After the recent blunders of our very dysfunctional justice system, you would think judges will become more careful when they handle some cases. Not so much, unfortunately.

The latest episode of this depressing, long nightmare comes from a little town in the north, where a 75-year-old Syrian woman was sentenced to 40 lashes, four months imprisonment and deportation from the kingdom for having two unrelated men in her house. The two men, who were reportedly bringing her bread, including one who was her late husband’s nephew, were also found guilty and sentenced to prison and lashes.

So Saudi Arabia takes another slap in the face. It is also a slap in the face for the new minister of justice, who obviously needs to fight really hard in order to end the embarrassments caused by our courts and implement the much publicized changes in the justice system.

It is good to know that the brilliant human rights lawyer Abdul-Rahman al-Lahem has traveled to Hail to take the case. He said he plans to appeal the verdict, and I totally trust him to win this battle, not just for the sake of the old woman and the two young men, but also for the cause of justice and human rights in this country.


151 thoughts on “Injustice

  1. Yea, this case will be solved before the verdict takes place, so meh. However he fact that it happened is still funny.

  2. One wonders at the imagination, or rather depravity of the judges, the deranged father, and the religious police in their being able to so fully believe in a haraam sexual relation between two young men and a very old infirm widow in need of assistance.
    It’s clear that a bit of charity is more dangerous in KSA than anywhere else.
    There must be more saudi heroes as I thought…
    To risk bodily punishment and jail merely for bringing some groceries to an old lady….

  3. “The lawyer said a 75-year-old woman is usually not considered seductive yet she is a woman and unrelated men should not remain alone with her. He said court rulings in such cases are based on Shariah, which did not differentiate between old and young.”

    isn’t she considered as “al-qawaed min al nisa’a”? she doesn’t even have to cover up.. she’s an old lady, don’t they have the tiniest bit of mercy… i wont even go near their utterly ridiculous logic.

  4. When I read this news i was shocked, this wasn’t the first time that i’ve read similar news coming from KSA (eg rape victim senteced). I know that legal sistem in KSA is totally different from the western country and that is based on sharia and that the clerics have an huge power, but is there any way to reduce the power of clericsand change in some way the legal sistem?

  5. As an American who has only read the Koran in parts, I don’t understand the complete segregation of the sexes. The idea of modesty is quite understandable. The veil itself might make sense. The idea that the simple presense of a man and woman together is wrong seems to come from somewhere else.

  6. Salam…

    This is depressing.
    I am a muslim expat working in Saudi and sometimes being in Saudi makes me ashame to be a muslim.
    May Allah forgive me.

  7. The law was broken, of course, as unrelated people of opposite sexes were alone together, but what kind of law is this? One could argue that the elderly woman must be protected from abuse, but in this case, the “punishment” itself is abuse, especially since no abuse or impropriety occurred during the commital of the “crime.”

    This case smacks of the irrational, skewed mindset of those who would impose such a “punishment” on an elderly person (of either gender) whose intention was merely to get a piece of bread.

    By the way, what happened to the concept of intention? Doesn’t that count anymore?

    This case provides an excellent opportunity for true reform to be introduced into the Kingdom.

  8. Ok, I am totally against what happened to this poor old lady, and I’m quit sure there is something went wrong to punish her that way.
    But I want to emphasis something very important here; this has nothing to do with neither Islam nor proper Shariah law. It’s merely the judges’ mistake and who ever helped for this to happen.

  9. Yes there’s this law but I’m wondering the reason of this law….I mean the lawmakers did it because thought that the women are needed to be protected or because thought that are weak would jump on any man? In mean even in Iran women have more rights compared to Saudi

  10. I would say this is a perfect example of what is wrong with Sharia law (or any law that doesn’t recognize civil authority). Islam recongizes the self, the family, the tribe and the Muslim community. It doesn’t recognize well the civil authorities outside of that. If you read Islamic discussions on a topic, they never seem to recognize any other standard than Islamic scripture and islamic rulings. So, in backward districts an Islamic magistrate will make rulings based on ideas that may make sense to him, but baffle the outsider.

    In a country like Saudi Arabia, it may be very difficult to distinguish between custom and Islamic law.

  11. The whole bloody situation is an absolute mess!

    Jerry M, while this is indicative of what is wrong with Shari’a law…I take it farther and say that this is because of the blatant misogyny that’s innate in the religion.

    For the other points you mentioned: (A) complete segregation of the sexes- is a ridiculous ploy to keep women out of the sights of men because men are lusty and uncontrolling of their sexual urges. Though in pre-Islamic times, ancient nomadic Arab peoples had a habit of kidnapping women from other tribes (which led to nasty feuds) so as a preventative measure women were frequently kept separate as a means of their ‘security’. (B) the idea of modesty- ties into A and C. (C) the veil- is another form of controlling female sexuality, a sexual apartheid if you will, heightening the perception that she is taboo, has no status and is thus inferior and subservient to men. So NO the concept of veiling does not in the slightest make sense when taken into the context of 21st century progressivism and the promotion of woman’s rights–medieval Islamic times…sure, it fits right in. (D) the idea of a man and woman together is wrong seeming to come from somewhere else- well with the aforementioned this fits right in. Men and women are supposed to be separated in Islam–as it is written in the Qur’an and Hadith so shall it be practiced and performed despite the situation.

    The degree to which Sharia law is incompatible with the present-day is all too clear. There is no presumption of innocence, no trial based on evidence, no verdict given by one’s peers, and most importantly there is no EQUALITY before that law. The woman at the center of this is another unfortunate casualty of Islamic mis-perceptions of women–even more the gentlemen who see her as family even if not blood related are too victims of this guilt-based ruling.

  12. So let’s say I’m a 75 years old woman and I live alone, somewhere far from the city. I can’t drive, obviously, and I’m not allowed to have someone to take care of me… should I just kill myself?


  13. Unfortunately, in such cases it’s ‘shariah’ that takes the flak when it should be the half-witted judge presiding over the case who needs to be held accountable. If I’m not wrong there’s something about women over 60 not having to

    On a completely different matter bro, I was hoping to attend the Janadriya festival this week and I was wondering which days are reserved for families. Any idea? I usually look up dates and timings on the festival’s website, but it’s quite messed up this time around. And perusing Arab News turned up zilch. So, any help will be much appreciated! :)

  14. L.M- If you’re a 75 year-old woman and live alone out in the boonies, and you can’t drive, and have no relatives to support you…you COULD kill yourself–but that’s haraam. (“inshallah”) You just starve to death instead.

    Sanaa- The judge is a product of his training on Islamic law. When Islamic law isn’t open for questioning, criticism, nor ammendment then it becomes easy to just accept what’s written and apply the law as it requires no analytical mental skills to reach a verdict. Scrap Sharia into the dustbin of history and then fire the judge for being an intellectually lazy douchebag.

  15. This is taken from sociologist Dr. Fatima Mernissi’s Beyond the Veil: Sexual equality violates Islam’s premise, actualized in its laws, that heterosexual love is dangerous to Allah’s order. Muslim marriage is based on male dominance. The desegregation of the sexes violates Islam’s ideology on women’s position in the social order : that women should be under the authority of fathers, brothers, or husbands. Since women are considered by Allah to be a destructive element, they are to be spatially confined and excluded from matters other than those of the family. Female access to non-domestic space is put under the control of males. (Mernissi 1987 : 19)

  16. im still a bit surprised every time when people mention things like ‘legal system’ and ‘human rights’ in saudi arabia

    good morning! hello! those things do not exist here! no ‘system’ of any kind exists here. what are you people talking about?

    ‘human rights’ … LOL

  17. It is exactly instances such as this that solidify my conviction that our legal system must be separated from our religious life.

    Instances such as this only serve to create or confirm in the minds of non-believers that our religion is abysmally backwards.

    I quarrel with those who say that these instances are due merely to an isolated wrong-minded judge.

    It is rather, I contend, the inevitable result of any mixing of religion and government.

    Those in West performed no better when they have engaged in such mixing of law and religion.

    We must remove the ulemaa from our governmental affairs, and remove government from our individual lives.

    Instances like this serve to bring antipathy and loathing towards the Rasulullah.

    We should work to end this rule of the ulemaa, for the sake of our religion and for the sake of the reputation of the Rasulullah.

  18. “Sanaa- The judge is a product of his training on Islamic law. When Islamic law isn’t open for questioning, criticism, nor ammendment then it becomes easy to just accept what’s written and apply the law as it requires no analytical mental skills to reach a verdict.”

    Have you read any of the comments you douchebagged bitch? Women over 60 are exempted from these sexual laws (as a couple people have commented). Obviously you are the one not applying any analytical mental skills when bashing Islam.

  19. Fatima Marnisi or whatever her name is not a sociologist? LOL. She was a fake and was denied asylum for lying about her life as an ex-Muslim from the Danish parliment (or one of those other non-English speaking Western countries)

    She’s non-relevant and the only people who care to listen to what she has to say are non-Muslims.

    If you want to engage Muslims seriously and have open discussions then you should bring up other Muslims, who are also ciritical of the state that Muslims find themselves in today.

    I bet you don’t know any of those.

  20. Abid- If the woman was truly exempted from sexual laws then why is she being lashed and deported? The point that you obviously failed to pick up from my comments is that no one should be persecuted on these grounds WHATSOEVER, that people should not be found guilty and disproportionally punished without evidence and consideration for the facts. If the judge who ruled so stringently, if not on the foundation of sexual interaction–then he ought to have understood the circumstances that inevitably “broke” the sex-intermingling/apartheid laws. THAT is why this particular judge is a douche–because he failed to see the situation for what it was: relatives helping an extended family member who according to custom is considered a “mother” to one of them, and then punishing them all unnecessarily to uphold a ridiculous status quo.

    You might also want to clamp down on launching personal attacks. In so doing you have failed to present an analytical counter-argument as to why this ruling, supported by Sharia and by extension Islam–is permissible in the 21st century? Whereas you may call it “bashing”, I call it “criticism”. We have a difference of opinion.

    That alone is evidence that you are not open to discourse–Saleema I agree with you however about having serious discussions and engaging each other critically. But when one debates Islam you have to bring all types of scholars into the debate as well. Otherwise you form a habit of cherry-picking those scholars who’s opinions suit your own and whose arguments support your point of view as well.

    Andrew, you bring to light some interesting issues–If KSA separated the legal system from religion–well what form would that legal system take? Would it still be Sharia? Or a codified form of it? Would common law be introduced instead? In the event of divorcing the law from religion are you then calling for secularization? These are all questions that should be out and freely discussed and debated.

    “Instances such as this only serve to create or confirm in the minds of non-believers that our religion is abysmally backwards.” Could you please clarify what you mean by “non-believers”…do you mean Jews, Christians, Hindus, Sikhs, Baha’i, Animists, and Atheists or Secular Humanists, or perhaps just some of those groups? Some people, though not all people, regard religion as backwards in general and its not specific to Islam.

  21. I will throw out another question for everyone to think about.

    Whom does the judiciary in the KSA serve?

    (A) “God”
    (B) “The People”
    (C) “Neither”
    (D) “All of the Above”

    Who are they (the judges) responsible to?

    (A) “God”
    (B) “The People”
    (C) “Neither”
    (D) “All of the Above”

  22. Ashanti,

    “But when one debates Islam you have to bring all types of scholars into the debate as well.”

    The line between critical and hate is not well-defined when it comes to Muslims these days. People don’t tend to hold conversations with someone who they think is hostile to them and their way of life because of their political/social and biased agendas.

    If you want to engaged Muslims, hell if Muslims want to engage me, another Muslim, they must show that their hostility does not arise from prejudice.

    Many times non-Muslims who are critical of Muslims are so hostile and prejudicial. There’s a line to be drawn about an individual’s human rights and with some people taking it up as an agenda to chance our culture and socities. Not everything about our culture/socities/religion is up for debate and necessarily negative. I for one think there’s nothing wrong with our religion telling us not to have sex outside of marriage. But if somone does make the mistake, that does not mean that they should be lashed to death or stoned to death.

    Fatima Misirni is a fake. She hates Islam and some of the stuff she says is just to sell her books. She lables everyone with the same brush stroke.

    Have you heard of Ingrid Matson? She’s a moderate Muslim who does not wish ill upon us at Fatima Mirnisi, and she’s all for women’s and human rights. She’s published several books too. She lives in the States.
    Abid–Wow. Where are your manners? How do you outright curse someone like that?

  23. A little bit OT (but not too much) this poor woman was sentenced beacuse whe was alone with two unrelated me BUT since the women can’t drive they stay ALONE with a unrelated man (the driver) in a car?

  24. this old women…was doing illegal night job…but as Islamic laws hide the really story for the seek of rehapitation … the court diciuon sound funny… not told in the story to young girls were in the house we policy arrive.

  25. Interesting…. we do not want to accuse the religion of being backward just that easy. If it were that easy, we would not have had issues to talk about. It is vital to be careful when it comes to women issues in Islam. In fact, I do believe that many of the women rights have been rejected by our societies in the name of religion.

  26. Saleema seems to mix up Fatema Mernisse with Ayaan Hirsi Ali , and Holland with Denmark, well if you don’t want to learn anything, then of course it doesn’t mean a thing.

  27. Neils C,

    You are right I have mixed them up. Trouble is I don’t pay much attention to Islamophobes after they first show up on Fox News and start spewing their hate.

    I do realize now who Fatima Marnisi is too. They are both the same and their agendas are same.

    Sorry, but you are not going to make me hate my religion. I know what my religion stands for. KSA does not have a monoply over Islam and how to define it.

    I do not need to learn my Islam from non-Muslims and Islamophobes; having an open intellectual debate is another thing.

    If you want to discuss the Holocaust you do not go to Holocaust deniers or the Nazis. If you want to learn about Islam you do not go to Islamophobes. There are plenty of people far and wide critical of the state Islam is in but they are not Islamophobes.

  28. Qeem,

    Do you have inside information? Then come out and tell us who you are. Otherwise shut up because you are not supposed to talk in that manner about women. I think that requires a punishment of lashes itself.

    You coward.

  29. Saleema
    Just wondering about Fatima Marnisi’s work? What aspect of it did you find to ‘islamophobic’ or pushing an agenda? I actually agree with that assertion regarding Ayaan Ali Hirsi and would love your opinion on F.M.

  30. I don’t get i when people said this was injustice.
    This act should be done by a devout sharia country like KSA. The state has carried out it welldone, in accordance with divinely Sharia.

    She is 75 and got 40 lashes ONLY.
    If she is 17, she will get 100 lashes and her brothers, father and uncles will honor-kill her.
    If she is 47, her husband will immediately divorce her and everyone will stone her to death.

    Nothing new at all.

  31. Mo,

    I should be more clear when I write. I don’t think F. M. is an Islamophobe. Her intentions are good. I agree with many of the Hadith she even criticizes, but then she over does it by drawing conclusions on several of those. One is the hijab one.

    Jeez, right now I’m obsessed with another woman of Paki origin and this has to do with politics. Maybe we can have this conversation some other time.

  32. Ashanti:

    To your questions:

    “Andrew, you bring to light some interesting issues–If KSA separated the legal system from religion–well what form would that legal system take? ”

    I believe that the legal system should be one that is accountable to the Saudi people, rather than to the ulemaa.

    I do in fact believe that it should be formally be divorced from the ulemaa.

    “Could you please clarify what you mean by “non-believers””

    I mean all those who do not hold themselves out to be followers of the Rasulullah.

  33. Good article!
    I don’t want to write anything new here, it’s a sad story, that’s all.

    Do you ‘commentators’ think something will change with that law at any time? I don’t mean tomorrow or the day after tomorrow, but maybe in 50 years? So that men and women are allowed to meet, talk to each other even in public? Wouldn’t that be more fun for everyone?

  34. Mark- Whether the law changes in KSA is up to the people. I can’t and won’t proffer a estimable time for when this may happen. I’m speaking from the perspective of a Black American who’s grandparents were part of the Civil Rights Movement here and one thing my Granny will say about those times was that “we trudged along slowly.”

    Andrew- Thanks for the clarification of “non-believers”, much appreciated.

    Saleema- I took a look at your blog, and I liked it very much and will check back frequently. Now I understand that that there is a fine line where prejudices are concerned and I believe that there are are people who are unabashedly hateful towards Muslims and mostly because they don’t know anything about it. On the flip side of the coin there are those who maybe grew up Muslim and are now vehemently opposed to the discriminatory practices ‘interpretively’ endorsed by the Gur’an (and thus carried out in practice by everyday ‘believers’) who wan’t to see changes according to modern times they recognize Islam as their religion and as such want to make progress from within. Then there are the former-Muslims who reject religion all-together and see it negatively for any number of reasons and thus criticizes it based on their past experiences and the injustices overall they could no longer be associated with. I’m speaking in broad terms here, but these broader generalizations also apply to the other great world religions. It all depends on where that person falls on the bell curve from the staunch conservatives, the moderate, and the staunch liberals.

    I’m not out to make you hate your religion. You have every right to believe whatever you like it’s your choice…and me, being the ultra-liberal that I am, will defend your right to say what you please even if I disagree with you. But, I will argue that seemingly ‘moderate’ Muslims like yourself have to define that line in Islam between the 7th Century practices enshrined in the Qur’an and the 21st Century world you inhabit. It’s not a easy chore either.

  35. Isn’t it a little harsh to stone someone to death because they had sex, or because they were in a room with a man. If you honor kill someone in the US you go to prison for it! I would never tolerate this kind of behaviour from my husband or my sons. It’s barbaric and sick! Honor over love! Who gives a shit what the neighbors or anyone esle thinks it’s none of their business! People make this out to be so complicated and it isn’t. Just stop killing people for stupid reasons! I had sex with one guy before I got married so does that mean that I should be killed? For having sex? Since then I have been married for 17 years had 3 kids and gone to college.


    Cicily Martinez: soon you will be in Iraq and I predict that you will stay there and get married
    iraqinas: u think so!!!!!
    Cicily Martinez: yes this is what I believe
    iraqinas: well i can agree with half of this… yes probably i have to get married from there as long as i’m looking for a virgin. but i don’t think i will live there tho
    Cicily Martinez: oh I see
    Cicily Martinez: boy you arabs and your virginity
    Cicily Martinez: Im sorry but this is so retarded
    iraqinas: Your buddy has sent you a cool Emoticon, to get it click$V=2,S=66512180$%5c@TCEE
    Cicily Martinez: funny
    Cicily Martinez: I just commented on a blog about this virgin crap
    iraqinas: look…the reason i wanna do that cuz i wanna be the first and last person ever. I can’t get married with someone’s left over.
    Cicily Martinez: I understand but I don’t feel that I am someone elses left over
    Cicily Martinez: Im a human being not virgiinty
    Cicily Martinez: Im glad I live in america
    iraqinas: well i’m glad live in america too… TOO MUCH FREEDOM HERE LOL
    Cicily Martinez: bite me
    iraqinas: hhhhhhhhhhhhhhh
    Cicily Martinez: well if I was in Iraq they would have killed me
    Cicily Martinez: you think i deserve that
    iraqinas: why?
    Cicily Martinez: because I wasn’t a virgin and fore honor
    Cicily Martinez: remember in the middle east honor is very important
    iraqinas: well no u don’t deserve it but u know better and shouldn’t do that tho
    Cicily Martinez: what the neighbors think it of the utmost importance
    Cicily Martinez: its my freedom and no one elses business
    Cicily Martinez: who I fuckl
    iraqinas: well wait until u get married
    iraqinas: i love ur freedom…i’m really enjoying it LOL
    Cicily Martinez: well good for you
    Cicily Martinez: I can’t argue there
    Cicily Martinez: its my body I’ll fcuke who ever I want to
    iraqinas: great…. samething here LOL
    Cicily Martinez: honor killing is WRONG
    Cicily Martinez: its my body and no one elses business
    Cicily Martinez: what about womens freedoms a man can do it but not a woman
    Cicily Martinez: WHAT I DO IS NO ONES BUSINESS
    iraqinas: no man can not do it either
    Cicily Martinez: Its no ones business who you fuck
    iraqinas: if i get caught doing it i will die too
    Cicily Martinez: everyone should be free to fuck and not get killed
    Cicily Martinez: I’m not saying it
    iraqinas: go ahead and say it
    Cicily Martinez: s right but this is your choice
    Cicily Martinez: no one should impose their morals on you
    Cicily Martinez: or anyone else
    Cicily Martinez: and say what
    iraqinas: well i tell u what… i love ur freedom and i respect ur rights…that’s why i’m enjoying it big time LOL
    Cicily Martinez: well this is between you and god
    iraqinas: exactly
    Cicily Martinez: no one else
    Cicily Martinez: exactly
    Cicily Martinez: and when your dick falls off from disease you can blame no one but yourself
    iraqinas: jesus never told u go fuck around and never told u be a single mom and never told u take a drugs and drink as crazy
    iraqinas: i’m not saying u specificly but i’m talking about all the Americans
    Cicily Martinez: yeah but its my choice to believe in jesus or not
    Cicily Martinez: maybe Im not religious and I don’t believe in Jesus
    iraqinas: then god got nothing with what u doing
    Cicily Martinez: well than there u go
    iraqinas: and again i’m not talking about u… i’m talking as general
    Cicily Martinez: yes I know
    Cicily Martinez: no one should force someone to believe in their religion
    iraqinas: but one more time…i love ur freedom and i enjoy it. i love USA and i love all the people in this country and i hate middle east except Iraq cuz it’s my country
    Cicily Martinez: well you have to do what you have to do this is no one else
    Cicily Martinez: s business
    iraqinas: right
    Cicily Martinez: wrong or right it’s between you and god

  37. S.A. Cicily- I have a warped sense of humor so I laughed my a$$ at this one. The hypocrisy of it is enough to make you laugh, but the seriousness of it belies the actual truth: men can do what they will and act with impunity erstwhile women cannot.

    The whole honor thing is in my point of view very individual. No one can validate who you are and what you represent other than yourself.

    This story reminds me of a line from Mary Wollenstone Craft’s ” A Vindication of the Rights of Woman” (A great read Saleema if you haven’t had the change to check it out–you can find it electronically on Google Books) .

    “Manners and morals are so nearly allied that they have often been confounded, but though the former should only be the natural reflection of the latter yet when various causes have produced factitious and corrupt manners which are very early caught morality becomes an empty name. The personal reserve and sacred respect for cleanliness and delicacy in domestic life … are the graceful pillars of modesty… if the pure flame of patriotism have reached their bosoms, they should labour to improve the morals of their fellow citizens by teaching men not only to respect modesty in women, but to acquire it themselves as the only way to merit their esteem.”

  38. Few points i’d like to make.
    1) It could be argued that the woman is supposed to be taken care of by the govt. But the govt. didn’t uphold its duty.
    2) The man in question who delivered the bread was apparently breastfed by the 75 year old woman. How hard is that to prove? Ask the boys parents or relatives. In that case the man is like her son (surah nisa) islamically speaking.
    3) The judge who presided over the matter was not well versed in shariah law.
    4) Maybe the judge isn’t wrong and something is being withheld for the news article.
    5) This is why Islamic rulings are made in shura. ( Especially circumstantial ones like this)

    On a related note. I find it weird that people who believe in separation of church and state do not demonize france or turkey for banning the headscarf ( forget veil) from public institutions. If it is a matter of religion why does the state interfere. Or on the uk’s stance that wearing of the niqab hinders the teachers ability to teach ( i didn’t know she was teaching my face, or that participation points are only granted based on facial expression.)

    The core of the argument here seems to be around segregation of genders. Since most people here agree that being old makes it circumstantial the issue is decided as the ruling being wrong. But to go so far as to state that Shariah law in general isn’t effective i suggest such people to look into the crime rate of saudi as compared to other countries, the rape rate of saudi as compared to other countries and the number of single mothers in saudi (aka illegitimate children).

    Shariah law itself is very effective but sometimes people who give rulings based on shariah law are not well versed enough. More needs to be done to ensure proper execution of laws.

  39. I don’t mean to be disrespectful by any means and respect your opinion, but is it really the governments business whether a woman is married when she has a child? Don’t get me wrong I think men and women should be married before they have children, but why is this the governments business? And I agree that people should be able to practice their religion without the interference of government. I think that men and women should be able to wear religious garments, but of their own free will, not because the government or religious police tell them they have to.

  40. “It could be argued that the woman is supposed to be taken care of by the govt.”

    Umm AdbulAziz,

    It’s not the govt’s job to take care of the woman. It is the job of herself and her family as she sees fit.

    woah. Stop this Big Brother stuff.

  41. Umm AbdulAziz- I feel the hornets nest a-buzzing! lol

    #1- I’m not sure what Saudi’s welfare network is like so maybe some one can clue us all in on the government assistance programs of the Kingdom.

    #3- The judge is probably very well versed in Sharia, however his judgment rendered on this matter is far beyond reason and comprehension when the facts are considered.

    I’m going to breakdown the other issues you mentioned from my milieu of the western liberal tradition (individual freedom of thought, movement, speech, equality between sexes, and subject to rule of law (no one being above the law):

    I’m a political sciences nerd forgive me in advance! lol
    (1) On Separation of Church and State and Secular Government:Martin Luther nailed what became the death certificate of the eminent religious authority in Medieval Europe–The Catholic Chruch. At the time the Papacy was seen as a corrupt institution and one that exerted its influence over the rulers of Europe’s kingdoms which was the impetus for many power struggles. Thus a break from the Catholic Church occurred known as the ‘Protestant Reformation’ whereby faith in god was viewed as a personal relationship-and individual relationship.

    John Locke, who wrote Two Treatises of Government, came up with the theory of the ‘Social Contract’ which states, simply, that government does not have have any influence over a persons conscience–thus allowing for religious freedom, tolerance, and pluralism as we see in the United States. The sphere of religion (personal) and the sphere of government (the public state) were seen as two distinct entities that should not ever be combined because the result would be the non-existence of individual liberty. The secular government of Post-Revolutionary France is also of the same school of thought. Which brings me to your example on veiling.

    On Veiling : The example you bring to bear is one that is highly contentious and I hope to argue the French position as clearly as possible. The French have traditionally, since their Revolution in the 18th century upheld the tradition of the separation of state institutions from religious institutions. No child or university student for that matter is allowed to wear religiously defining paraphernalia in public schools and higher-education institutions–these schools are public institutions and therefore serve ALL people. The religion of an individual is a private matter and not a matter of the state. Therefore to wear religious clothing, jewelry, or headgear is seen as imposing one’s beliefs onto others. This is the bottom line in terms of managing civil society and promoting tolerance which is why the state interferes…because it must in order to maintain balance.

    If Muslims in France want to assimilate they have to recognize that their freedom to worship as they choose comes with some little sacrifice as well. Just because you cannot wear the hijab in class doesn’t make you less Muslim or less observant. It means you’re able to compromise. It means you wear it from home, take it off at school and put it in your locker, and then you wear it home. That is the essence of the social contract–these things are what we all must compromise with one another to maintain civil society as a whole otherwise we become fractious and unwilling to cooperate which degenerates to Hobbes’ “state of war”.

    On the Crime Rate: In Saudi there’s a lack of information transparency that makes it difficult to find data on crime rates (and the number of single mothers I don’t know enough to comment)–its a fundamentally weak assertion to say that Sharia isn’t effective vis a vis crime rates relative to other countries because we have no clue whats going on in KSA.

  42. @ Umm AbdulAziz Regarding The UK case i want remeber you that Uk is a western country and in western country we put a great deal on seeing the face of the person we are talking to . The children could be scared by a person wearing a niqab. If she wants to wear a niqab and teach she could go to a muslim country. When someone emigrates in any country she/he must try to assimilate and no to impose his/her ways to the host country

  43. Again in both france and uk freedom of choice is being undermined. The issue then is freedom of choice. France can argue religion is a private matter, but the government makes it a public matter when they decide who can practice what part of their religion where. This is not democracy, and it does nothing to help assimilate people.
    I live in a western country namely america. I wear the face veil. I consider myself fully assimilated. If you hear me talk you wouldn’t tell me apart from any other american. I have had airport security say things like its all in the eyes when they see a picture of me on the drivers license and then look at my face. There are teachers here who wear the veil. Their commitment to teaching and their success rate as a teacher is not diminished. The problem is the phobia of the parents. Children have a very broad capacity to understand people. This is shown by how they learn to accept disabled people or old people or people of different skin color and languages.
    Assimilation requires that a person interact with society not that she sits at home because society limits her interaction. Uk is not doing itself a favor in this case. Case and point, America. You find many many women who don the face veil, attend colleges and are employed and are able to function and interact with society with ease.

    On the probability of the judge being well versed in shariah, There is a fifty fifty chance, since you don’t know and i don’t know.

    On the matter of the old woman. Traditionally
    Saudi Arabia is a Theocracy not a democracy and as such laws are governed according to the religion. This is not news people. The govt. by default becomes responsible for the destitute woman if she is unable to care for herself. This is the islamic law.

    We cannot superimpose an american form of democratic understanding on saudi arabia. Just like i cannot impose it on russia, china, france or any part of europe. Different cultures require different laws. Look at iraq and afghanistan. Over eight years and the region still has to embrace the american form of democracy.

  44. In response to Cicily:
    Since Saudi Arabia is a theocracy, and of its laws there are laws that state the segregation of genders yes it does become an issue of the government. A woman can dress as she wants at home but in public the rule of law is she has to wear certain garments to hide her self. Again just like france and turkey have laws on what women can’t wear.

    As to Saleema: It does become the job of the government to provide. That is where the bait ul maal comes in. Now if there is one or isn’t one should then be an issue. If she has no male relatives and no means to buy the food herself then govt. Responsibility. ties back in to the theocracy argument

  45. “The govt. by default becomes responsible for the destitute woman if she is unable to care for herself. This is the islamic law”

    Umm AbdulAzziz,

    You are an apologist of the worst kind. If we take what you are saying to be true and right, then in the old woman’s case the kingdom of KSA failed the woman miserably and therefore the judges should be stripped of their shirts and flogged publicaly for failure to uphold their duties and responsibilities.


    Regarding face veil, it makes me uncomfortable as well, to be honest. But I’m not going to advocate that you shouldn’t be able to wear it if someone chooses to. My uncomforableness with it is my problem, not the problem of the veil-wearer.

    Conservative Americans think that assimilation means picking up a beer and dancing in a bikini at a beach party and eventually becoming Christian. No, thank you. Not everyone in America is Christian, not even when it was founded. You are just a country snob.

    Ashanti, are you advocating the French version of “democracy” over the one practiced in the US? I like ours in the US better–it allows me to be Muslim in anyway i want. France is an Islamophobe country and their decision is based on racism and ethnocetrism.

  46. “When someone emigrates in any country she/he must try to assimilate and no to impose his/her ways to the host country”

    Country girl,

    That’s what the Native Americans were trying to make the founding fathers understand: stop trying to impose your way on ours.

    Your ancestors didn’t listen. The Bible in one and the gun in the other, they nearly wiped out a people.

    Trust me, despite what Fox News may tell you, my parents have not such intention of doing that.

    You live your life and I wil live mine.


  47. Oh you are right about the laws of Saudi Arabia, its the law women have to veil! I just am glad that I don’t live there and have to veil! Im don’t mean this disrespectfully by any means, its just how I feel! If I go there than I must follow the law and veil! Thats it! The law is the law! I however find it sad that if a woman doesn’t want to veil she has no choice to leave the country! She’s stuck there!

  48. Ashanti:

    A correction:

    The West’s ‘Protestant Reformation’ whereby faith in god was viewed as a personal relationship-and individual relationship. is not correct.

    The relationship of the individual was unaffected as to its view, unless the individual was the reigning prince.

    Most individuals after the Protestant Reformation were still required to submit to a governmental religion established by the monarch.

    The theory of social contract is not fundamentally about individual religious conscience, but about the relationship between the governed and the governing.

    And your defense of the France government regarding laicite is regrettable. France picked a standard — dress — that would disproportionately affect non-Christians and then has held that standard to be “neutral”

    It is no such thing.

    France would never have agreed to a neutral standard that disproportionately affected Catholic Christians.

    Moreover, the issue of personal autonomy is neglected in the points that you make.

    One presumes that a philosophy that values personal autonomy allows one to dress as one chooses in a school.

    Certainly, french children do not all dress anything approaching uniformity.

    They wear a wide varieties of clothing, as they are permitted, with the sole exception of a head scarf if they are a girl.

    Umm AbdulAziz:

    I have heard these types of defenses of the injustice of the ulemaa my whole life, and my sisters and mother have suffered from them.

    And to your point “laws are governed according to the religion” I would simply assert that this is not true.

    Laws are governed according to the dictates of the ulemaa. The true faith of the Rasulullah is far from the rule of the ulemaa.

    One only need to live here and be honest with oneself to know that.

    And, I am tired of hearing of american democracy.

    No one advocates that.

    Advocacy of freedom of conscience and of personal dignity and a variety of basic human rights is NOT advocacy for american rule.

    Basic human rights were advocated by Islamic thinkers many centuries before the USA were established.

    Indeed, a variety of ancient Greek thinkers were debated and discussed during that period in Islamic nations, and yet, strangely, their teachings cannot be as freely discussed and debated today.

  49. You can have any type of government and laws that you want in Saudi Arabia, but at least a woman should have the choice to stay and follow those rules or leave if she wants to. Why can’t women leave Saudi Arabia without the consent of their husband or son? I would love to hear the answer to this question! Is there a reason that they don’t want women to leave the country?

  50. @Salema The majority of muslim immigrants want to integrate (the so called silent majority) but it’s the minority that get the spotlight. Here in Italy a couple of year ago a Pakistani girl was murdered only because she loved an Italian boy, in UK an young woman is treated because she decided to become Christian. When I mean integration i mean the right to chose wherever wearing veil or not, to allow girls to have swimming lesson along the boys and not demanding different hours, to be able to change religion without fears and so on. Many muslim want to integrate but sadly their voice isn’t heard against the fanatics when a Fatwa is issued for drawing a simple cartoon or when a girl is killed by his own father or when during a demostration (in Europe) you see card stating “death to the Jew” “Sharia will reign in UK” and so on.

  51. Wow, tons of responses. I will have to write my counter-arguments arguments tomorrow, I’m crazy tired. G’night ya’ll!

  52. “Why do men kill their daughters if they are raped? Why can’t women leave Saudi Arabia without the consent of their husbands or sons?”

    Answer: Male chuavanism and patriarcy, culture/certain ppl’s interpretation of religion.


    Why did that christian Australian man rape his daughter for 15 years and fathered 7 children with her? How could a society allow for incest and without having it gone unnoticed? Why weren’t the police notified when the daughter was accused of running away?

    You better have a good answer. Not only that, but you better have a good answer that is acceptable to me.

    You better answer this too: On CBS a couple of years ago, there was a show about Italian culture and how the men who live away from their mothers, save the laundry and put it in the car and drive over to their mother’s home in the village and have them do it. Why are Italian Catholics so chuavanistic that they make their mothers do their laundry? Why can’t the Italian women tell their men and sons to grow up and respect their mothers?

  53. Well I guess thats why I pray every day and thank God I was not born in the Middle East! I certainly don’t want to be killed by my religious asshole barbaric chuavanisitic husband because some barbaric chuavanisitic religious asshole rapes me. And as for not being able to leave the country, well that just shows me that there are some controll issues here. We talk a lot about how these laws are here to protect women, but the more I here it just seems like some of these laws are just a way to keep women submissive. You can’t controll someone when they can leave the country, or when they can mingle freely, or leave their house without their husband, or drive, or work together, I could go on but you get the point. Its all about controll!!! And men should grow up and do their own laundry. I think that a woman should get up every morning and beat the crap out of her husband! Men can cheat in the middle east but if a woman cheats on her husband they kill her, and yes I know that they sometimes kill the husband too, but we all know that in some places the man doesn’t get killed its just accepted. MEN ARE DOGS!!!

  54. Wow, okay.
    A woman can travel a certain distance alone i think its some 54 km or something. Beyond that she would need her father, son or anyone considered mahram. Why? Because thats what is stated. Do most women adhere to this… most probably no.
    As to honor killings there is no justification in the religion itself. Its 100 lashes i think to an unmarried adulterer and death to the married adulterer. male or female. But you need four witnesses and if even one recants then all four get lashed for lying and basically causing mental anguish to the woman.
    countrygirl: your definition of integration is not everyones idea of integration. Like i said i feel i am fully integrated even though i veil, etc…

  55. Well I guess if you like the system thats says ” 100 lashes I think to an unmarried adulterer and death to the married adulterer. male or female” than great. Personally I’m glad I live in a country where its none of the governments business what I do with my vagina! As for the tribal stuff, what can I say its wrong, and I am glad I can leave the country whenever I wish, without the consent of some stupid man! I think I know what is best when it comes to MY LIFE. I don’t need a man to tell me whats best, or when I can sh*t or eat. Can those witnesses be women or do they have to be men, and my other question is whats not to stop 4 male family members of going to court and accusing the brothers, or cousins wife of adultry-even though this is not true.

  56. There are four reasons given why women’s testimony is not valid in a Saudi court:

    1. Women are much more emotional than men and will, as a result of their emotions, distort their testimony. 2. Women do not participate in public life, so they will not be capable of understanding what they observe. 3. Women are dominated completely by men, who by the grace of God are deemed superior; therefore, women will give testimony according to what the last man told them. 4. Women are forgetful and their testimony cannot be considered reliable.

  57. Look people,

    I think it’s obvious, and if it’s not, get it through your heads, that Islam and the Muslims are as diverse in their opinions and practices as any other religion/culture.

    On the News, News isn’t any good if it’s positive. Mostly. We all know that. So Islam gets a bad rap by a few stories and it seems like it’s like that all the time everywhere all over the Muslim world—honor killings, etc.

    Umm AbdulAzis, living in the US, do you ask your male household members for permission to go out and how far do you travel without a male?

    Stop defending a system that you do not live in and I bet would not want to live in. That really annoys me about some Muslims. They will defend the KSA model of Islam while they are enjoying the freedoms of the western world. If it’s so good why not move there? But no, you are so happy to be assimilated. WHy don’t you think that the women in KSA deserve the same freedoms that you are enjoying in a western country?

  58. Unfortunately I do not have time to read every comment. I scanned some, though. I have seen that some people have been commenting, rejecting and theorizing based on no background knowledge be social, anthropological, traditional or even religious. PEOPLE please you know this but overgeneralization is always a drawback in any argument. I have said many times that my country Saudi has adopted many habits and social traditions and has stripped away some women rights of women in the name of religion. Religion, on the other hand, is another issue and if we want to evaluate religion we would not be looking at Saudi only since it just represents one and the most strict sector of Islam which is Hanbali. I know that some people would argue and say Wahabi ..ect but it i not our topic here. They are other three schools, and shi’a, and they vary from Hanbali not only in minor things but in fundamental islamic issues. I have seen some people attacking the MIDDLE EAST as if it were a small nondiverse city. Virginity and marriage is a topic that is way far from what we are arguing here. The bible does mention that sex must not be practiced unless in marriage. How many people nowadays are virgin in western countries…? I do not know…

    Now, is that verdict acceptable? It is not .. Should we just say that the middle east is against human rights and that people over there are just stupid and backward and can not hold an argument to support and get their fucking rights…? You answer..
    I do not know who said that women can not travel without mahram but I have met and seen many many saudi girls studying and living by themselves in the U.S.A. I have also traveled to and out of Saudi with many saudi girls having no fucking mahram…

    Come on people, now a question why would not someone talk about race issues here and there.. or pick on the topic of women changing their last names to their husbands in the U.S. I know it is stupid but why not .. is not it more important than ….. or can not be considered against women rights.

  59. I agree many of women rights and freedom of speech in Saudi Arabia are just lost somewhere in the empty quarter. BUT give me a break, be neutral and look at the issue from as many angles as you can.. I always the U.S as an example because it is considered one of the most of not the most modern or democratic society. There is not democracy whatsoever and go and search and read for the scientist chomsky books and you ll know that democracy is in the hand of a very few percentage of the elite and riches. By the way, chomsky is not just a random guy, he is the author of many best seller books, a faculty member at MIT and the most cited guy for 18 years and the most cited alive.

  60. Thanks Linguist for the last sanctimonious post of yours. You assume the posters here are not well read and are do not know who Chomsky is?

    Get off your high horse.

    I have read plenty of Chomsky and I diagree with him on many things. His word isn’t the Bible or the Quran. Not saying I disagree, I do agree with him on many issues but disagree on many as well. Why does Chomsky have anything to do with what is being discussed here?

    Democracy surely is a tool in the hand of a few. That’s why KSA and many Muslim countries would benefit if it adopted democratic principals.

    Why do so many Saudi girls have to study abroad? Education’s not good enough for the girls there? Education in general isn’t good? The rulers are too busy pumpinng oil?

    Every country has many things about it that can be further improved upon and things that should change. That includes the US. But what’s your point? Because of that we can’t criticize KSA?

  61. ooooooh go back and you would see the SOME hanging out. And another thing please go and write a book about saudi arabia and criticize as much as you can.

  62. @ Saleema ok here’s my answers:

    1) The Austrian case was a horrific one, the man is a beast (beast are better than this scum) , but this is only one case, sometimes it happens. Right now there’s the trial to understand why none did anything or knew anything. This girl wasn’t stoned. Incest is a crime and when it’s found found out the cukprit goes to jail.

    2) Italian men respect their mothers. They put them on a pedestal. The example you talked about isn’t bound to religion but to culture. Here in Italy there’s a lot of cultural difference betwenn north and south. In the south part i agree with you that it’s more chuavanisitic but guess there were a strong muslim influence arond 1000 AD.

  63. @Linguistic I agree with Saalema get out of your ivory tower, I don’t agree with his ideas, in my opinion is a far lefty author, you think is a great author, ok that’s you opinion but don’t try to impose his view on me. You say that democracy is in the hand of few (ok that’s your opinion) but what about KSA? HAve you ever spent a period of time in Saudi (living as a saudi)….but wait you could leave wherever you want

  64. ok … now bottom line: we are talking about KSA and about some issues over there mainly women rights. In anthropology there is this well know theory that talks about emics and etics. a researcher who is studying an issue emically is studying it as an experiencer. An observor would be looking at the issue etically. With all respect, if you come here and argue about such a hot issue in KSA based on your readings, you are looking at the issue partially. You are looking at it as an observor. So of course your arguments would have holes.

    Now I am a Saudi. And I have lived in KSA for years. I was not trying to stop you from criticizing KSA and I do believe in different perspectives. I was not trying to belittle your knowledge about that part of the world, either. I said and continue to say some human rights in KSA are taken for granted.
    what got me so upset is people who are talking about KSA as if it were a forest. Hope you understand…

  65. Guys, this thread has ventured way too far from the topic. If someone has a blog and wants to dissect some of these bigger themes into individual topics we can debate on another forum. I hate to see the discussion veer so far off track, but we all have so many things to say perhaps we should concentrate them elsewhere?…What do you think? Who wants to be the point person on this?

  66. yes i do ask my husband before going out of the house as do most american woman. Its called letting your spouse know. As to traveling abroad i do travel with a mahram. Even though i hold a drivers license i loathe driving. I discuss with my husband any major decision i want to make as does he. this mutuality is not exclusive to my family but to many many families here. I do prefer not talking to men of the opposite gender here. My husband deals with it if its a guy and i deal with it if its a woman. At college my interaction with both guy peers and professors was at best minimal to none. But if i am required i have no problem talking. You might think, WHOA how is this possible. i was born and raised in saudi. My upbringing was in riyadh, a very conservative city. My have no problems with my way of life. What i do have a problem with is people who live in a country whose laws are governed by shariah and still complain. I see these women here who work or are more interactive with society (in areas where they need not be) and they neglect their children. whats the point of having children then?
    If saudi was granting citizenship to foreigners i would LOVE to live there. I pray for it everyday. Its not an ideal that i have in my mind, i’ve lived there and loved the experience
    As to cicily, many women who mingle end up having children and with no support fall back on the government who end up using tax payer money to support them. If they are loose why do i have to pay for them indirectly?

    I still firmly believe that it is shariah law that needs to be honed and refined for the country to prosper. A shura needs to be established a a more firm basis of the law should be written out so that you won’t find cases like this old woman’s case. The govt. really needs to go back to the basics and think about the people instead of just filling their pockets.
    Maybe half the people who are arguing here need to study shariah law in depth to know what its about.
    To those people who argue about the quality of education in saudi, then i guess the quality is also lacking in china, the whole of south asia and pretty much the whole world. Everyone migrates to america to study.

  67. I think its pretty simple here. Its no ones business what a woman does with HER vagina. It is not the governements business if a man or woman cheats. It is not the governments business if men and women want to have sex and they are not married. The killing of people for honor, or whatever else should be illegal. Women should be able to leave the country without a mans consent. Women should be able to drive. They should be able to sit with men in a resturaunt even if they are not married or brother or sister. Women should be able to easily get custody of her children. Nine year old girls should not be getting married, their bodies are not mature enough to be able to handle childbirth ( I know I have had 3 kids and I am a grown woman and it was still very hard for me). Domestic violence should be illegal. It is not the governments business who we invite into our homes or what we do in our homes! don’t think I need to go on. I’m pretty sure that everyone will agree that these are basic human rights that everyone is entitled to.

  68. I agree tax payer money should not pay for women who have children and are not married, and the man who who helped make these children should be held accountable. I however don’t agree with the government having a say so about my vagina. This is my business whom I choose to have sex with. If the government can tell me who I can have sex with what else are they going to tell me I can or can’t do? How far will government go before I loose all my basic human rights? I stand firm that it is none of the governments business what I do with my body, none what so ever, or who I invite into my house which I payed for. This is about peoples rights. The government needs to mind its own business.

  69. Also this is not about a husband or wife telling each other where they are going, this is about the government telling a woman that she has to have the permission of a man to leave he country or travel a certain distance from her home. This is between the husband and wife not the government. It is none of the governments business what a man and woman do in their own homes or whether a man or woman tell each other when the leave the house.

  70. Its simple for you then cicily, Don’t live in saudi….
    As to people who already live there culture as well as religion dictate this and most don’t have a problem with it. note the word most. You will always find a few who do. And if you happen to be an expatriate living in the kingdom then adhere to the rules, its not like anyone forced them to go to work there.

  71. Umm AbdulAziz you stated that “i do ask my husband before going out of the house” does it mean that you nedd you hubby permission to go out? I have a question for you…i don’t know if you have a daughter but if she would chose NOt to wear veil, feeling the wind in her hair and face what would you do’

  72. yes i do ask my husband. Most times i ask him to take me instead of going on my own. does he ask me before going anywhere, yes. It’s something most families do. I don’t have a daughter, if i did have a daughter i would make her veil. Its her choice after marriage. If she finds veiling hard in this country, i would move to a country where its not as hard.
    would you object if say you had a daughter and she decided to go to a coed slumber party or say decided to go on a wild spring break or to smoke pot. Parents always always make decisions for their kids based on what they find in the childs best interest, and every parents choice differs.
    To cicily: note the word “most” in the earlier post.
    Either of you ever lived in saudi to hypothesize? because i really really do not know where you get the feeling that every woman in saudi is shackled to the wall unable to make any decisions or even breathe……

    okay seriously though, i would appreciate if my life isn’t dissected here. We’ve digressed too far from the old womans case.

  73. And once again I ask “If woman who was born in Saudi Arabia does not like the rules and wants to leave the country and her father-brothers-husband-cousins-won’t give her permision can she leave the country. What choice does she have if she doesn’t like the rules. Yes it is my business because I stand for the rights of the women who have no choice in the matter and are being held against their will, in a country they do not want to live in.

  74. What total garbage.What about women in your country who are abused, raped and beaten and not allowed to leave. What about all the undocumented cases that go by because women suffer this abuse. You want to advocate a cause for women start in your community. There will be women in EVERY PART OF THE WORLD that go through oppression. Do i know of every household in saudi to know how the women are treated. no. I don’t even know it for the city i live in america. Why don’t you care as much about the plight of women in rural india who are burned alive along side their dead husbands? on the same pyre. Or the women of africa who go through fgm.

    I too stand for the rights of women. I am against honor killings and forced marriages and child marriages. India has a higher rate of child marriages. Over there they marry their children off to pay off debts or to ward off evil. You’ll see it in the news all the time: child married to dog or cat or god know what…

  75. Oh I care about all of them believe me I do!!!! Even the ones here in America-India- where ever. Oh its not just your country. Trust me I could go on all day about the crap we have to deal with here in the States, this is a sore spot for me too!!!! And my family has left the country and moved to the Philippines because they are tired of our government. So you probably don’t even want to go there, because my pathetic government is a whole other issue!!! George Bush should be burned alive! Trust me its not just your country!!!

  76. Lol. Saudi is not my country. By heritage i am south asian, from india though never lived there. And “umm” in my name means mother. I gave birth so i am pretty sure i am a woman. LOL.

    The assumptions you make are funny

  77. And I would just like to say that I welcome criticism about the US too. The crap that goes on here needs to end to. Come on ever to my blog or catch me on MySpace and we can discuss this because I have a lot to say on this issue too!!!

  78. Oh well forgive me but Im not from that country and am willing to admit when I make a mistake. I think that the bottom line is that we can both agree that the stuff that our fellow women have to endure around the world is a bunch of crap. When I see my neighbor being chased by her husband with a knife or a woman being stoned to death it kills me inside. I think that this is something we can hopefully agree on. This is the issue peoples rights!!!

  79. Abid: “Sanaa- The judge is a product of his training on Islamic law. When Islamic law isn’t open for questioning, criticism, nor ammendment then it becomes easy to just accept what’s written and apply the law as it requires no analytical mental skills to reach a verdict.”
    Have you read any of the comments you douchebagged bitch? Women over 60 are exempted from these sexual laws (as a couple people have commented). Obviously you are the one not applying any analytical mental skills when bashing Islam.

    A douche bagged b****, huh? Dude, your vocabulary is remarkable (sarcasm intended)!

    Alright, I agree that in posting the comment I kinda messed up. I KNOW sexual laws don’t apply to women over 60, that’s what I was trying to post, but I guess I mistakenly deleted it.

    So let me spell it out for you… what I meant was that whenever such verdicts get media attention, people jump up and blame Shariah, when it should be the judge who should be blamed for not interpreting Shariah laws in its entirety. And I think, you confused ‘flak’ for the derogatory ‘eff’ word? Please, look it up in a dictionary and see what it means!

    I’m a Muslim; I don’t go bashing my own religion or anybody else’s, for that matter. And if you’re so keen on defending our religion from douche bagged b******, then you might want to watch your language, cuz it reflects on you!

  80. Saleema
    ‘ Why are Italian Catholics so chuavanistic that they make their mothers do their laundry? Why can’t the Italian women tell their men and sons to grow up and respect their mothers?’

    Interesting question. There’s very big ddifferences between the european societies regarding young people (of both sexes). In the north european countries (protestantic) young people normally move’s away from home when they are 19-20 years of age, and are starting their studies or vocational education. One of the main reasons is of course, that it’s economically possible, because of the existence of cheap housing, high earnings ,and economic support from the state when you study,.and it’s very easy to get part time jobs.
    But it’s also a tradition inherent in the old agrarian society. In most families young girl and boys was sent outside the household to earn money, so it’s sort of ‘natural’ to move away from home, when you are finished at school.(*)
    One of the reasons Italy is different is partly that it still have traditional catholic family values, but Italy is in many ways a gerontocratic society, where it’s difficult for young people to get well payed jobs (due to strong unions) and of course lack of housing.

    (*) It’s of course also one of the reasons some of the immigrant families ( and their children) find it very difficult to adapt to ex. the danish society. The differences in life perspectives are simply to big.

  81. I’m glad I live in the US and I can invite anyone I please into my home! This all just seems so rediculous! Arguing over sharia law when it shouldn’t be anyones business who the lady had in her house anyway. It’s her home she should be able to have anyone in her home that she wants. Its pretty bad when you can’t even relax in your own home without the religous police sticking their nose in. Who cares about the stupid judge this whole issue is stupid. I think this is a product of years of brainwashing, so that people actually belive this crap is normal!

  82. Have it your way if you want! This is fine if you love Sharia law, but don’t tell women they can’t leave the country if they don’t like the laws. Let them leave! What is the reason they can’t leave? “CONTROLL”

  83. Nothing amazes me anymore…..
    Bravo ‘Jeans’ for another great post. I am not going to comment…everyone else is doing so well without a future anthropologist getting in the way. :)


  84. San Antonio Cicily,

    “Its no ones business what a woman does with HER vagina. It is not the governements business if a man or woman cheats. It is not the governments business if men and women want…”

    Most non-Muslims to not get how intregal Islam is interwoven into the lives of Muslims…..every part of the life. No one will ever ever know unless they experience it for themselves. You are entitled to your opinion, obviously, but trying to understand the pov of others would go far in bridging the gap.


  85. San Antonio,

    Why do you continue to visit this blog if it makes you so riled up? Your comments are neither constructive, intelligent or helpful.

    Ok, ok..I am done here…..sigh

  86. I think my comments are constructive to the women who I know that want out and cannot leave. So you think that your government has the right to deny the women I personally know from leaving? What kind of asshole are you. Honey you won’t win this one with me! I never stop so give up!!!

  87. Tell your government to stop holding women hostage against their will! If you like the rules great, the women I know don’t! I could care less what you like my concern is for the women who want out! Why should they be forced to stay in a country they don’t like! You answer me that!!!

  88. LOL

    San Antonio Cicily get a grip of yourself. You have me laughing like crazy even thought we agree on the fundamental points of the injustice and how to about fixing it in this case.

    However, dear, you sound hysterical and sound awfully unintelligent. You contributed very well to the discussion but now it seems you have lost your mind.

    Please take a break and have some coffee. Go for a walk and then come back.

    not coming back to this discussion again. I know i said that last time but this time i really mean it.

  89. How come no one will answer this question? “What choice does a woman have if she does not like living in Saudi Arabia and wants to leave but cannot get permission from her husband – son -etc. Why can she not leave? Why will no one answer this? I WANT AN ANWER TO THIS QUESTION!!!

  90. LOL.
    She has to get a male relative either from her side of the family, her sons, her uncles, her grandfather, whoever it is to go down to the embassy of whatever country she wants to go to and let them file for a visa for her. Or she goes with them and does it herself. Depending on whether the embassy offers her a visa, she can buy the ticket online. Hire a cab to take her to the airport. Board the flight and fly out.

  91. Well see I’m right its all about controll and thats why people won’t answer my question, because they know I’m right! And the women know that it’s about controll and aren’t willing to admit it. If you can’t leave the country than you have no other choice but to accept things the way they are, whether you like it or not! Controll-take away interaction between the sexes,pass laws that say women can’t leave the country without a mans consent, tell women what to wear, tell women they can’t drive, take away religious freedom. You see if people are free to make their own decisions they can’t be controlled. My question is “what goes through the mind of a person who feels the need to controll someone else?” “Why do they have this need to controll other people?”

  92. What if the male relatives won’t allow her to leave? Than what choice does she have? What if she says I’m tired of the crap that goes on here I am leaving forever and her family say no you are not and won’t help her get a visa? Than what. You know full well that I am right!!!
    You are playing games and side stepping the question!

  93. Umm Abdulaziz, but none of that will happen without a male relative tekinge her to get her visa, and giving her permission to leave the country.
    Women cannot leave the country without permission of a man. Women are, in all intents and purposses, nothing but slaves in KSA.

  94. Practicing your religion is one thing-forcing others to practice it is another thing! Why do some people feel the need to force other people to follow their religion. Why do people feel the need to controll other people?

  95. My mom left the country without my dad who left about two years earlier. She could just take the cab down to the embassy.
    Not every country provides a visa, especially a permanent one.
    cicily really don’t you think you are doing exactly that, forcing your views on people. Okay we get it, you feel strongly. Why don’t you call the saudi embassy in america and demand answers? it might be more productive. Highlight your enslaved friends case, etc… and go about it that way instead of venting on someones blog.

    “there is no compulsion in islam” is being used out of context here. there is no compulsion to force islam on people who are not already muslim.

  96. Well my intent is not to bash Islam, like I said people should be free to practice whatever religion they choose. I just think that people should have a choice. As far as your mom being able to leave the country from what i understand (and I could be wrong) after a certain age you do not need a mans permission to get a visa. If this is true thats great. However this does nothing to help the rest of the women who have not reached that age!

  97. Women considering relocating to Saudi Arabia should be keenly aware that women and children residing in Saudi Arabia as members of a Saudi household (including adult women married to Saudi men, adult women who are the unmarried daughters of Saudi fathers, and boys under the age of 21 who are the sons of Saudi fathers) are considered household property and require the permission of the Saudi male head of their household to leave the country. Married women require the permission of their husband to depart the country, while unmarried women and children require the permission of their father or male guardian. Mothers may not be able to obtain permission for the departure of minor children without the father’s agreement. Entering Saudi Arabia on visitor visas normally do not need an exit permit but may be prevented from departing the country if they are involved in a legal dispute. If involved in labor disputes or employment dismissal will not be granted an exit permit prior to court resolution or abandonment of the case by the you. Saudi sponsors have substantial leverage in the negotiations and may block departure or bar future employment in the country.

  98. Actually San Antonio,

    If an American marries a Saudi (not very possible now a days due to stricter laws), she can leave KSA anytime she damn well wants to…let’s hope she has no kids in the mix. Then it is sol.


  99. Another thing I have gone on the web and researched this Saudi Blog and from what I understand one of his concerns are womens rights! So why should I leave? Why don’t you leave and find something else to do. I won’t give up! Never! Women have to have a mans permission to leave Saudi Arabia! My family has worked in Saudi Arabia and I have friends who reside in Saudi Arabia. You just keep sidestepping the question, like a politition who doesn’t want to tell the truth and admit something. So you tell half the story. A woman can leave, sure, with the PERMISSION of a man.

  100. San Antonio Cicily,

    The point that you make regarding the fact that the ulemaa imposes through governmental force rules that disproportionately harass women is meritorious.

    My mother and sisters have lived with this their whole life.

    However, the stridency of your tone, and doubtlessly the fact that you are an outsider is what has perhaps raised concern.

    We Saudis — like every other group — tolerate a degree of internal criticism that we would not willingly tolerate from outsiders.

    Moreover, there is in fact a form of hatred towards our religion that is most disturbing.

    That manifest hatred towards us causes a high level of suspicion to arise whenever we hear criticism of any aspect of our society.

    The point that you make is not novel to any of us; by virture of this being an English-language site, we all have seen and are aware of this issue.

    The tone you employ though is somewhat extreme. When you state, for example, that women in a Saudi household are “considered household property” is the use of the passive voice intentional?

    Many, many Saudi families are quite loving, and the husbands, fathers and brothers do not consider any family member to be “property.”

    So,considered by whom? Not by most Saudi families.

    One should not indict all of our society and its members because of our lamentable justice system.

    One does not, for example, indict all Americans because of misdeeds by any American or by the American government.

    In order to have a civilised discussion, we must all be specific and avoid personal accusations or attributions.

    There is an English-language saying about “more light, less heat.”

  101. Oh no I have plenty of friends from Iraq and Saudi Arabia as well as many family members married to men and women from the middle east. I have absolutely no problem at all with Islam or the Middle East. In fact I was taught as a child that we have no right to try and change your culture, like I said my father worked for many years in the middle east. The issue at hand is, the fact that if you do not like the system, and you are a woman, you cannot leave the country without a mans consent. I find this extremely troubling. I think that everyone has the right to live and believe what they want and that is why I find this issue so troubling. The mere fact that this law exists tells me that to some extent women have no choice in the matter but to except Islam and the laws in Saudi Arabia. My father has argued for years that, why should we try and change Saudi Arabia, they have no drug problems, unwed mothers etc. and I totally agree! However this is not the issue. I just feel that people should have the choice to leave if they do not like the system. As for reforms in your country, that’s up to you guys to change the laws if you don’t like them. Not the west. I disagree with some of the laws, but its not my problem. I just think that women should be allowed to leave the country if they want to. I strongly feel that this is a control issue and this is why they need a man’s permission to leave. I do think that this story of the 75 year old woman is ridiculous and the judge should be held accountable and maybe some reforms are needed, but that’s up to you guys. I do feel that women’s rights is a universal issue though and not confined to one country. I think that we all have an obligation to speak out about crimes against women. I would wager to say that most normal people can agree on certain issues such as how women are mistreated in Afghanistan even here in the US, where women are abused by men daily. This is every ones obligation as a human being, and we all need to be aware of whats going on. If i was being beaten or burned to death I would hope that there would be women in Saudi Arabia and else where in the world speaking out against this. Yes I am aware that most Saudi men are loving and do not consider their family members property. I did not write that statement. I simply posted to make a point that women do need a mans permission to leave the country. There are men in the US that mistreat women as well as men in SAK that mistreat women, this is a universal issue. However most men are loving and value their wives companionship as well as her contribution the the marriage and family. I am also aware of the lack of education among people all over the world. Many people in the middle east think that women in the US are all porn stars because of what they see on television as well as many ignorant Americans that think all men in the middle east are terrorists and wife beaters! It’s just a lack of education about different cultures. I don’t dislike middle eastern people or Islam, infact I find middle eastern men attractive just ask my Iraqi friend lol. I simply think that people should have a choice. I hope this clarifies my feelings. I am always willing and eager to learn more about the middle east.

  102. As shocking as this article is, sadly I was not very surprised by it as I have seen many other articles like it. Its great that Abdul-Rahman al Lahem has flown there to take the case, but how many stories like this go untold by the media each day across the country. Something needs to be done, laws need to be clarified, not open to an individual persons interpretation.

  103. I also think that the media is somewhat to blame and I find this disturbing. The only thing we hear and see on television and in the newspapers about the middle east is war and beheadings. I find this extremely troubling and for one am tired of it. The only purpose these stories serve is to further divide people and validate the misconceptions they already have. There doesn’t seem to be much good information about the middle east out there. I don’t know how to change that but I do know that we need more education. Maybe if people saw the good side of the middle east, kids playing at the park etc. this might help, but unfortuantely we too often don’t see this. So you see, I have another side, where I also feel an obligation to fight against misconceptions about the middle east. One just has to look at my blog to know that. I admit that I may not always be right, but I think that my heart is in the right place, and my intentions are good.

  104. San Antonio Cicily:

    As I noted, I do not believe it to be helpful to civilised discussion to make negative assumptions about the motives of others, so I do assume your heart is in the right place.

    However, just as those outside should not denigrate us, we should also not be apotheosised.

    Your statement “why should we try and change Saudi Arabia, they have no drug problems, unwed mothers etc. and I totally agree!” is inaccurate.

    We have a variety of social ills, including drug and alcohol abuse, and many others. Our society is, in fact, quite imperfect in many ways.

    The police, for example, have arrested various narcotics salesmen, as but one example.

    We should neither be viewed by the outside as obdurately evil nor as a paragon of virtue.

    We are a human society with a significant number of social ills, just as is the case with all other societies.

    It is true that because of our conservative mores, and our perceived affluence, we appear to outsiders to be rather shocking.

    However, we ought not to be viewed as either a terrible place for our residents, nor as a utopia, for our nation is neither.

  105. So what I’m wondering is if the people in your country would rather that the US mind their own business and let you people handle your own problems, as well as staying out of the middle east completely? I’m just curious that’s why I’m asking? And I guess what I meant is that you have the right to live however you please! It was not my intent to portray you as obdurately evil nor as a paragon of virtue. I guess my bottom line is that this is your country and your lifestyle. Who are we to judge. I guess it may have seemed to some like I am making judgements and I’m not. My bottom line and my concern is simply women’s rights. My point is that these are your laws ad this is your way of life, who are we to tell you to change it! I also realize that of course you have drugs on your country to but Im guessing,and this is just a guess, that it probably isn’t as big of an issue in SAK as it is here in th US. If I’m wrong I’m wrong.

  106. San Antonio Cicily:

    I will merely offer my own thoughts, since Saudis are far more diverse regarding attitudes than is sometimes perceived outside.

    “if the people in your country would rather that the US mind their own business and let you people handle your own problems, as well as staying out of the middle east completely?”

    What most Saudis want and expect is mutual respect and equality in our interactions.

    Most Saudis do not seek estrangement or disengagement with america or the West.

    Of course some of our problems must be dealt with exclusively by ourselves. Others, such as environmental issues necessarily require international solutions.

    But, if there were to be demonstrated and meaningful respect and equality in our dealings, then my belief is that most Saudis would be very pleased to interact with the West.

    It is the constant and ill-informed critiques that caricature us that are harmful. I do not say that we do not contribute to those stereotypes of ourselves — of course we do.

    We are neither as perfect as we would like to believe, nor as bad as our enemies would like to believe.

    We are just human beings.

  107. Why would a country, a nation, or even anyone would want to adopt Sharia when it does not distinguish between YOUNG and OLD?

    You would think that a law should be made to judge people based on age and fairness.
    I really can’t understand why the western world would even want to deal with a country that can’t even be fair, and logical to a woman who is 75.

    Why should western countries make people who can’t even think straight rich???

    This is unbelievable and SAD, I thought belief in God was suppose to make people more understanding, and loving..but it seems to be making people go crazy in Saudi Arabia.

    Lucky for her she got deported.

  108. Age does not dismiss Islamic law from one’s life. True, Islamic dress rules for a woman after menopause are relaxed but that does not open the door to behavior that is not acceptable at any age. Seclusion with unrelated men is still unacceptable for such a woman.

    The lack of clear information about this case makes it impossible to determine what the full story is that led to such a judgment and punishment.

    The young men could have delivered the bread without entering her home, Islamic law would have been observed, and the woman would have received the help she needed.

    Arab News reported the statement of a commission members as saying that police had arrested the woman on two previous occasions.

    According to Yahoo! News, the court based its verdict on “citizen information” and testimony from Al-Anzi’s father, her late husband’s brother, who accused her of “corruption.”

    The claim of the woman to a breastfeeding relationship with the young man could surely be proved by testimony of family members who knew of the breastfeeding.

    To assume this woman is innocent of any wrong doing simply because she is 75 is not reasonable. There are too many unknowns and plenty of 75 year olds in the world who have proven they can commit crimes just as well as a 25 year old can.

  109. I thank god everyday I was born in the US and I don’t have to deal with this crap. I’m free to invite anyone in to my home, come and go as I please, socialize with anybody I damn well please, I don’t have the government telling me I can’t drive or what I can do in my own home. I can leave the country without a mans permission. I don’t have to worry about honor killings, or insane laws that are meant to force women into submission so that they can be controlled. I can marry whom ever I want without the government interfering. I don’t have to cover myself (unless of course I want to, but this is my choice). I can find my own husband, and I don’t need anyones permission to marry him. Also what is not to stop someone or a family member of lying just to get someone in trouble? How do we know that her late husbands brother isn’t lying? It’s sad that people feel the need to control other people. I don’t think anyone can truly ever be free while living under these conditions and laws. I guess if you have never experienced true freedom and this is the only life you know then this must feel normal. You are brainwashed basically from the time you are born and you just accept it.

  110. i’m a student of the islamic law at the university of Al-Azhar, and i just wonder from weher the judges od saudi arabia bring there judgements and in witch basis it’s built? and what islamic law’s school do they follow. if you know plz tell me.

  111. I am curious to find out what blog system you are using?

    I’m having some minor security problems with my latest site and I would like to find something more secure. Do you have any recommendations?

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