A top Saudi cleric has scolded women who visit male doctors without being accompanied by a male guardian, claiming that it is prohibited by Islam, Al-Hayat daily reported Thursday.
His remarks follow the death of a university student last week after paramedics were denied access to her campus because they were not accompanied by a male guardian, or close relative, a must according to the strict segregation rules in the Muslim kingdom.
“Women are becoming negligent in consulting doctors without a mahram (male guardian), and this is prohibited,” Al-Hayat quoted Sheikh Qays al-Mubarak, a member of the Council of Senior Ulema (Muslim scholars), as saying.
A medical check-up could include “a woman showing parts of her body to a doctor. This is not permissible… unless urgent,” he said.
Women “must seek help from a male doctor only when a female medic is not available. When this happens, they must not be alone and the doctor must only look at the pain” part of the body, he said.
The Council of Senior Ulema is the highest religious authority in the ultra-conservative kingdom.
Saudi Arabia’s feared religious police entered a public park in the Gulf Kingdom and told women to stop using swings, an act that drew applause and criticism by viewers of a picture showing the men warning some women at the swings.
The picture went viral on social networks in Saudi Arabia before it was published by newspapers showing two men from the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice warning women against using the swings.
“Some viewers of the picture supported the move by the Commission members on the grounds women using the swing could encourage men to harass or molest them,” the Saudi Arabic language daily ‘ Al Sada’ said.
Saudi men believe women are to blame for the rising cases involving molestation of females on the grounds they are seduced by women’s excessive make up.
The findings were included in a survey conducted by the Riyadh-based King Abdul Aziz Centre for National Dialogue and involved 992 males and females.
The survey, carried by Saudi newspapers, found that 86.5 per cent of the men polled believe that women’s exaggeration in wearing make-up is the main cause of the rise in molestation cases in public places in the conservative Gulf Kingdom.
The males of the Arabic tribal honor/shame culture blame the females for their own lack of restraint and responsibility as well as their sexual immaturity. These men also learn from the Koran and the examples of Mohammed’s life that all problems involving sex are the fault of the women. Or in other words, “she was asking for it.”
Egypt is the worst country for women in the Arab world, closely followed by Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Syria and Yemen, according to gender experts surveyed in a Thomson Reuters Foundation poll released on Tuesday.
Comoros, Oman, Kuwait, Jordan and Qatar came top of the survey, which assessed 22 Arab states on violence against women, reproductive rights, treatment of women within the family, their integration into society and attitudes towards a woman’s role in politics and the economy.
The results were drawn from answers from 336 gender experts invited to participate in an online survey by the foundation, the philanthropic arm of the news and information company Thomson Reuters, in August and September.
Questions were based on key provisions of the U.N. Convention to Eliminate All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), which 19 Arab states have signed or ratified.
The poll assessed violence against women, reproductive rights, treatment of women within the family, their integration into society and attitudes towards a woman’s role in politics and the economy.
Experts were asked to respond to statements and rate the importance of factors affecting women’s rights across the six categories. Their responses were converted into scores, which were averaged to create a ranking.
A Saudi Islamic preacher accused of torturing his five-year-old daughter to death has been sentenced to just eight years in jail and 600 lashes.
Lama al-Ghamdi died in October 2012 having suffered multiple injuries. Her skull was crushed, a finger nail had been pulled off, her ribs and arm broken and she suffered extensive bruising and burns.
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Randa al-Kaleeb, a social worker from the hospital where Lama was admitted, said the girl’s back was broken and that she had been repeatedly raped. Her injuries were then burned.
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The case sent shockwaves around the world earlier this year and there was further outrage when it appeared that her father, Fayhan al-Ghamdi, would be released by a Saudi court after just a few months in prison.
A campaign began to force the court, in the town of Hawta, to stiffen the sentence. The same court and judge july re-examined the case, but there is anger once more that the punishment for Al-Ghamdi, a prominent Islamist preacher who regularly appears on television in Saudi Arabia, is too lenient.
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Rather than the death penalty or a long prison sentence, the judge in the case ruled the prosecution could only seek ‘blood money’, according to activists. The money is compensation for the next of kin under Islamic law.
Activists said the judge ruled the few months al-Ghamdi spent in prison since his arrest in November 2012 was sufficient punishment.
He has reportedly agreed to pay £31,000 ($50,000), which is believed to have gone to Lama’s mother. The amount is half that would have been paid if Lama had been a boy.
Saudi sheikh has warned women that driving could affect their ovaries and pelvises.
Women are currently banned from driving in Saudi Arabia and many have protested against the statute.
However, Sheikh Salah al-Luhaydan has warned them that their health could be at risk if they get behind the wheel.
He told Saudi news website sabq.org: ‘[Driving] could have a reverse physiological impact. ‘Physiological science and functional medicine studied this side [and found] that it automatically affects ovaries and rolls up the pelvis.
‘This is why we find for women who continuously drive cars their children are born with clinical disorders of varying degrees.’
The comments come two years after a ‘scientific’ report claimed that relaxing the ban would also see more Saudis – both men and women – turn to homosexuality and pornography.
The startling conclusions were drawn in 2011 at the Majlis al-Ifta’ al-A’ala, Saudi Arabia’s highest religious council, working in conjunction with Kamal Subhi, a former professor at the King Fahd University.
There isn’t a single public movie theater within the borders of Saudi Arabia. Saudis do watch movies at home, but the woman who wrote and directed the first movie ever filmed entirely in the Muslim kingdom isn’t even allowed to visit a video rental shop.
“I grew up watching a lot of film,” Haifaa al-Mansour told The Washington Times during a visit to the District this month to promote that breakthrough film, “Wadjda,” which opens in the Washington area and across the U.S. on Friday. With 12 children, she recalls, “our parents would bring us films to calm us down.”
But once Ms. al-Mansour, about age 12, began wearing the abaya — the black cloak required of women in the theocratic, male-dominated society — she no longer could choose films without assistance.
“Wadjda,” a tale of female empowerment, premiered at the Venice Film Festival last year and won three awards. Ms. al-Mansour was invited back to Venice for this year’s festival as head of the first-film contest jury.
It centers on the girl of the title, herself about 12, who tries various schemes in the hopes of earning enough money to buy a bicycle to race one of the local boys. Her mother and teachers, however, insist that riding a bike in public would jeopardize a girl’s future.
Mobility and transportation are among the many ways Saudi society restricts women’s rights. Until earlier this year, in the wake of the success of “Wadjda,” women could not ride a bicycle legally and risked arrest by religious police. The kingdom also famously forbids women from driving automobiles.
Because the protagonist in “Wadjda” is a pre-pubescent girl, she technically isn’t banned from riding a bike, but her mother doesn’t see things only through that lens. According to Saudi news outlets this spring, grown women now can ride bicycles, too, but only in recreational areas and only if in compliance with other laws that require women to be heavily covered and accompanied by male relatives.
These kinds of Saudi laws and customs about the mixing of the sexes — for example, almost all education is single-sex; most homes have separate male and female entrances; and beaches and amusement parks often have different hours for men and for women — affected “Wadjda” behind the screen, too.
One of my favorite Iranian movies, Marizieh Meskini’s The Day I Became a Woman, has as one of its stories, a Persian woman on a bicycle racing to her freedom. All Muslim women need a set of wheels. And the freedom to ride where they want.
The writer is sadly mistaken if he thinks that this case will change sharia law!
Only time will tell, but a 5-year-old Saudi girl may eventually prove to have wielded more influence over her people during her short, tragic life than did the country’s conservative religious leaders touting twisted “virtues” of Islam satisfying their own perversions.
In Saudi Arabia last year, 5-year-old Lama al-Ghamdil was killed by her father — Islamic religious leader and popular TV personality Imam Fayhan al-Ghamdi — after he became incensed she had lost her virginity. Even more shocking, however, is the person to whom her virginity was lost and the initial punishment he was given.
Most societies seek to protect the one asset perpetuating their future existence: children. Where child protection laws have been passed but ignored society expects responsible citizens to report an adult’s abusive treatment and that the justice system will then ensure children are protected from an abuser.
Ghamdi confessed to torturing and killing his daughter. The girl’s body showed evidence of a fractured skull, brain damage, repeated rapes, burns, beatings with whips and an iron, electrical shocks, a broken back, ribs and arm. Reportedly, he also had sadistically sought to burn Lama’s rectum closed.
For 10 months, Lama lingered in the hospital before succumbing in October 2012 to her massive injuries. One cannot imagine the thoughts going through this defenseless child’s mind as she tried to understand the pain and suffering she was forced to endure at the hands of her own father. Ghamdi was arrested and jailed in November.
The abuse inflicted upon Lama was justified by the father as she no longer was a virgin. That would have been sad enough but evidence suggests the father was the rapist.
Obviously, any parent should be outraged by such sadistic brutality. While too late to help Lama, one would hope Saudi’s justice system would put the father away so his two other children avoided similar abuse.
But a Saudi judge ruled Ghamdi need only pay his ex-wife $50,000 in “blood money” for having abused and killed their daughter (had the child been male the fine would be double), stating the few months he had already spent in prison was sufficient punishment!
The ruling was based on Islamic or “Sharia” law prohibiting a father from being executed for killing his child (or wife) if compensation is paid.
Authorities in Saudi Arabia are in the midst of a new crackdown on female drivers after several women in the conservative Gulf kingdom were caught behind the wheel.
Traffic officials in the Eastern Province city of Al-Qatif said that any females caught driving would be dealt with firmly on the back of three arrests in recent months, Saudi Gazette reported. Sunni Muslim Saudi prohibits women from driving, instead making them rely on private drivers or male guardians.
A spokesman told the newspaper that any woman caught driving would be fined SR900 ($240) and made to sign a legal document that assures authorities they will not do it again.
A 30-year-old Saudi woman tried to commit a suicide by jumping from a high bridge in the Gulf Kingdom after she was forced by her father to marry an old man.
Police said they managed to catch the woman just moments before jumping down from King Fahd Bridge in the eastern port of Dammam.
“The woman told police she wanted to commit a suicide because she does not want to live any more after her father forced her to marry a much older man,” Al Saudeh Arabic language daily said without specifying the husband’s age.
The older man marrying a younger female (as young as six years old) is permitted in Islam because it is what Mohammed did. In his early 50’s, he married Aisha who was six and consummated the marriage when she had her menses at nine years old. In Islam, Allah said Mohammed is the perfect pattern for a man to follow andeverything Mohammed said or did is permitted.
The accompanying picture is of a Saudi men celebrating at a wedding party. The wedding party is segregated.