, you are automatically labelled as something abhorrent. We have a long way to go as a society.

  2. sarah said

    A poem dedicated to Lubna

  3. Rida Khan said

    Being a young Australian woman i can express my dispute and anger on this issue. But being a Muslim i am going to be pointed out and will be given the title of being ‘oppressed’. What’s worse is the fact that Pakistan and Iran are famous for their ‘honour’ killings regarding women.

    Lubna Al-Hussein- the word ‘Hussein’ itself holds the significance of a legendary hero in the Islamic history who died fighting for the rights of freedom of women and children- and humans in general.

    I would like to remind you all that when it comes down to Islamic world, 80% of the Muslims are illiterate. The top five ‘violent’ or well ‘unstable’ countries in the world right now include Iraq, Afghanistan, Sudan, Somalia and Pakistan. Do note that they are all Islamic countries-i don’t even know why they themselves claim to be Islamic when no Islamic law has been followed or abided by anyone.

    The ‘indecent’ cloth concept comes from the very same limited mentality of these illiterate men and women of the society- yes women as well. I can bet you many women would be in favour of floggings of Lubna.

    And i keep telling people last century, it were Jews who suffered a terrible holocaust. And now it’s Muslims’s turn- everyday i wake up in the morning praying that hopefully nothing negative from the Islamic world will be heard- and so far i am only left with disappointment and sadness.

    Even if i speak to every single person in the world regarding the Islamic dress code, and enlighten them with the correct knowledge- i would still be faced with these very same stereotypical discrimination against Muslim women- or perhaps any woman.

    I can’t believe since the rise of year 2010, burqa ban has been declared in Europe, and at the same time women are also being flogged for not covering themselves fully.

    Either way it is women who have to live up to the expectation of the politicians and society. Whatever they do, they will still be victimised. Being a Muslim i will still be victimised for covering or not covering myself fully.

    And no it is not because i did not follow the Islamic dress code, or wore hijab or a mini skirt.

    It is simply because….i am a woman.

    -Rida Khan (16)

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