Archive for the ‘women’s rights’ Tag
This blog’s very first post concerned women’s rights in Saudi Arabia and we have since followed other developments in the desert kingdom, good, bad, and ugly. This one is good: King Abdullah has appointed a woman to the Saudi Council of Ministers for the first time. Noor Al-Fayez will serve as deputy minister for women’s education.
Saudi Arabia is one of the world’s few remaining absolute monarchies. The Council of Ministers is appointed by and responsible to the king and merely advises him on the formulation of general policy and assisted with managing the activities of the bureaucracy. The council consists of a prime minister, the first and second deputy prime ministers, 20 ministers (of whom the minister of defense also is the second deputy prime minister), two ministers of state, and a small number of advisers and heads of major, autonomous organizations.
Khaled Al-Maeena, editor-in-chief of Arab News, an English-language daily newspaper in Saudi Arabia, called many of the other appointments in what is the council’s biggest shake-up since Abdullah became king in 2005 very “progressive”, which is a very good thing.
King Abdullah appears to be, very slowly, moving the country in a more liberal direction, but considering how reactionary the place is it’s still just about the most conservative place on the planet. He is 84 years old and the Crown Prince is just two years younger. Succession to the Saudi Monarchy can be a messy process and it will be interesting to see how things shake out in the next two decades when the last of the sons of Ibn Saud, the nation’s modern founder, pass on.
A thirteen-year old Somali girl, Aisha Ibrahim Duhulow, who reported being ganged raped by three men, was stoned to death this past Monday. The public execution was ordered by Islamic militants who accused her of adultery; it was held in a stadium and attended by 1000 spectators. Amnesty International and Somali media, who initially said Duhulow was 23, provided information on the execution, which took place in the nation’s third largest city, Kismayo.
Somalia is probably the only country on our planet that can give North Korea a challenge in the “most screwed up country” competition. Since warlords overthrew the country’s dictator in 1991 it’s had virtually no government; it’s among both the most violent and poorest nations on Earth—a quarter of all Somali children die before the age of five. Recently, Islamic militants, with Al Aqeda support, have gained strength in their fight against what government there is there. The insurgency has killed thousands of people, gained control of Kismayo, where Aisha was killed.
The execution was carried out by about 50 men who killed another person, a young boy, during attempts by some witnesses to save her. She was buried up to her neck in the ground before the stoning began.
At one point during the stoning, Amnesty International has been told by numerous eyewitnesses that nurses were instructed to check whether Aisha Ibrahim Duhulow was still alive when buried in the ground. They removed her from the ground, declared that she was, and she was replaced in the hole where she had been buried for the stoning to continue.
According to Sheikh Hayakalah, the Sharia court judge, “the evidence came from her side and she officially confirmed her guilt, while she told us that she is happy with the punishment under Islamic law.” Yeah. I’ll bet. I’ll also bet that, on Judgment Day, Sheikh Hayakalah would do anything to be a Sunday prostitute rather than who he is, the man who condemned Aisha in the name of God.
Every soul shall have a taste of death: And only on the Day of Judgment shall you be paid your full recompense. Only he who is saved far from the Fire and admitted to the Garden will have attained the object (of Life): For the life of this world is but goods and chattels of deception. — Qur’an, 3:185
Good news: according to the Associated Press the Saudi ban on woman drivers may be eroding. Saudi Arabia is the only country in the world that bans all women from driving; those who cannot afford a Chauffeur must rely on male relatives to drive them to work, shopping, et cetera.
According to the article:
Supporters of ending the ban on female drivers point out that the prohibition exists neither in law nor in Islam. There is no written Saudi law banning women from driving, only fatwas, or edicts by senior clerics that are enforced by police. No major Islamic clerics outside the country call for such a ban.
Conservatives say women at the wheel create situations for sinful temptation. They argue that women drivers will be free to leave home alone, will unduly expose their eyes while driving and will interact with male strangers, such as traffic police and mechanics.
The article details some indications that the prohibition is losing support. It is typically enforced by the group with the most Orwellian name ever: the Committee for the Propagation of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice (a.k.a. religious police).