Cecilia Holland (Compass Direct)
Proving once again that to jihadists, tolerance and pluralism only go one way, Muslim officials in Sudan have whipped a Christian girl for not wearing a headscarf. Where now are the Muslim voices that cried out for human rights and religious freedom in France? Why aren’t they protesting this kind of thing?
April 28 (Compass) “” Sudan’s Islamic regime in Khartoum lashed and fined a young Christian Sudanese woman in mid April for not wearing a headscarf in public in the capital city.
Cecilia John Holland, 27, was given 40 lashes on her back and fined 10,000 Sudanese dinars ($40) by the Sizana Islamic Court in Khartoum on April 14, sources in the capital confirmed to Compass.
A Christian born in southern Sudan, Holland was traveling by minibus to her home in the Khartoum suburb of Haj Yousif on the night of April 13 when she was arrested by a group of 10 public-order policemen, some in uniform and others in plainclothes.
She was just boarding the bus near Badr gardens in Khartoum Two at 9 p.m. when the police apparently spotted her. A police van pulled ahead of the bus, ordering the driver to stop, and Holland was dragged off the bus into the van.
When Holland tried to pull free, protesting that she was a Christian and a southerner, she was struck with a hard blow on the neck and forced into the van. Four other women were already detained there, all wearing scarves, although their attire was tight and revealing.
With temperatures in Khartoum ranging between 100 and 105 degrees F., Holland was wearing modest long sleeves and an ankle-length skirt, but her hair was uncovered.
The police told Holland she was being arrested for not wearing a scarf. No one in Khartoum, “even a non-Muslim,” she was told, was exempt from Islamic bans against wearing improper dress. …
On the morning of April 14, the accused women were taken to the Sizana Islamic Court. There a policeman swore an oath on the Koran and then read out the charges against Holland and the other women. None of the accused women were allowed to say a word to the court.
According to the police version of Holland’s case, she was accused of “standing near a garden at night” and “not wearing a scarf on her head at 11 p.m.” The police refused to register that she was employed, writing instead that she was “jobless.”
Holland, who holds a diploma in catering from Khartoum Applied Sciences College, is employed as a catering officer for a local non-governmental organization.
Declaring Holland guilty, the Sizana court sentenced her to be lashed 40 times on her back and pay a fine of 10,000 Sudanese dinars. That afternoon, after being whipped and paying the cash penalty, she was released. The fine represented a third of Holland’s monthly salary. …
Holland’s forced subjection to the restrictions and harsh punishments of Islamic law dramatizes one key issue now deadlocking a year of ongoing peace talks between the National Islamic Front government in Khartoum and the southern leadership of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM).
Earlier this month, the Khartoum government refused to compromise on its insistence that Islamic law govern all Sudanese citizens residing in Khartoum. More than two million non-Muslim southerners live in and around the capital, displaced by the last 20 years of civil war between the African Christian-animist south and the Arab Muslim north.
So far the SPLM”s alternative proposals have been outright rejected, to either establish a separate enclave within the capital for southerners, or subject its non-Muslim Sudanese to the same secular laws to be followed in the south during a six-year period of self-rule.
Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir claimed on April 13 that southern negotiators had abandoned their demands and agreed to have “only one legislation” in Khartoum. According to an Agence France Press report, Bashir said the compromise came “after we gave them convincing guarantees regarding the cultural and religious diversities among the citizens.”
But a SPLM spokesman denied any such agreement, which would in effect make the south’s non-Muslims “second-class citizens” in the country”s political capital.
“Second-class citizens”: i.e., dhimmis.