September 7, 2009

"What passage in the Koran says women can’t wear pants? This is not nice."

Asks Lubna Hussein, who faced whipping in Sudan, but now will only be fined for breaking the law. The law in Sudan is Muslim law. Hussein says: "I am Muslim; I understand Muslim law."
The law in contention here is Article 152 of Sudan’s penal code. Concisely stated, the law says that up to 40 lashes and a fine should be assessed anyone “who commits an indecent act which violates public morality or wears indecent clothing.”

But what exactly is indecent clothing? ... Mrs. Hussein has argued that Article 152 is intentionally vague, in part to punish women.

76 comments:

Theo Boehm said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
PatCA said...

Don't worry, Ms. Hussein, the American feminist movement will come to your defense soon.

traditionalguy said...

Unrestrained by princples of fair trial by jury, the tools of rulers always include a scapegoat special Rule called "Conduct Unbecoming" a member of the ruled over group. They can easily gin up a charge against some weak person and sacrifice him/her like a victem sacrificed to a demon god on a pagan alter.

ricpic said...

Giant heifers in tight white pants assault my eyes daily. And there's no escape in infidel land. This is not nice.

rhhardin said...

One of the fire-and-brimstone radio preachers I used to listen to had a different story of disaster every night, each one involving a woman wearing pants causing some mental sin to happen among hapless men, one of whom was sadly killed in some accident at precisely that moment.

This led to eternal damnation for his soul, and it wasn't even his fault.

It was the woman's.

File under ass coveting.

jace said...

I thought that "spare the rod spoil the child" was just an old saying. However these people seem to take it quite seriously.
No wonder that these women are protesting.

jace said...

I thought that "spare the rod spoil the child" was just an old saying. However these people seem to take it quite seriously.
No wonder that these women are protesting.

Bissage said...

Fortunately, we've moved on, for the most part. But still, prosecutorial discretion can be a bitch.

Florida said...

What is "loitering"?
What is "disturbing the peace?"
What is "hate?"
What is "careless driving?"
What is "indecent?"

Before we cast stones at the Philistines, maybe we should look in our own legal mirror.

All of these terms are deliberately vague, so that the ruling class in the United States can have the power to direct the behavior and, if necessary, incarcerate the non-ruling class in our country.

It is illegal in the United States for a woman to appear in public in a state of indecent dress (showing nipple, for example).

Please explain in non-vague terms how wearing pants in the Sudan is any different in real terms than indecency laws in the United States (except for what actions they prohibit).

"Indecent" means whatever a judge says it means - in the Sudan, and in the United States.

miller said...

How is this not another case of Islamophobia?

WV: plizered, high on too many drugs

Pogo said...

1. Hating the pants-haters shows you are not embracing cultural diversity.

2. As single payer health care demonstrates, individual choice is against the common good.

3. No NYT articles decrying honor-killings, but man, when you go after fashion, all hell breaks loose.

Pogo said...

Is there anything "nice" about the Koran?
Seriously.

Florida said...

"Is there anything "nice" about the Koran?"

That raises a question: Have you read it?

Or are you going to allow yourself to be led along and told what is or isn't in it?

I'd suggest you read it, and also to read the Bible. Not because you will find "light" in there, or "truth" in there, but so that you can decide for yourself whether there is anything good to be found in them.

People have used the Bible, the Torah and the Koran for centuries to justify all kinds of good and evil.

But if you never read them, then you're just a follower ... to be led wherever they want to lead you.

But to answer your question: The point of the post is to explain to people that laws against "indecency" in the Sudan are much like laws against "indecency" in the United States: They do not originate from any religious textbook.

They are laws created by those in power to subjugate those not in power (whether they be women, poor people, uneducated people, etc.)

What's the point of having power if you can't force people to do what you say?

Laura(southernxyl) said...

Please explain in non-vague terms how wearing pants in the Sudan is any different in real terms than indecency laws in the United States (except for what actions they prohibit).

I'll bite.

1 - Indecency laws here are spelled out so that women aren't punished for what they believed in good faith to be compliant with the law.

2 - Ms. Hussein was originally sentenced to be flogged for wearing these pants. We don't flog people at all, let alone with "plastic whips that leave permanent scars."

ricpic, may I respectfully suggest that if you are in real distress from women dressing in a way that you do not find aethetically appealing, you may want to wear blinders; or move to one of those countries where all women, "hot" or not, wear garbage bags in public, so that your senses are not assaulted.

Lem said...

..and she still insists that she has a right to wear pants in public. “I will not pay the money, and I will go to prison,” she was quoted as saying.

Any chance the obscene garment were mom jeans?

Theo Boehm said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Laura(southernxyl) said...

Theo - if "some" women would be OK with you in those "garbage bags" then what would the other women need to wear?

We've got two issues here.

Some men want to control and limit what women wear because they want to limit those women's freedom. They put all the burden for sexual purity on the women, so that even if a woman is raped and they can't pretend that she wasn't, they find a way to blame her so that she's punished anyway. For them, women are inherently dirty and it's a punitive thing, to make them wear burkhas and such.

Other men want to control and limit what women wear because for them, a woman is valuable to the extent that she is sexually appealing. If she's not, she needs to quit cluttering his landscape.

The thing is, to women who are a 6 or less on a scale of 10, the suggestions that they need to make themselves invisible feel very much like the first kind of suggestions.

Maguro said...

I'm pretty sure pants weren't even available in Arabia back in 650 AD when Mohammed had his visions of Gabriel, so the Koran doesn't really address the issue.

If it's generally understood that women wearing pants is indecent in Sudan, then she's breaking the law, as unjust as the law itself and the punishment it assigns may be.

downtownlad said...

Sorry - this is the people's will. We don't need activist judges overturning the will of the people.

Whip her.

Chase said...

downtownlad,

Happy Labor Day!

Big Mike said...

I am amazed at alleged "feminists" who cannot be bothered to assist their sisters in other countries where the laws are deliberately calculated to put women down and keep women down. The American feminist movement of the 21st century has my strongest contempt.

former law student said...

This goes far beyond the requirements of the Koran, and apparently is just meant to punish women. Muslim women all over the world wear pants. Decent clothing covers the body while disguising its contours. Baggy trousers should be A-OK.

While attempting to find pictures of Muslim women in trousers, I ran across a fatwa against yoga, issued by an Indonesian cleric. These mullahs or what-have-you are simply pulling rules out of their asses.

former law student said...

Some men want to control and limit what women wear because they want to limit those women's freedom

What clothing is considered decent is an exercise in line-drawing. Why don't American women go nude, or at least topless, at least in the summer? Assuming adequate heating, why wear more than a thong indoors at any time of year?

traditionalguy said...

The Koran takes from the Torah teachings on Law written by Moses in the Old Testament, and then gives honorable mention to the New Testament teachings of Jesus and then adds a big BUT to invalidate any message of grace and mercy that came from Jesus crucifiction as a Son of God and ressurection by the Father, leaving only the harsh Law to be obeyed. That created a useless attempt to find any peace from a faith system that is only designed to point out man's flaws and condemn man.The need for a scapegoat to bear away men's sins/guilt must be served by someone in such a crushing system of guilt...and guess what, it is not the men that are selected. Women in pants, and all"Unbelievers", become fair game to the angry men who actually hate the god that is crushing them with that depressing guilt. Beatings, stonings and finally sawing off heads of living men becomes their cathartic act, and that honor usually belongs to the head Imam in charge of murdering available victims. Of course Obama and Elijah Muhammed see all this as a wonderful strengthening faith system because they do not plan to be one of its victims...they have the Jews and the Christians available to throw into those roles.

rhhardin said...

Why don't American women go nude, or at least topless, at least in the summer?

What clothing conceals is nothing is being concealed.

David said...

PatCA said...
"Don't worry, Ms. Hussein, the American feminist movement will come to your defense soon."

Oh, the irony.

Most American feminists can not be bothered with the plight of women in the third world, or in Muslim countries were women are severely oppressed. I have never quite understood why this is so, other than the narcissistic self absorption that marks too many so called feminists these days. But I also think it has to do with not wanting to be on the same side as the neoconservatve interventionists.

It certainly couldn't be racism or class snobbery, could it?

former law student said...

Most American feminists can not be bothered with the plight of women in the third world

True for many reasons: There are a ton of American feminists; they understand issues better here at home, improving conditions here is in their own self-interest (the Gordon Gekko argument so popular in the comments as of late); American feminists are not so arrogant as to assume they have all their problems solved so that they can tell the rest of the world how to live; no one should be able to pass judgment on which causes other people should spend their time and their energy.

For feminists interested in the plight of women in the rest of the globe, I recommend contacting The Global Fund for Women.

http://www.globalfundforwomen.org/cms/

Read the book on this movement, recently excerpted in the NY Times Magazine:

http://www.halftheskymovement.org/

Anonymous Blogger said...

American feminists are not so arrogant as to assume they have all their problems solved so that they can tell the rest of the world how to live; no one should be able to pass judgment on which causes other people should spend their time and their energy

By that logic, American feminists should shut up instead of telling other Americans how to live.

Florida said...

It is indecent in the United States for a woman to go topless.

It is not indecent in France for a woman to go topless.

My point is that, to the French, America looks exactly like the Sudan looks to America.

There is no difference because these laws are deliberately vague. They are written deliberately so that anyone, at any time, under any circumstances could, depending on the opinion of someone else (usually a judge) be "guilty" of breaking them.

The point is that the law itself is what confers power on the governing. Without such laws, they have no power.

Occasionally, someone must be whipped ... lest the nine tails lose their supple (in other words, lest the governed forget who wields the whip).

The real power of the whip is not in its tail, but in the fear of it.

Florida said...

@ Laura(southernxyl)

Would wearing a thong, such that parts of it might be visible, be enough to get you arrested?

Yes or no (be careful, this is a trick question)?

miller said...

I can see the point of the feminists remaining silent. It would take so much energy to post a message of solidarity with the woman.

David said...

"My point is that, to the French, America looks exactly like the Sudan looks to America."

You are kidding, right?

SteveR said...

I think the passage in question is right behind the passage which exempts sex between men and boys without body hair, from being a "homosexual" act

ricpic said...

It is not indecent in France for a woman to go topless.

A woman walking down the Champs Elysees topless would be surrounded by flics and frog marched (pun intended) into the nearest paddy -or pierre - wagon toot-suite.

A woman topless on certain - not all - Cote D'Azur beaches would be okay.

No society, for perfectly obvious reasons, can function when liberty equals license.

Beth said...

Which feminists in particular are you all angry with? Are you looking for a personal delivery of information or have you actually done a little looking around to see if any feminist groups have any statements or actions on global women's rights? Or are you just assuming that no Western feminists are involved with feminists in other countries?

bagoh20 said...

Theo, that's pic caption is perfection.

We really have little footing on obscenity law. It's just purely subjective in construction and enforcement. It's not alone in this. We have many laws that are indefensible logically and amount to nothing more than the simple fact that we want it that way...sometimes. It's kind of like your Mom saying: "Because I said so." Regardless, I think we need that. Being illogical is human after all. "Live long and prosper."

Michael McNeil said...

It is indecent in the United States for a woman to go topless.
It is not indecent in France for a woman to go topless.


Except that topless sunbathing in France is now OUT.

ironrailsironweights said...

I've heard that fewer and fewer women go topless on the beaches in France. Those who do are mainly middle-aged or older.

Peter

Freeman Hunt said...

Are pants really sexier than skirts? I did not know this. You would think pants would be less "indecent" than skirts.

Penny said...

"Loons should just shut up and listen: American Feminists not out to brainwash schoolkids."

Big Mike said...

@Beth, I have found precisely two feminist groups that care about their sisters, and at least one has been thoroughly marginalized as far as I can tell.

Is NOW doing anything? Didn't think so.

EDH said...

How is this different than the core-Ann saying men can't wear short pants?
;)

Lem said...

Maybe NOW will not criticize because Sudan is now an African country and we now have an African American president.

Now is not the time ;)

wv - ranta = Oscar de la Renta on a rant.

former law student said...

edh:

*groan*

Alan said...

It is illegal in the United States for a woman to appear in public in a state of indecent dress (showing nipple, for example).

It is indecent in the United States for a woman to go topless.

Except where it isn't, like in very many jurisdictions in the US. No topless woman will be cited for indecency in Austin, for example. There's no violation they can be charged with.

Laura(southernxyl) said...

Florida said...

@ Laura(southernxyl)

Would wearing a thong, such that parts of it might be visible, be enough to get you arrested?

Yes or no (be careful, this is a trick question)?


It's not a yes or no.

If a woman is wearing clothes that cover her normally - say, some low rider pants - and her thong is visible above the pants, that probably is not going to get her arrested.

Now spring your gotcha. I want to see how America is just like Sudan.

bagoh20 said...

Indecency - Just think for a moment how broad that is.

Freeman, yes, pants are defiantly less sexy than skirts. Most men will not watch just any woman bend over in pants, but a skirt suspends all standards.

Lem said...

I want to see how America is just like Sudan.

Both our presidents are not American born ;)

(sorry Laura, i couldn't resist)

JAL said...

As someone above pointed out, Muslim women all over the world wear pants. In India the clothing often distinguishes Muslims form Hindus. Hindu women tend to wear saris. Muslim women tend to wear kurta (the top) and pajama (the pants), with a scarf, the diputta.

The pants can be quite loose, sometimes blousey, or, as the young prefer, tighter. (Or even jeans.)

The deal is this -- (when I lived there anyway): The kurta (or kurti) is supposed to be long enough so that it covers the bottom of the buttocks -- therefore the crotch.

I am all for modesty (sorry guys ;-) ) BUT the Muslim culture is really really sexually obsessed.

I guess in the Sudan "pants" (?pajamas type?) are a problem, but tell that to the Musliom women who wear them every single day as the norm.

It may be that the pants Ms. Hussein wears are more western style and her top was not long enough.

Oh yeah--- you can read the Koran all you want(and probably should do a Cliffs notes version for fun) but unless you read it in Arabic, it is not the Koran. So the Islamist 'extremists' don't listen to any arguments or discussion made from English versions. Or infidels.

WV boodis
The boodis is hidden if correctly covered per the Koran. So they sez.

JAL said...

And don't you love the "This is not nice?"

She's facing 40 scar producing lashes, or a large fine, or incarceration in a hellhole, and she protests it isn't nice.

She's probably way too nice for Sudan's ruling despots.

Beth said...


Is NOW doing anything? Didn't think so.


About what in particular, Mike? This specific woman? Or other global issues related to women and women's rights? I'm not being rhetorical - your comment is too vague for me to follow. What do you mean by "care about their sisters" and who's marginalized, by whom?

I don't belong to NOW, and I find them too focused on abortion rights, but they do have actions and statements on Aghan women, on international treaties addressing human rights for women globally, and they appear to have a committee on international women's rights and global strategies. I don't know what any of that is worth, but there it is. Feminist Majority apparently has similar efforts. There are feminist groups, including the V-Day group, addressing the violence in Congo, there is feminist opposition to genital mutilation, there's global feminist support for women's businesses (micro-loans) and education, for medical treatment, for pre-natal and neo-natal resources to improve survival rates and healthier newborns. I don't have a hard time finding examples of feminists in the West and all over the world, doing things to improve women's lives.

I don't have all the answers to how to make life better for women living under Islamic law. But that hardly means Western feminists don't care about non-Western women.

Beth said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
exhelodrvr1 said...

Good job, Florida!! Way to pull out the equivalence card!

Beth said...

When I google Lubna Hussein, I find links to feminist blogs, telling her story, and linking to petitions, to a planned protest in London, and to other supportive news and blog reports.

But it would take so much energy to do a little google search before posting a message of complaint about something.

AllenS said...

Great points, Beth. Throw in a couple of candlelight vigils, and NOW would just about have the problems for women solved.

Roy Lofquist said...

I believe it is either the commerce clause or maybe the general welfare clause.

Beth said...

Yes, it would be so nice, Allen, if we could buy the world a Coke and sing in perfect harmony. Or we could invade. Or we could cast a spell or say a prayer. But those damned feminists, they haven't cured the world's ills because they hate third-world women. Or they love sharia law. Or something like that. I can't keep it straight. My knee can't jerk fast enough to keep up.

Fred4Pres said...

There is nothing in Islam that bans pants for women. But Sudanese and most fundamentalist Islamic morays are about keeping women in their place. Pants somehow get their riled up (like driving does in Saudi Arabia, or schooling does in Afghanistan with Pastuns). Islam is just the excuse, and it is really about 7th century Arabian culture that has been ingraned as an ideal.

Angel said...

this is depressing... i hope women of islam start drowning their sons and leave no men left to command them... AMAZONIAN TIME!!!

rhhardin said...

Islam has a problem with assholes, not women.

Its dynamic is that of organized crime. The thugs that are most ruthless are in charge.

Open opposition will not be safe enough to start.

Laura(southernxyl) said...

Dang, Angel. I wouldn't go that far.

I don't think the trouble is with Islam so much - as noted, in different countries the strictures on women's dress are interpreted in different ways. I think the trouble is cultural, and political - there are ruling bodies that want to stay on top, and they use religion to keep their hold on the populace. We've seen that before.

Fred4Pres said...

She is just too uppity. First pants, then she will oppose female circumcism for her daughers, then equal pay for equal work. It will lead to madness.

Florida said...

@Laura(southernxyl)

OK. I'll spring the trap:

Officials in the city of Yakima, Washington have passed a law that made it a crime for women to be seen wearing what they describe as see-through fabric or G-strings in public.

http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/2472645/Cheeky-thong-flashers-banned-in-US-city.html?OTC-RSS&ATTR=News

No lashes (one presumes) ... however women are threatened with up to 90 days in jail and a $750 fine.

Right here in the United States, a law which governs what women may wear at threat of prison punishment.

Oh ... did I mention that the mayor of Yakima, Washington is a preacher? When he's not designing women's clothing or writing our laws, Dave Elder is the senior pastor at the Yakima Foursquare Church in Yakima.

I am not saying that what is happening in Sudan is moral or right (or equivalent).

I am saying that the oppression of women is happening right here in the United States under our current elected leaders. You can't do a single thing to prevent the Sudan from lashing that woman.

But there is something you can do about the religious-inspired abuse and oppression of women right here in the United States.

Joan said...

But there is something you can do about the religious-inspired abuse and oppression of women right here in the United States.

Don't move to Yakima.

Presumably, the Yakimites elected their mayor and their town council approved the ordinance going on the books. Some people don't like seeing exposed underwear; can you really blame them? The stupidest fad recently which finally seems to be fading is young men walking around with the pants around their hips, exposing the top 3 inches of their boxers. It looks ridiculous.

But I digress. Yakima's restrictions may have been inspired by some religious text, but they're still laws that can be repealed. Run for mayor in Yakima on a pro-thong platform and see how far you get. No one's stopping you if it's that important to you.

Big Mike said...

@Beth, I don't imagine NOW "hates" third world women, nor do I imagine that they love Sharia law. I think that they don't much care for anyone other than themselves; they don't "hate" third world women -- they don't care enough about their problems to feel strongly enough to hate.

When I see NOW and other feminist groups putting pressure on Barack Obama to put diplomatic pressure on Islamic nations, when I see them calling for economic pressure on Sudan and Pakistan and organizing boycotts, then I'll think that they're trying to accomplish something for their foreign sisters.

Nice that you feel you can defend your sisterhood, Beth, but take an honest look and tell me that they're really trying very hard.

Not that there aren't women's groups that sit on their hands the way NOW does, but they're small and get no press.

former law student said...

Not that there aren't women's groups that sit on their hands the way NOW does, but they're small and get no press.

Parenthetically, that's why I don't contribute to the NRA -- they do nothing about securing gun rights for the disarmed in the Third World.

But here is a rare exception for press coverage of women working for women in the Third World: last week's New York Times Magazine. The references are buried in various stories; best to read the whole thing.

http://www.nytimes.com/indexes/2009/08/23/magazine/index.html

Big Mike said...

@fls, thanks for the link. (You're going to have to learn how to use the 'a' tag, though.)

I'll believe that Hillary Clinton will do more than just talk about women's rights when I see her doing something, but otherwise some good articles that together suggest that perhaps American women are going to bestir themselves. Can't come quickly enough.

Laura(southernxyl) said...

Florida - your trap was an article in the Sun?

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.

Here is at least the Seattle Times.

I never said that there should not be standards of dress that are codified. If the people of Yakima don't want to have women dressed like pole dancers working in coffee shops or walking around in public, yay for them.

Your "trap" was: "Would wearing a thong, such that parts of it might be visible, be enough to get you arrested?"

My response was that if the underwear showed above a pair of pants that otherwise covered the woman, she shouldn't get arrested.

These people don't want the women's butts showing in public.

As Joan said, don't move to Yakima.

Oh - and I object to this being called "oppression". Nobody is asking these women to do anything other than cover their butts, which most civilizations in the East and the West have agreed that both sexes should do.

ricpic said...

Not one mention of a dreaded dead white male prominent American by the Shit King. No Washington. No Jefferson. Not even Lincoln. Our history has been purified. For the children. God bless Cacabama..

exhelodrvr1 said...

"I don't think the trouble is with Islam so much - as noted, in different countries the strictures on women's dress are interpreted in different ways."

In how many Islamic countries are honor killings fully prosecuted?

Shanna said...

While attempting to find pictures of Muslim women in trousers, I ran across a fatwa against yoga, issued by an Indonesian cleric. These mullahs or what-have-you are simply pulling rules out of their asses.

Fls, this reminds me of what a friend of mine told me about the Pentecostal church she used to go to. The women have to wear skirts, right? And they have to be a certain length. So one day, the pastor randomly decides that JEAN skirts are now not allowed. She thought this was bullshit, and they ended up leaving the church (there were other reasons, I think, but this was just an example).

I'm pretty sure pants weren't even available in Arabia back in 650 AD when Mohammed had his visions of Gabriel

What about harem pants?

Shanna said...

I am saying that the oppression of women is happening right here in the United States under our current elected leaders.

And yet, my 12 year old cousin tells me the fashion is now to wear see through shirts with cute bra’s underneath, and this is allowed at school, which pretty much floored me.

Big Mike said...

@Shanna, no wonder the Muslim countries think that the US of A is decadent.

Also no wonder that boys have trouble in middle and high school. With their hormones raging away and see-through blouses all around them, they probably can't remember word 1 of what the teacher has to say.

Laura(southernxyl) said...

"In how many Islamic countries are honor killings fully prosecuted?"

I don't know. Are honor killings done and prosecuted or not prosecuted in Malaysia? Indonesia? The Phillipines? What makes a country an Islamic country? Is it sharia law encoded into national law, or is it a preponderance of Muslims?

Plenty of Muslim kids act out, and their parents don't kill them. We've got a whole bunch of Muslims in this country, and when an honor killing is done it's big news.

I still say this is cultural, and the cultures are using religion to excuse it. Once again, the purpose is to control women.

Now one might ask why that is. Is it the selfish gene - the man wants to make sure it's his DNA passed on to the next generation and not someone else's, particularly if he is providing for the child? Or is it the human tendency to get some kind of satisfaction out of being the boss of somebody else? Is it the kind of pride that people with extremely low self-esteem have, that makes them care about their status in the community more than they love their own families? All of the above? None of it is confined to Islam.

Shanna said...

@Shanna, no wonder the Muslim countries think that the US of A is decadent.

Also important to twelve year old fashion? PB&J t shirts. True story.

karan said...

It is a very nice and good post. Keep up the good work.