A Sudanese female journalist and critic of government policies said on Sunday that she is under fire from hardliners who have accused her of “insulting Islam” in one of her columns.
Shamael al-Nur said she has become a target of a radical Islamist and a section of Sudan’s hardline media for criticising government public health policies in a column published on February 2 in Al-Tayar newspaper.
Nur, 36, wrote that Islamic regimes were increasingly busy with “matters of virtue and women’s dress rather than health and education issues”.
“It is easy to cut spending on health in the state budget, but it is very difficult for the ministry of health to distribute condoms,” she wrote in the column on a sardonic note.
Less than 3% of Sudan’s budget was usually allocated for health and education, according to Nur.
Nur said she has written several articles criticising the government but that this particular column had triggered a campaign against her.
“I wrote an article about how the state is imposing dress codes for women and how people should pray,” Nur told AFP at her newspaper’s offices in Khartoum.
“Because I am a woman, the attacks have increased.”
“In the Sudanese community it becomes a problem when a woman speaks of such issues or criticises Islamic scholars,” said Nur, dressed in a leather jacket and jeans.
A Khartoum-based radical Islamist, Mohamed Ali al-Ghazouli, said Nur’s writings were against Islam.
“What Shamael al-Nur has written is insulting to Islam and Islam’s main virtues,” Ghazouli, wearing a business suit, told AFP.
“She says that those who pray can’t build modern states... Such writings are also against Sudanese law and the constitution,” said Ghazouli.