Nigerian lesbians go into hiding.

According to sharia laws in some place men can take up to four wives. So what happens when a woman decided that she is going to take on four wives herself? They have to go into hiding because if caught they are either stoned to death or canned.

Kano’s Hisbah board, which uses volunteers to enforce Islamic law, told the BBC that the women’s marriage was “unacceptable”.
The BBC’s Bala Ibrahim in Kano says Aunty Maiduguri and her four “wives” are thought to have gone into hiding the day after they married.
All five women, who are believed to be film actresses in the local home-video industry, were born Muslims, otherwise they would not be covered by Sharia law.

Home-video industry? That sounds totally shady.
When men take more than one wife, that is some type of hyper-masculinized heterosexuality (even though in some way those women are married to each other, they are not given as many legitimate rights as men, but it is not your typical heteronormative relationship). But when women do it, they are constructed as run-away lesbians and have to go into hiding. I am scared for them.
via BBC.

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11 Comments

  1. Ninapendamaishi
    Posted May 1, 2007 at 9:16 am | Permalink

    that’s too bad. I know there are some places, like in East Africa, where women were traditionally allowed to marry other women (that is until the Muslims and European colonialists got there). Judeo-Christian religions can blow, IMO.

  2. the.empress
    Posted May 1, 2007 at 9:26 am | Permalink

    “All five women, who are believed to be film actresses in the local home-video industry, were born Muslims”.
    hmmm i wasnt aware you could be born muslim. i was under the impression that religion is a choice.
    this is sad.

  3. Thomas Thurman
    Posted May 1, 2007 at 9:55 am | Permalink
  4. Ninapendamaishi
    Posted May 1, 2007 at 10:22 am | Permalink

    I think we’re never going to know the whole story on this one. I mean, /if/ people were threatening to kill me with the authority of law behind them, I’d probably try and get myself out of that situation too.

  5. theologienne
    Posted May 1, 2007 at 11:51 am | Permalink

    Hey Samhita,
    The Nigerian film industry is a big, spread-out, low tech community and they do call what they make “home movies.” The NYT had a story on it which I can’t find in the two seconds I just spent on it, but check this out:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cinema_of_Nigeria
    It is a legit means of earning a living.
    keep up the good work!

  6. yesbut
    Posted May 1, 2007 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

    “Kano’s Hisbah board, which uses volunteers to enforce Islamic law…”
    Actually, I find this to be one of the scarier parts. The body enforcing this sounds like a religious vigilante group… I can only imagine what a Christian fundie vigilante org would be up to here in North America…

  7. keshmeshi
    Posted May 1, 2007 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

    Women in polygynous marriages aren’t married to each other. Sometimes they cooperate, but cooperation may very likely be the exception, not the rule.
    In many ways, polygynous marriages, especially in fundamentalist regions such as northern Nigeria, are worse than typical heteronormative relationships. How do you think men keep that many women in line?

  8. werechick
    Posted May 1, 2007 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

    Nigeria is more than just a tad homophobic in the legal system. It’s illegal to so much as hold hands, or to attend a gay wedding (even someone elses’) in a foreign country. Reading a gay novel, or watching a gay film is also illegal. Depending on the part of the country, gay sex can be cause for either life in jail or the death penalty.
    I fear for these women.

  9. Mina
    Posted May 1, 2007 at 6:50 pm | Permalink

    Between this and the polio vaccine ban a few years ago (which, fortunately, is over), I now wonder what sort of reputation Kano state has among Nigerians in the rest of the country.
    “hmmm i wasnt aware you could be born muslim. i was under the impression that religion is a choice.”
    The idea is that babies with Muslim fathers are automatically Muslim, kinda like the way some people say babies with Jewish mothers are automatically Jewish.
    “The Nigerian film industry is a big, spread-out, low tech community and they do call what they make ‘home movies.’”
    Yeah, my first guess was Nollywood too.
    “The body enforcing this sounds like a religious vigilante group… ”
    Sounds to me more like the “neighborhood watch” things we have cooperating with the police in some U.S. cities, given that Sharia is part of Kano state law.

  10. Kalisti!
    Posted May 1, 2007 at 8:32 pm | Permalink

    My two cents:
    As far as my college’s Middle East class has taken me, the original point of a man marrying multiple women was to protect women whose husbands had died or divorced them. You also aren’t allowed to take on more than one wife if you can’t support the wife/wives you already have, and you can’t favor one wife over another.
    I’m sure at least most of you know that. And I’m sure the system is being abused in many countries. I just wanted to put that out there so that casual site surfers wouldn’t think we knew nothing of Islam.
    That said, I wish them nothing but the best and hope they’re safe and alright wherever they are.

  11. Tarek
    Posted May 1, 2007 at 8:34 pm | Permalink

    Pedantically speaking, I think the article says they’ll be “caned”, not “canned”…

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