The Kingdom of (in)humanity

As if Yakin Ertürk, the special rapporteur of the United Nations Human Rights Council on Violence Against Women, needed more issues to talk about during her 10-day visit to the Kingdom, the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice have decided to give her one more reason to tell us how we should treat our women (and men for that matter), and gosh how they hate it when they do that.

This sorry incident involving a Saudi-American businesswoman arrested in Riyadh for sitting in a Starbucks coffee shop with an unrelated man occurred on the same day Ertürk arrived to meet government officials, members of the Shoura Council and academics as well as individual victims of violence against women. She will subsequently report her findings to the UN Human Rights Council.

I’m glad that the National Society for Human Rights (NSHR) have decided to speak out and stand up for the woman. They described the manner in which she was strip-searched in prison as “inhuman,” but to me the whole ordeal from the moment she was arrested is inhuman.

After recounting the outrageous violations committed by the Commission member against the women, an NSHR official said they will raise the issue with the Governorate of Riyadh. Moreover, the official said that they will ask the governorate that the woman be compensated for the damages she sustained.

However, based on past experiences with incidents involving the Commission, I think it is very unlikely that the governorate will hold them accountable for their misbehavior. Actually, one of the main problems with the Commission is the magnitude of power given to them in Riyadh that allow them to violate basic human rights and invade people’s privacy. Compare the situation in the capital to that in Jeddah and you will see what I mean. I think we are going to hear the same old rhetoric about how the Commission is not responsible for the mistakes its members make even if it resulted in the death of citizens.

I have said it many times before and I will say it again: until the government is serious about setting clear guidelines on what this Commission can and can’t do, we will continue to hear about atrocities like this one. In the past, many things like these used to pass unnoticed because people were too afraid to speak out against them, but times have changed and it is up to the people now to stand up for their rights.

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36 thoughts on “The Kingdom of (in)humanity

  1. trying to free a woman
    is a try to jail your self

    it looks that “They” are scared from women or may be thier freedom is a CODE BLACK to them.

    who knows and who cares since they got thier own things why they should care..

    salam and keep screaming.

  2. I was missing reading your blog, but I´m happy now since u back :)

    and of course ,this subjetc already were noticed here in Brazil.

    I hear that the woman got the freedom when his husband come to get her. Right?

    In all cases I think rulers should change there about womans rights, and it will be, because more and more voices are calling for this.

    So keep going…

  3. I have many Saudi friends since I came to the US in 2006 and most of them are against what is happening in Saudi Arabia. Actually, one of my Saudi friends let his wife have the freedom of driving his car in the U.S. like taking their child to school or going to the market for shopping which is the simplest kind of a human being right.

    Thanks for blogging about these issues. Your voice definitely makes a difference.

    Regards,
    BT

  4. I am utterly amazed how the good people of Arabia would tolerate such a nefarious, undemocratic and brutal regime as the corrupt Saudi family. I guess nations ultimately get the leaders they deserve, unless the people get off their behinds and change it!

  5. good morning to all of you
    hows everyone doing
    since i started talking here
    i havent even once seen a replay from ahmed (saudi jeans) himself
    if you think that you are right and you started talking about them subjects…how come you cant answer questions being asked to you or why do you you just remove them msgs
    im not asking you questions that a person should have knowledge to answer them
    like this question which i think 100% you wont answer
    would you agree if one of your relative females sit down with a guy who is not her mohram?
    the answer is either yes or no.you dont have to get phd to answer that

    why are you bringing up subjects which you cant even answer questions being asked to you
    or is it that you know that your wrong and dont have a word or lets say even a letter to say

    if you think that you are right and all..answer them questions and be clear with yourself
    dont just ignore me like that

    dont think that you are being wise or something if you ignore me

    i think that you dont like being ignored from others

  6. the_bachelor, I choose to ignore your comments because they are either off-topic or plagued with nonsense, but this time I will grace you with a response, so here it goes:

    My relative has to employ a driver who is not a mahram (mainly because people like you are against women’s driving) in order to take her to the mall to buy her stuff from a man who is not a mahram (again, mainly because people like you refuse to allow women to work in shops), and when she gets sick she is treated by a doctor who is also not a mahram.

    It doesn’t take a PhD to answer your silly question but it certainly takes a zealot to ask such question.

  7. How brave you are to continue blogging and continue informing those of us who are in the dark about your country and your people. I am pleased that I came across your blog and have enjoyed reading it this morning. I will definitely return. You are indeed a highly intelligent young man who is able (and willing) to think for himself.

    Too bad for the_bachelor who is obviously very insecure. So insecure that he approves of the way women are treated, and needs them to be scared in order to stay with him. He’s not ever going to get love, he’s going to get fear. There exists a tremendous difference between the two.

    You, however, are obviously above his level of intelligence. Thanks for reaching out to those of us in “the west” so that we might understand you better. =)

  8. I have read about your blog on CNN and it made me pity you. There are problems with your government, but they are not on the issues you are reporting here.

    You are just serving Taghoot, akhi, with your “brave” anti-government ramblings.

  9. Perheaps Achmed writes a personal blog, about what’s going on in his own mind, what bothers him, and how he sees KSA. And if you have read this blog, often enough about his love for his country.
    I see nothing here that serves taghoot, or are we going to do the shi’ite-bashing again?

    Do I read a bit of jealousy here?
    I don’t see a link to your blog? If you know so much better, why don’t you write your own. And make sure you sign it with your real name, if you have the guts.

  10. Saudi Jeans, I believe you, including western media/UN, are blowing the whole incident out of proportion and context.

    There are two immediate issues here, where one is of perception and the other is … well basically, naïve ineptitude. You can mix these two and you will have an open ground to point fingers at any standard you want. I will leave out the perception because it will not lead us anywhere. So for example, alcohol was legal, illegal, and then legal again in the US (of course, with the consent based on perception). Bring me 10 people from 10 diverse regions of the world to talk on this and you will have a never ending debate of “was US Govt. correct in banning/legalizing alcohol.”

    Therefore, you may agree or disagree with me on the perception of if a female should be able to chat with or dine out with a non-relative (in public or alone); however, neither you nor I have a hard-coded truth to prove each other wrong (with a mutually inclusive universal standard). I am an American and I have never been to Saudi Arabia (or Middle East for that matter) but I don’t see anything wrong in implantation of a law of the land. Even by very liberal standards, arrest based on premeditated opposition of law “could” have been justified by some but ignorant defiance? Come on!!! It seems like the woman had same sort mentality of “randomly feeling like breaking the law” that Maureen Dowd of The New York Times had a few years ago. I remember Maureen Dowd calling the whole Saudi Society consisting of “Sick People” in a lecture at UC Berkeley later. It was very awkward for me listening it from a group of two where the other one is Thomas Friedman who I believe is popular in Arab world for his “liberal writings.”

    I am sure that the words might be different but the message will be the same this time in the media.

  11. I am happy to see that many of the responses are in support of the blogger however until we stop using phrases like “her husband let’s her…” sexist crap, human rights abuses etc…will continue. It is not a question of permission given but the freedom to do so.

    I would ask some of these neanderthals out there just wtf is so scary about women or is it that you men cannot control your sexual impulses so we are to blame? It has to be said because I am sick and tired of hearing stories like this.

  12. salaamz
    I think a woman going out with a non mahram is religiously ,ethically wrong.I also believe having a driver who is also a non mahram is islamically ethically wrong.so all of these laws of ksa need to be changed according to islam not according to our desires.We all wish to compare our society with the other societies not realizin tht those societies r either secularistic or are based on other concepts which might directly oppose islam.sSo in the end what has happened to yara and wat ever happens to other girls and boys ,if its under the constitution of islam then its as i must say justified .Saudia arabia is probably the last country on this planet that has kept and tried to maintain an islamic atmosphere .

  13. ooh for God’s sake please spare us this nonsense. On one hand they arrested the woman for sitting with a random guy while on the other hand they ‘strip’ searched her. Who will believe that? Its just a stigmatizing approach to destroy the the remains of morality in this world that has been left in Saudi Arabia.

  14. Well if they did all that then their actions r deplorable ,but still going out with a non mahram is unjustifiable as well…..so its a combination of both that needs to be changed….

  15. Oh, please, first place I read about it was Arab News, so that’s Arab media. The western media only picked it up a few days later, when they found out the woman also had an American passport, so they could make her out to be an American: makes for a nice juicy headline.

    And as a businesswoman, conducting business, it’s a bit impossible lugging your husband, who also has a job, around if you have to travel.
    If you really insist on this mahram-nonsense, which is a fairly new invention, btw, I expect you are also perfectly willing and able to spend six hours of your days, every day, to assist your female relatives doing their shopping, visiting, working, etc. whenever they need you.

    There are more women who have started procedures against the religious police for their criminal behaviour, so this isn’t an isolated instance.

    The whole conduct of the religious police has been a blatant disregard of their own rules.
    http://arabnews.com/?page=1&section=0&article=106733&d=13&m=2&y=2008

  16. salaamz
    Its not wat i say ,and its certainly not my call.
    But the fact of the matter remains that religious islamic scholars all over the world recognize this as a necessity so either we SUBMIT to the will of ALLAH(which is the meaning of muslim) or we can always apostate, or become a atheist for that matter .ITs a free world anyway.

  17. Sutta, thank you for providing those links.
    There are scholars and scholars, I much prefer the scholars at Islam Today.

    And I also have the top-grade-heavy-duty-brain God has been so kind as to put into my skull. I insist on being allowed to use it too, for reading and making up my own mind.

    The Qur’an doesn’t mention veiling/niqab as such, at least not the translation I have. Or at least I haven’t come across it. Neither can I make out that women aren’t allowed about on their own, or can’t drive themselves about, using what ever kind of transportation is convenient.
    Neither that they can’t conduct business.

  18. Well if Allah has gifted u with the kind of freedom of thought that u think u possess and if u think u have enough knwledge of the thousands of hadith and know the comprehension of the holy Quran and fiqh and in their light u can came to the above conclusion that there is no restriction………..Welll why dont u issue a fatwa then…….But if u dont have that knowlege and r nowhere near that state then all i can say is follow a scholar or at least review the reasons of rulings from different scholars
    peace.

  19. Do plz remember…that the Holy Quran is the guideline ,the hadiths r the explanations.Even the method of prayin is not mentioned in the Holy quran ,so likewise for non mahram ruling u need to go to the hadith my friend.
    peace and salaamz

  20. Could you people please stop confusing Najdi culture and tribalism with Islam. I expect it from non-Muslims but from Muslims too is a little troubling. Aafke Islam beyond the basic level is hindered without the Arabic language. The real Arabic not the Arabic of the Arabs we all know and love.

  21. But that’s the point isn’t it? All these restrictions are, as far as I can see, an innovation, and not called for by the quran
    I luckily have friends who dó speak arabic, and help me, and point out the best translations to me.

  22. Aafke learn Arabic for yourself and do not rely on friends. Now as far as the restrictions. The rulers of Saudi Arabia are in a bad position. The population looks the same to an outsider but is very diverse. The rulers must balance between religious conservatives, tribal conservatives, westernized elites, liberals, non-religious people, Bedu, shia minorities etc. Because it is the birthplace of Islam everything is colored by religion. As a Muslim I have no problem with that but if you want to be what is considered normal today life will suck for you. I enjoyed my years there. I also reconize I have no need or desire to drink alcohol, go to a movie, have a girlfriend, smoke hash or go to a music concert. Some of my former students had a lust for these things and they suffered for it. Reform in Saudi Arabia is needed but because of cultural / tribal reasons, status as the home of the Haramayn: this reform will be painful and difficult.

  23. The saudis are woman hating to a horrific degree. The blatant abuse of their human rights is an afront to civilisation and humanity. If a woman cannot have more than one husband then nor should a man. If a woman cannot choose her own destiny then nor should a man have that right. They are equal. It is proven that woman is the “default” sex. All embryos start gestation as female.She is the one that gives life. Her birth is imperative for the human race to continue. You can have one male but need many females for our race to survive. Is it jealousy that makes some societies hate women so much? Lastly, why would God hate his own creation so much that he would demand the utter degradation of women? Think.

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