A young Sudanese Christian woman has been sentenced to endure the punishment of 20 lashes due to “indecent dress.”
Fardos al-Toum, 19, was apprehended in June along with 12 other Christian women because authorities said they were dressed indecently while they walked home from a Baptist church function in Khartoum, according to The Christian Post.
The women were wearing trousers and skirts, instead of the covering required by Shariah law, which Faith McDonnell of the Institute of Religion and Democracy says is the dominating law in Sudan.
"This incident is just another example of the Khartoum regime's ongoing harassment of Christians when they are not outright persecuting them. It is an intimidation tactic of the Islamic regime to try to discourage Christians from attending church," McDonnell asserted.
Of the 12 young women who were apprehended by authorities, only al-Toum was sentenced to the painful 20 lashes. Two of the young women were released immediately, four women were fined, four were cleared of charges, and one still awaits trial.
Al-Toum also received a fine of 500 pounds which was paid by rights activists. It is thought that al-Toum received the sentence of 20 lashes because she also appeared at her court trial wearing a dress.
It remains to be determined when al-Toum will receive the 20 lashes.
Human rights group Amnesty International has begun an online campaign which allows those concerned with al-Toum’s plight to send pre-written letters to the Sudanese authorities, urging them to drop the inhumane charges against the young woman and to abolish flogging as punishment for crimes which, al-Toum’s lawyer argued, should not even apply to someone like al-Toum who does not identify with the religious nature of Shariah law since she is a Christian.
Publication date: August 18, 2015