Marieme Helie Lucas is an Algerian sociologist, activist, founder of ‘Secularism is a Women’s Issue,’ and founder and former International Coordinator of ‘Women Living Under Muslim Laws.’ Here, and in a few subsequent article interviews, we will discuss gender, Islam, Muslims, and this context surrounding the urgent case of Noura Hussein Hammad.
Hammad has been sentenced to death and has less than two weeks to appeal the case. The hashtag: #JusticeForNoura. There is a petition. Sodfa Daaji’s is the person to email. Daaji’s email if you would like to sign the petition, and please provide first and last name and country, then please send an email to the following contact: [email protected].
Part 1 here.
*This amounts to an activist and educational series.*
As the conversation progressed, we talked about the violations of rights for men and women, but more for women. This went into areas of gender inequality. All of this specified on the case Noura Hussein Hammad.
In the context of marriage in an Islamic context, Helie Lucas described two parts as normal for it. Two events with days or even years, depending on the case, between the events for the individuals.
In Hammad’s case, she was married against her will. Her father was the signatory of the contract “as her legal tutor, her wali.” She was married at the age of 16. In this context, the marriage was legal and permitted with the law.
The bride does not necessarily have to be around at this time for the marriage.
“The bride does not even have to be present during this signature. Then she was sent to her husband’s house for the consummation of the marriage when she was 19,” Helie Lucas explained, “She never flinched in her refusal of this marriage. Both Sudanese laws and international law prohibit forced marriages.”
Helie Lucas described how the institution of wali forever leaves the woman, or women more generally, in a status of a legal minority. Someone less than the other. In this case, a woman less than the man by law.
She notes that this is specific to the Maliki ritual prevalent in North Africa for the most part. However, Helie Lucas stated that this is not practiced in all schools of thought in Islam.
Forced marriages “are generally prohibited under the law of the land, not all countries take it to heart to implement these laws. This is also a child marriage,” Helie Lucas stated directly.
With the increasing influence and growth of the fundamentalist preachers, the marriage age continues to decrease to the puberty of girls. Some can be married off as early as 9 or 10 years old.
With the case of Noura Hammad, she has another violation of rights, not only forced marriage but also in, the rape. She had marital rape and gang rape.
“The second violation committed against Noura is rape – and not just, if I may say, ‘marital rape’, but it is gang rape, as – in order to crush her physical resistance,” Helie Lucas explained, “[the] husband sought help from several of his male relatives in order to pin her down and hold her arms and legs while he was raping her in front of them.”
According to Hammad’s lawyers, Hammad had bruises and scars from the fight. One day after the marriage, Hammad’s husband tried to rape her once more, but used a knife in self-defense and killed him.
“She went to her father’s house, but he disowned her and took her to the police. She was convicted with murder and sentenced to death,” Helie Lucas said, “With no consideration for the circumstances, and for a case of self defense. Hence Amnesty International’ recent demand that this judgment be annulled and for a more equitable trial to take place.”
There are cases like Hammad in many places around the world, but this is a particular case that made news and Hammad’s life is at risk with the call for a hanging. Sudan, as with some other Muslim countries, have a legal provision for blood money.
Helie Lucas stated, “…the family of the victim can demand a financial compensation for their loss, – rather than a death sentence for the culprit. In Noura’s case, the late husband’s family refused compensation and demanded the death sentence.”
The hashtag: #JusticeForNoura. There is a petition. Sodfa Daaji’s is the person to email. Daaji’s email if you would like to sign the petition, and please provide first and last name and country, then please send an email to the following contact: [email protected].
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