Women, Diversity and Jails

A member of Shoura Council said that he would like to see a woman minister in the government. Khalil al-Khalil also said he would like to see women work “side by side” with men in the Shoura Council.

Al-Khalil was speaking during a discussion panel on diversity in the Saudi society which took place this Saturday at King Saud University, where he was supposed to be joined by his fellow Shoura member Abdullah Dahlan. The latter, however, was a no-show. The discussion panel was typical of events at KSU. It started 30 minutes late and the attendance was low. The speaker’s talk was too general and he admitted later that he shied away from tackling specifics to avoid controversy.

Al-Khalil said we should not be afraid of diversity because it is “not a Western invention,” and because even the most powerful governments cannot erase it. That’s why we should protect diversity by legislation, he added.

I agree with him when he says that the government needs to step up and take its responsibilities on this crucial matter, and I think that they have failed to do so in the past. He claims that the government has a clear policy when it comes to religious diversity that is based on justice but I really don’t know what clear policy he is talking about.

Al-Khalil, who heads the security committee at Shoura, ended his remarks by saying that if we want to promote diversity then we need to build more universities, not jails. Well, it is a very interesting thing to say considering that the government just announced last year they will spend SR1.7bn ($450mn) to build five new high-tech jails around the country. Not that he and his colleagues could have done anything about it but…

Discussion Panel on Diversity at KSU

What: Diversity in the Saudi Society
Who: Khalil al-Khalil and Abdullah Dahlan
When: Saturday, January 10, 2009. 10:30 AM
Where: Building No.7, Auditorium 7A
RSVP: Attending

In a conservative, conformist society like ours, diversity is not a popular term. Its opponents have always tried to make diversity look like a threat to national unity. That’s total bull, of course. Because our diversity only makes us stronger.

Hopefully this and other interesting ideas will be tackled in this discussion panel hosted by the Literary Club at KSU next Saturday. The speakers are Khalil al-Khalil and Abdullah Dahlan, both members of the dead Shoura Council. It is an open event and everyone is encouraged to come. The discussion panel will also be broadcast live to Khadija Bin Khuwailed auditorium in Olayisha campus for girls.