The Right to Choose

It has been a long time since I read anything by Mody al-Khalaf, but yesterday she was back with a good column at Arab News. This time, al-Khalaf comments on letter to King Abdullah that was written by 500 women asking for what they called “their Islamic rights.” These women asked the king to ignore the calls for “Western” rights for women.

Al-Khalaf makes a good argument, even though most of what she talks about is well-known to those of us who choose to look at things in a way that really makes sense. She writes, “I ask for my Islamic right to work in marketing, sales, catering, medicine, law, politics, engineering, fashion, the military or any other occupation which I might choose.”

Are we going to see Saudi women gain more rights this year? I hope so. I’m optimistic, and with people like al-Khalaf and others, including many Saudi female bloggers that I’m really proud of, I am sure they will. “And finally, as a Muslim, I ask for my right to choose. In any argument, a Muslim has the right to choose the interpretations he or she wants instead of being forced to go along with other people’s choices,” al-Khalaf concludes.

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8 thoughts on “The Right to Choose

  1. Ahmed,

    Just what might make sense to you .. might not make sense to others!

    Doesn’t mean that I really support those who see women driving cars as westren right .. and not really human basic right ! :)

  2. Driving is actually a privalege not a right. What is more to issue is that a privalege is being denied souly based on gender.

    But what I would love to see is exactly what she mentioned. That Saudi women, like most Muslim women in most parts of the world are able to choose for themselves. To be seen as capable ADULTS not limited children whose choices are made for them.

  3. I have recently discovered Saudi jeans and as a former expat (living in Alkhobar and NOT in a compound either)I have really enjoyed reading your blog. Brought back memories, and quite a few good ones at that. I was most impressed by this particular article in the Arab News as I am surprised it got printed in the first place! That in and of itself is great because it shows that slowly but surely, different voices (i.e. opinions) are allowed to be heard. I will now have to go and read the online Arab news. Thanks for bringing it to the ‘outside’ worlds’ attention. And here is hoping for changes in KSA, not ‘Westerns’, but basic human rights’. As with Christianity, there are different Islamic interpretations and any intelligent believer can and ought to be able to make those choices themselves. Good luck with your studies!

  4. Interesting blog you have here. Having visited your kingdom over a decade ago, I take a keen interest in Middle Eastern developments

  5. I personally think that women should have the same rights of the men.
    I think that islamic world mustn’t become like western (I hope for you that it wouldn’t happen), but just realize that women couldn’t be treated like objects.
    Peace & love

  6. why does everyone refer to it as “Western Rights”? this is pure segrigation. doesn’t anyone see how wrong that is? I hate to have to be the one to break this to everyone but the world is round. if you keep looking east… just past japan… you might find your “western” world. how sad. why cant we all be satisfied with how other cultures live their lives? if some countries want to live in repression.. let them. if others want to grant way too many rights let them. its a learning process. and it live… it to learn.

  7. Hey, came by your page thru blogger. though it was interesting and very informative about the new Saudi Arabia.
    I lived in Jeddah for nearly 9 years when I was a child and sometimes i miss it.
    It’s nice to see women taking up for themselves for their basic freedoms and these progressive attitudes from young people interested in change.

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