Posts Tagged “wahhabism”

In this Saturday, March 29, 2014 file photo, Aziza Yousef drives a car on a highway in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, as part of a campaign to defy Saudi Arabia's ban on women driving. Saudi Arabia says it will allow women to drive for the first time in the ultra-conservative kingdom. The kingdom, which announced the change on Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2017, was the only the country in the world to bar women from driving and for years had garnered negative publicity internationally for detaining women who defied the ban. (AP Photo/Hasan Jamali, File)I’ve blogged many times about Saudi Arabia’s obvious misogyny. Among the ways Saudis repress their women is by making it illegal for them to drive. The Kingdom is the only country on earth that has such a restriction.

It’s a ridiculous restriction that Saudi clerics claim is required by Islam, but no other Islamic country has anything like it, which suggests this probably isn’t the case. They say it’s about “respect” for women (?). One of those clerics, a rather high-ranking one, even claimed that driving was physically harmful for women. That, of course, is a fucking lie … but he said it, and I’ll bet a lot of Saudis believe it.

Well, times are changing, even in the incredibly-reactionary Kingdom. As the Associated Press reports via Religion News Service, the Saudi prohibition on women driving, will soon be lifted (Archive.Is cached article):

Saudi Arabia’s surprise decision to grant women the right to drive in the conservative kingdom marks a significant expansion in women’s rights, but activists said Wednesday it is also only the first step in a long list of demands for equality.

Saudi Arabia was the only country in the world to ban women from driving, and nearly three decades ago women first began agitating for the right to drive, at times facing arrest for their protests and for getting behind the wheel.

The lifting of the ban, which comes into effect next summer, is the most dramatic step yet in a campaign by the king’s son, 32-year-old Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, to modernize the kingdom. The young royal has been promoting change as needed to boost the country’s economy and ease international criticism, but he risks a backlash from powerful clerics from the ultraconservative Wahhabi interpretation of Islam.

It’s all well and good, I guess, that the monarchy is behind this rule-change, but it’s far from immediate, and it’s sure to be resisted, as the article mentions:

Almost immediately after the news broke, an Arabic hashtag on Twitter was trending that said: “The women of my house won’t drive.”

I can only hope things will continue improving for Saudi women.

Photo credit: AP Photo/Hasan Jamali.

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The war on women being waged by Saudi Arabia’s Wahhabist clerical institutions continues briskly. This is not news, of course; I’ve blogged on it before.

This war has continued in spite of some “reforms” by the Saudi monarchy meant to rein in the furious reactionary tendencies of Wahhabists. (For what it’s worth, those “reforms” haven’t worked, precisely because they are not truly “reforms” … they’re just window-dressing and gesturing, intended to placate westerners.)

The AP (via Yahoo News) reports on the latest salvo:

A Saudi judge told a conference on domestic violence that a man has the right to slap a wife who spends money wastefully and said women were as much to blame as men for increased spousal abuse, a Saudi newspaper reported.

The remarks do not carry the weight of law, as they were made out of court. But such public pronouncements by Saudi judges — who are also Islamic clerics — are often widely respected. …

The comments at a recent conference were given as part of an explanation for an increase in domestic violence in the country. The judge said women were equally responsible for the increase, the newspaper quoted him as saying.

Naturally, the article included as a caveat, the usual objections that Islam actually respects women and that mistreatment of women is prohibited:

Sohaila Zenelabideen Hammad, spokeswoman of the Saudi National Center for Human Rights, told the Associated Press on Monday that the judge’s remarks are reason for concern for being “too extreme.”

“It is not acceptable, it is even forbidden in Islam to beat a woman on her face. … No matter what the woman does, the man has no right whatsoever and under any circumstances to beat his wife on the face,” said Hammad, who was not at the conference.

Normally this is where such articles end. But this one did not. It continued to quote Hammad:

“Regrettably, there is a common understanding in the Arab and Islamic world that man is the master who looks down on the woman and has the right to do whatever he wants to her. This is wrong,” Hammad said.

There it is, folks. A tacit admission that many Muslim cultures do not actually live up to the precepts of Islam. In any event, it is ludicrous to say that the Wahhabist clerics who rule Saudi Arabia — alongside its monarchy — “respects” women by, among other things, forbidding them to drive, to go out without their husband’s or father’s permission, etc. That isn’t “respect.” It’s gender-based enslavement. Pure and simple.

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I’ve blogged before about Saudi Wahhabist clerics’ inability and unwillingness to face modernity or to accept the existence of women. Their immaturity and misogyny reached a new high recently when they demanded that women be removed from Saudi Arabia’s broadcast media, as Agence France-Presse reports:

Hardline Saudi clerics have called on the government to ban women from appearing on television and to prohibit their images in print media, which they called a sign of growing “deviant thought.” …

“There should be no Saudi woman on television, in any case,” they said.

“There is no doubt that this is religiously impermissible.”

Now, I understand Muslims find their religious principles from the Qur’an and the Hadith, but to my knowledge, they were written centuries ago … so I have no idea how they address radio and television … but these guys can apparently justify their position anyway:

The clerics, including justice officials and academics from a conservative Islamic university, cited several cabinet-endorsed orders and policies from years past which they said supported their argument.

So that’s how they did it; they elevated “several cabinet-endorsed orders and policies from years past” to the level of the Qur’an and the Hadith. That makes sense, I guess … to them, if no one else.

Perhaps they’d all be better off if they just grew up and accepted that about half the human population is made up of women and concede — finally! — that they exist.

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The peevishness and immaturity of Saudi Arabia’s hard-line clergy continues unabated. Their latest juvenile stunt has been to detain two men for — curses! — trying to get the autograph of a female author, as CNN reports:

Saudi Arabia’s religious police detained two male novelists for questioning last week after they attempted to get the autograph of a female writer at a book fair in Riyadh, according to local media reports.

According to the Saudi daily newspaper Al-Watan, Abdu Khal and Abdullah Thabet approached female writer Halima Muzfar when they were stopped by police.

Memo to Arabia’s religious police: It’s the 21st century. The genders can and do mingle, all over the world, and nearly all the time, no one is harmed by it. Grow the hell up and get over yourselves already. OK?

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