Feature

Lubna Hussein: Wearing pants in Sudan

Why a Sudanese women is willing to face 40 lashes for wearing pants in public

Lubna Ahmed Hussein's crime was wearing pants, said Jenice Armstrong in the Philadelphia Daily News. In Sudan, the authorities say that constitutes a violation of public decency laws, so Lubna Hussein and 12 other women were arrested at a Khartoum restaurant July 3. Most of the women accepted 10 lashes, but Hussein and two others chose to face trial and, if convicted, 40 lashes—making them champions in the fight for freedom being waged against "religious extremists."

This is not about the right of a Christian like Lubna Hussein to wear pants despite a law reflecting Muslim tradition, said Nesrine Malik in Britain's Guardian. The real issue is the defiance of these women in the face of the authorities in Sudan. "As with all self-declared Islamic governments, what a woman wears becomes no longer an issue of religious modesty but one of audacity and defiance to a regime's raison d'etre and authority."

To the men who enforce the rules in Sudan, said World Have Your Say, Lubna Hussein is "an enemy of public morals, to be denounced in the letters pages of newspapers and in mosques." She did, after all, defy the "law of the land" and waive her immunity as a United Nations employee so she could make her point in court, daring the government to flog her. That makes her a "heroine" or a criminal, depending on where you stand.

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