“My face is not shameful; I have every right to walk in the street without covering my face and not be cursed or harassed by people,” posted a 20-year-old Yemeni girl on her Facebook page. Her comment drew mixed reactions, reflecting Yemenis’ polarized positions regarding women’s rights.
“You are right and we all stand by you,” posted Yusif Saleh, adding “Who said women’s faces are shameful?
But another responder, Mohammed Ali, felt very differently. “You can’t under any circumstances call into question our Islamic teachings and you just have to take them as they are,” he wrote.
Muslim scholars do not agree on whether showing a woman’s face is permitted under Islam. Egyptian scholars unequivocally say yes, while those in Saudi Arabia and Yemen say no.
But the issue goes far beyond whether women can show their face. Women in Yemen, who account for just over half of the country’s population, complain of inequality, discrimination and denial of their basic rights. They say they are widely regarded as secondary to men and that unfair tribal and traditional restrictions are imposed on them.
“Women’s rights are ignored and violated in our community,” math teacher Asma Al-Wesabi, 30, told The Media Line. “Before marriage, the father and brothers act as guardians for the woman and when she marries, she gets a new guardian, her husband.”
Covered in black from head to toe including a veil over her face, she said: “Most of us have no say in important matters that concern us, like choosing our husbands, because it’s up to our guardians —either fathers or elder brothers — to decide for us. And we have to accept what they say, even if we disagree with them.”
Read the rest: Women in Yemen Yearn for Freedom.
This is the result of closely following the doctrine of Islam. Will these women ever obtain basic human rights? They haven’t been able to so in 1,400 years due to the doctrine which is considered by Muslims as eternal, unchanging and immutable. So why would it change now? The more religious the Islamic country, the fewer rights women have.