We Would Like to Breathe

For some reason, Arab News chooses not to name KSU when they write about the stifling restrictions Saudi Arabia’s oldest university impose on their female students. Considering how this country is obsessed with segregation, there is no surprise here. And the ironic thing is, they say the university “is supposed to be a place where young women experience greater freedoms.” Says who? Wake up girls! This is freakin’ K of SA you are living in. The university, as you may expect, claim that the point of these restrictions is to protect the students. Again, no surprise. Welcome to Saudi Arabia, where everyone claims moral authority over the rest.

In the other hand, the newspaper chooses to name another university in Riyadh, Imam Mohammed bin Saud Islamic University, which supposedly is even more strict than KSU. It is said that IMSIU is to launch a new college of medicine, but according to Ali Al Mousa in Al Watan daily, the university president could not answer the question of whether female students would be accepted in the new college. Al Mousa tends to cut the president some slack because answering that question might put him in confrontation with the extremists who would, for sure, use the ‘segregation’ card. Let’s wait and see how this drama is going to play out.

And in case you didn’t know, the extremists are not only controlling the campuses in Saudi Arabia, but they also managed to extend their notorious control to the press in neighboring Kuwait, where this article by Dalaa’ Al Mufti was banned from Al Qabas daily, apparently because Al Mufti dared to comment on the ridiculous decision of the Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice to spend SR 700,000 on a study that examines the mingling of the sexes and its “harmful effects” on the society. I’ve told you that these people are obsessed, right?

30 thoughts on “We Would Like to Breathe

  1. sigh..I dont understand the basis of these stupid rules..Islam doesnt encourage *complete* segregation. KSA is so stifling honestly..poor saudi women. I know 5 saudi girls here in uae at my college and they wear tight jeans and everything…it’s just so sad…it only makes people rebel and go far from Islam..*hikmah* apparently doesnt exist in saudi dictionaries. *sigh* why cant anyone do anything? why cant women get along and hold a mass rally? they cant imprison all women can they?

  2. oh and I just DONT get it. Where the hell will women go to if they are left unmonitored? in dammam, single men are barred from entering malls b/c they only come for hanging out and having fun..no one BANS them from driving or going out w/o a *guardian*. sheesh

  3. let me get this right here
    Ahmed.do you think that its wrong for a woman not to hang out with a man???? do you think that it would be better for women studying with men together…in the same class……?
    be honest please and dont remove my comment
    is it ok with you that your sister studies in a collage where men are with women?….is it ok for your sister to invite her friend (which is a man) to her house and study together and hang out….theres nothing called friendship between women and men……
    if you accept that for a woman related to you and im saying if… people dont

    well if you say that then check your self
    a woman is not like a man
    each has his/her rights
    what would be next….you will say that why woman dont grow a beard?????

    and to my sister youngMuslimah….when you see a woman wearing jeans what would you think????
    is it right for a woman to show herself to others..?
    you think that woman in saudi arabia dont have rights..?
    what would be next…will you say why doesn`t the man set home and take care of the kids and the woman works outside??!!!!

    guys please dont follow the hawa
    and follow what is right….make your role model the prophet mohammed peace be upon him
    not what the shia say (which is wrong)
    follow the only truth

    ps:- youngMuslimah do you think that a woman should be out of her house and for her to have her rights to sleep outside and go to the beach
    and not to wear abaya and not to be a clean woman??

  4. John Burgess, LOL

    I don’t really get this obsession with segregation. How can you relate to other people when you can’t meet ”normally”? To live a decent life you need personal comittment, not being forced in a semblance of it.
    I like reading these blogs because they show me a different and personal view, and a lot of links to other enlightening sites. To be sure, the middle-east is often misrepresented in the western media, but it goes the other way around too. For some strange reasons it seems that only the worst excesses of western cultures find their way into other cultures; eg: mc Donalds (yuk), MTV (mega-yuk!).

    I’ve been to co-ed schools, I’ve hung out with friends. That doesn’t mean anything untoward needs to happen? Bizarre thought. Bit paranoia.

    But, something else might come out:
    Research shows that although girls get less attention from teachers, and shorter answers to their questions (yes, the ”west” isn’t fully emancipated either) they do, on the whole, get the better notes! :)

  5. LOL @ John Burgess

    bachelor, dude, I dont have a male guardian hovering over my head all the time. Yet I dont go hang around with men. I take the bus home like a good girl. Many women who drive to college go HOME. our parents know where we are.
    Government shouldnt be interfering in family affairs. Right parenting is the key. And yes I believe women should work if she can. would you prefer to take your daughter/wife/sister to a male doctor? we need women teachers, lawyers, counselors, scholars. fyi, Prophet’s wives also worked OUTSIDE of home. this is going off topic. so i am stopping here.

    make your role model the prophet mohammed peace be upon him–> EXACTLY my point.

    It is a mercy from Allah that you (Muhammad salAllahu’alayhee wasallam) were gentle with them. If you had been rough or hard of heart, they would have scattered from around you. So pardon them and ask forgiveness for them… (Surah Al ‘Imran: 159)

    you need to learn a lot bro. ending with a hadith here.

    “Make things easy for the people, and do not make it difficult for them, and make them calm (with glad tidings) and do not repulse (them).” (Sahih bukhari)


  6. Ahmed looks for a good title for his new blog post.


    perhaps, no definitely, very selfish, but

    ‘public saudi perspectives of israel’


  7. Alsalamo alikom my sister youngMuslimah
    we should always keep in mind no matter what degree of goodness and a person become religous there is always shaytan

    we know that in islam the woman is a diamond
    not like others who are tissues being used

    a person shouldnt live as a slave for his/her lusts and shaytan

    this life is just like a road…. not a place to stay
    we shouldnt lose our sisters as the kafaar wanting to get them in the wrong way (false freedom)….we are in this life to worship ALLAH subhanahu wa ta`ala…….so lets live ourlives the right way

    and no matter how good a person becomes
    this person should say alhamdolellah… not to show off…….

    a person gets into heaven by ALLAH`s Mercy

  8. At the core of this issue is that the government decided to police the segregation of sexes. Since, women drew the short stick thousands of years ago (even before Islam), they have their freedoms controlled by default.

    A full solution to this issue will not occur until Saudi Arabia accepts the idea that this policing is not the responsibility of the government. Most Muslim countries leave this issue to society to deal with. It is time for Saudi Arabia to take positive steps towards that goal.

  9. I liked this, so I linked to it over at Islam and Christianity.

    And yes, quite clear why the bachelor is still the bachelor. And young muslima, barakaat 3aleyki for thinking for yourself. Maybe you will run for parliament in KSA one day! (I meant that to be encouraging but it actually made me a little depressed….)

  10. And why isn’t it just taken for granted that women actually just might want to college to STUDY? And nothing else?

    Studying actually means just that. It means you need to spend your time studying. And if you want to be a doctor for example, it isn’t exactely light going.

  11. As stated before, it’s quite obvious why The Bachelor is still a bachelor.

    It’s mind boggling and thoroughly misogynistic to see people following the slippery slope of giving women adequate human rights equating to them becoming women of the night. There’s a word for what this is; oppression.

    Women are not children. Muhammed’s first wife Khadija ran her own “international,” business, and did not seclude herself nor let her life be regulated and run by men, yet she was a virtuous woman, even before Islam.
    Seems that these wannabe mullahs should actually pay attention to Islamic teachings before spouting off their recycled patriarchal crap and continuing to brainwash new generations to think that women are nothing but naive bombs ready to explode and pollute society.

    Like a parent who hits their child to “teach them a lesson,” a person does not learn to fear the actions leading up to the “consequences,” if the consequences are connected. Let women live their lives as they see fit, and if they stray from the “righteous,” path, no man has the authority to impose his morals onto her and assume societal paternity.

    The more restrictions you place on a society, the less virtuous your people are.

  12. I think you are thinking about this the wrong way:)

    I think you should publish a study listing the harmful effects of the mingling of sexes:

    1. Live saving drugs
    2. Communications technology
    3. Internal combustion engine


    Then start a campaign demanding that the Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice stop taking western medication, driving a car, or using a telephone because that shows that they condone “mingling of sexes.”

    Demand that they show their “purity” by never taking another aspirin. If they laws from the 6th C are good enough for the 21st C, then they should say medicine from the 6th C is also good enough for the 21st C. Point out the role of Madame Curie in developing radiation technology. Surely they cannot take advantage of medicine that was developed by women!

    Right? Or am I missing some theological argument as to why it that would be OK?

  13. 700 000 riyals on tht type of study? wht would they b doing with all tht money? taking samples from the body n studying them? … e.g. huh! okay those two were sitting 2gether… go take a sweat sample, blood pressure, glucose level then follow up.. WTF??
    tht’s just so F ing nuts

    Some companies prefer to hire saudi woman wrt saudi men bcuz they would just work harder then the male collegues.. n most woman who manage to go to Uni’s here, go to do exactly that!

    @youngMuslimah: Somehow the non guardian, non-mahram, expat driver’s tht drive these woman around DONT count as Single Men :(

    @the bachelor: u may wanna take ur shia/sunni thing somewhere else and stop talkign like something really bad happens with EVERY SINGLE WOMAN WHO DARES TO VENTURE outside of the house

  14. Muneeb Saeed:

    Your response got the scientist in me thinking. Really, what would be the experimental paradigm for such a study?

    Brain MRIs: do comparative analysis of isolated versus “mingling” couples to measure blood flow distribution to assess if patterns alter in the course of such interactions and correlate it with atrophy of intellectual capacity.

    Cardiovascular system: Note whether “mingling” versus “non-mingling” raises blood pressure, heart rate and thereby impacts long-term cardiovascular health of the subjects.

    Nervous system: whether “mingling” results in changes in sensitivity of the nervous system to external stimuli and alters the ability of the body to adapt to novel environments.

    Hirsutism: let us address the concerns raised by the_bachelor to assess if mingling does indeed lead to increased growth of facial hair in women (seriously, if it can be shown that illegal mingling causes beards to sprout in women, I think any woman who has to deal with the chore of tweezing facial hair will not only be demanding seclusion but getting protective orders against mingling as well).

    Anyone care to add?

    Ahmed: seriously, I think you are missing a great opportunity here. This is a study worthy of Nature.

  15. @ olivetheoil: LOL
    @Maya: excellent
    @the_bachelor, seems to me u are totally obsessed with sex: get a life dude, the world has more to offer, take on a hobby or do some sport.

    It is indeed a big drawback; living in europe and having to mingle. To keep our beards off, we have to spend one hour every morning in front of specially lighted mirrors finding and tweezing all those hairs out.

  16. Okay, so they don’t allow the bright girls to be a positive contribution to society, other than having baby boys (which they can’t drive to the doctor’s in case of an emergency or if they get sick, or even to the market to buy groceries while the hubby is out working!) These fabulous girls can be happy in this life AND the next; all they have to do is go to another country and study what their hearts desire and become an asset to society and their family wherever they may may end up in this world.

  17. “tht’s just so F ing nuts”

    Not if you think of it as a clever way to get some money from the government. Obviously any experiments would be impossible, because the male subjects could only be measured by men and the females by women; but as men and women cannot safely mingle, how could the subjects come together and the observers stay apart?

  18. hello there
    listen Aafke
    i didnt talk in a bad way or insulted you…so please before you say a word to me think about it

    and im asking you nicely to not ever say this sentence to me

    all the wrong things are from me and the devil
    and the right is from ALLAH

  19. @ Bachelor.
    But I dó feel insulted by your comments. You insinuate that the kafaar (that includes me, I suppose) all live in slavery to lust and Shaytan.
    And that is just not true.
    All other muslim countries have less strict segregation rules, do you condemn them all too?

    You keep going on about the dangers of mingling, lust, and Shaytan, which makes me think you must be obsessed.

    You’re right, one gets into heaven by Allah’s mercy
    And does not the Koran place great store by ”intent”? And by learning? For both men and women?
    If you’re hart is pure and strong, a bit of mingling can’t hurt you.
    If you’re weak and impure, no amount of artificial segregation can safe you, for God knows all.

  20. There is no free media in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, forget Arab News, where there is no News. The entire media in the Kingdom is controlled by the government and Arab News is no different, even though it is owned by the kiths and kins of Salman Ibn Abdulaziz, brother of the King. Arab News is nothing but a propoganda machine of the royal family of Sauds. A free press in the Kingdom would emege only if the royal family members are dethroned from the ownership of the newspapers and don’t have puppet editors.

  21. @The_Bachelor and those of his mentality are exactly the reason why the majority of the world erroneously consider islam a backward and violent religion.
    Unfortunately, experience shows that until they are educated and freed from slavery there is no way to reconcile or coexist with them. It’s sad but it’s true. As for the others, please don’t make the mistake of assuming that all honest and devout moslems are like his kind, they are not.

  22. you guys are all dumb discussin on some stupid thing and ya all mad at my boi bachelor cuz hes spittin the truth, ya better learn the truth and yall need to stop thikin like em westerners or sumn, no matter what dont forget what the truth is and stop followin ugly pple like saudi jeans btw hes a looser feedin pple his non sence, u jus must be dumb enough to cheer fo that shia freack talkin non sense neway if u guys have a problem with what im sayin let me know, u freakin bunch of loosers. im out

  23. “The religious clergy, by getting themselves established by law and ingrafted into the machine of government, have been a very formidable engine against the civil and religious rights of man” Thomas Jefferson

    “Because religious belief, or non-belief, is such an important part of every person’s life, freedom of religion affects every individual. Religious institutions that use government power in support of themselves and force their views on persons of other faiths, or of no faith, undermine all our civil rights. Moreover, state support of an established religion tends to make the clergy unresponsive to their own people, and leads to corruption within religion itself. Erecting the “wall of separation between church (or mosque) and state,” therefore, is absolutely essential in a free society.” Thomas Jefferson

  24. The quotes by Thomas Jefferson are very similar to those of Ataturk and are the basis of laicism and secularism to a looser extent. It’s a pity the USA didn’t follow on Thomas Jefferson’s interpretation. As far as I know, to date Turkey and France are the only two countries with laicism, complete exclusion of religion from state affairs. Is it a coincidence that France has began to face similar problems to Turkey under their new president? We are passing through an era where a religious/non religious clash is taking place. Hopefully people will come to their senses and it will be over before more damage is done.

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