Prominent Saudis: Rania Al Baz


Rania Al Baz might be a prominent Saudi but is far from liked by Saudis. She used to work as a presenter on the Saudi national channel. In April 2004 she was seriously beaten up by her husband. After a photo of the aftermath was published in local media, sympathy came pouring in. Her hospital bill was taken care of by a member of the royal family. Her husband was duly punished and she was granted custody of her two sons. She also has a daughter from a previous marriage. There were people who raised doubts about why her husband got that angry in the first place. There were even rumors that she was on the phone flirting with another man when her husband came in. Lucky for Rania, the husband lost a lot of his credibility when he shot at his sister in Egypt and then kidnapped her in Lebanon for singing. This is a video of an interview that the couple did on an MBC program soon after the beating.

 Rania made a full recovery. She then was given jobs on Al Arabiya and then on the Lebanese channel Future TV. She lost some of her Saudi backing and fans when she decided to appear publicly without a headscarf. But generally she was on the right track up until her Oprah interview.  On that show Oprah interviewed women from all over the world, all of them positive representatives of their countries except for Rania. Everyone back here was justifiably offended. Why couldn’t they have chosen someone else; Mona Abu Sulieman, Dr. Salwa Al Hazza, Lubna Olayan, Dr. Maha Al-Mounif, Rusha Al Hoshan…etc. It’s like bringing in Natascha Kampusch to represent all Austrian women. Anyway if you want a complete rant on the topic, read this post.

If Rania had condemned the Oprah episode, then she could have gained back a little of what was lost. Even the journalist who arranged the interview was unhappy about how it was edited. Rania on the other hand issued a statement to local press that she was satisfied with the show and that Saudis should not be so sensitive. That coupled with a memoir, originally published in French, which portrayed her whole life in Saudi Arabia as one great big tragedy really pushed Saudis away. It seems as if she used her calamity as a ticket to victim-hood fame. If she had truly cared about the plight of Saudi domestic violence victims, she would have written her memoirs in Arabic rather then French. She could have done more interviews locally rather than joining the rest of the world in their Saudi bashing. Ideally, she could have taken advantage of the initial surge of Saudi support to start a hotline, association, or/and a center. Instead she chose to publicly take off her hijab and to be interviewed reportedly drinking and smoking. Rather than help other Saudi women in her position by raising awareness within the country, Rania willingly and purposely became the global poster-child for anti- Saudi Arabia and anti- Islam.


Filed under Prominent Saudis, Regional and International

29 responses to “Prominent Saudis: Rania Al Baz

  1. It’s a tough one. While I see and concur with your points I am also trying to see things from her point of view. Thankfully most of us will never go through the traumatic experience and suffer as she has suffered. It is hard to predict and therefore understand how that experience has affected her psychologically, physically and in many other ways. Perhaps she simply is not strong enough to face her experience and turn it around head on to assist and promote against domestic violence in Saudi Arabia?

  2. Why would she, and only she, offend Saudi sensibility, when her husband precipitated the whole incident by trying to kill her? He, not she, is the real impetus behind this traumatizing experience.

    Nevertheless, your point is well-taken; she could have done better for other victims within the Kingdom. She could have anticipated that her subsequent behavior would drive a larger wedge between Saudis and the rest of the world. Maybe her anger propelled her to “throw out the baby with the bathwater.”

    This video was made by, and as such, will be interpreted as a representation of genuine, mainstream Islam, rather than the perversion of a major world religion. I dare say- ironically- Arabs and Muslims will condemn this incident; others will hold it up to support their twisted understanding of Islam.

  3. I was thinking who is this lady because I couldn’t recognize her without a headscarf!!

    She made a fuss and true she lost some good friends and contacts!!

    • She made a “fuss”? She was brutally beaten! Why the heck are you blaming the woman for being brutally beaten by a man? This is why some societies are so screwed up. They cannot even see the problems right under their own noses. I’m a Muslim, and this was NOT OK. It does not matter what she did afterwards. I don’t care if she runs naked in the street. I do not care if she is a prostitute. It does not justify this MAN’S actions.

  4. kalimaat

    Rania actually did condemn the editing on Oprah’s show in an interview i watched recently. It was in Alhura channel. Her husband thought he could justify his actions by accusing her of having an affair. She could have handled things better though by staying in her country.

  5. saudiwoman

    The video was not made by nor translated by them. It’s an interview by the Gulf channel MBC and translated by MEMRI. Free Christian are the ones that still have it on Youtube because it is a few years old.

  6. Thank you, saudiwoman, for correcting me.

    The fact that the interview is a few years old reinforces my point. The Christians want this episode to continue to villify Islam.

  7. Umm Latifa

    Salam alaykum, Good point Iman. I agree with you completely, here. From A to Z.

  8. I think when she took off her hijab, some twisted people may have then sided with her husband and thought that maybe she did do something that deserved a beatdown. Nothing she did could have deserved that and even the husband said that he regretted getting so angry that he beat her, so now by removing her hijab it will cast doubts as to her character.

    I wonder why removing the hijab is usually the first thing scorned Muslim women do?

  9. One more thing, I didn’t like how that print interview claimed that her shahadah was forced. In her video interview she praised Allah for being able to utter the shahadah because she thought she was dying. As crazy as it sounds, he was reminding her to say the shahadah not forcing her.

  10. Kathy


    I am quite sure that if Christians (do you mean all of us, from Europe via China to Antarctic? ) want to vilify Islam they can find many newer events, say, a terrorist attack at Mumbai or a latest case of prostitution in Emirates. No need to pull out an old stuff.

    As for Rania. If I were her I might not want to fight against domestic violence in Saudi Arabia. She may think that fighting inside SA will take too much time with little results to show for all the efforts. On the other hands going abroad and make outsiders to pressure SA will work faster and get better results.

  11. hsn

    “going abroad and make outsiders to pressure SA will work faster and get better results”

    LOL, yeah while sipping on some vodka

  12. tulip

    “On the other hands going abroad and make outsiders to pressure SA will work faster and get better results.”

    I would disagree with this assessment. Change always comes from within and I think that after awhile outside meddling only starts to breed resentment no matter how well intentioned the meddlers may be. If people within a country itself don’t speak against something and seem rather complacent about their own affairs what reason would a government have to even begin to initiate changes? Because Americans or European governments aren’t happy? What business is it of these governments to begin with really?

    With regards to specific individual cases, for example the Qatif girl incident, I do think outside pressure can make a difference but with regards to long lasting changes in actual government policy I don’t think it makes much of a difference and actually proves to be detrimental in the long run.

    As for Rania and her hijab… maybe she never really wanted to wear it to begin with and it had nothing to do with her being a “scorned muslim woman” and everything to do with the fact that she was living in a country that didn’t really give her much of a choice in the matter to begin with.

  13. hsn

    “she was living in a country that didn’t really give her much of a choice in the matter to begin with”

    Really? she did have a successful career unlike other women in the country

  14. tulip

    “Really? she did have a successful career unlike other women in the country”

    How does that have anything to do with a headscarf?

  15. tulip

    And what does having a good job have to do with your personal clothing preferences?

  16. Kathy


    No, american or european government have nothing to do with it. I thought of people, not of the governments. I also thought that perhaps muslims in europe or america will take notice and push for change.

    And I agree that outside meddling breeds resentment. When your government is telling out newspapers that we have to be careful what we print or say it does breed resentment.
    You see, the resentment goes both ways.

  17. Catharine

    I wonder why removing the hijab is usually the first thing scorned Muslim women do?

    Because they realized that nothing–even being scorned–nothing–even accepting being scorned–would ever–ever–be enough?

  18. Eman,

    I am not supporting Rania, but I saw her pictures that time, I saw the husband interview and Opprah Interview.. I think she is depressed / she is lost.. She was trying to fix herself and she thought if she appear by this way presenting the untrue side of Saudi Women, she might get something from the Western society, like many examples of Women in the past, I remember that Somali Woman who reject the Islam to win a chair in the Denmark Parliament >>>>I guess!

    It is sad story really, I feel so sorry for her, to be beaten by husband and get lots of sympathy from the Saudis and then show the other extreme which in lots of Saudi mentality might think that her husband may was right for beaten her..

    Eman.. Time to have your own blog .. believe me!.

  19. maybe she was just tired of being told how to act and what to wear and who to listen to and how to go about it..

    maybe she just wanted to exercise her own will..

  20. Andrew

    I agree with ممارس صحي.

    Many are holding this unfortunate victim to an unrealistic standard, and not showing her compassion.

    When the statement is made “Rania made a full recovery.” I would challenge that assertion.

    The external wounds of her body may be healed, but who among us can speak to her wounded ego, to the terrible sense of vulnerability she must now feel.

    And to those who criticize Rania for her views on Islam, I would urge that the full set of teachings of the Rasulullah be remembered. The Quran speaks eloquently of compassion, and surely this woman deserves such ongoing compassion.

  21. sara

    je sais pas kesk je vais dire a propos de sa j ai le le roman de rania el baz “deffiguré” mais ché pas g pleuré et je pleuré tt le temps kon je relis ce roman je c pas s il a un coeur ou une pierre mais un aniam ne fais pas sa s il a besoin de manger et c DIEU ki voulé sa mais celui la si g t moi le juge je vous jure ke je voudrais le tuer avec mes mains kesk elle a fait pou k il f sa la jalousie k elle est mieux ke lui mai kont il a f ce geste la il ce met ds une situation pireeeeee un mot resume tt je ke je sens ” HASSBIYA LAH WANIAMA LWAKIL FIH” et j espre ke je puisse parle avec madame Rania el baz j espere de tt mon coeur

  22. Although I feel sorry for what Rania went through, she should have left religion out of it. Women, regardless of creed, are beaten up anywhere, even in “civilized” countries. Arab and Muslim countries are favorite targets by anti-Muslim groups in order to capitalize on the supposition that Islam oppresses women. I believe it’s something cultural, rather than religious.

    She’s lost. But then rather than do scandalous things, she should have tried instead to restore and maintain her dignity and integrity as a woman. If she intends to work for her fellow women’s rights in her country, then she would have stayed where she was. I believe that by doing her ranting outside the country, she would have made her country’s reputation worse, and especially when her audience are grossly misinformed about Islam and when people around her are using her to villify Islam and Muslims.

    • Laura

      “… But then rather than do scandalous things…” is removing the hijab, having an interview etc a scandal?

  23. I believe tha Rania maybe is suffering from post trumatic stress disorder!
    I don’t think removing her scarf is a big issue… I see people are writing about her removing the scarf and all that .. as if it was a big problem ..
    the major issue here is violence.. this guy first tried to kill his wife then again his sister..!

    yeah, I agree with ya
    Rania Al-Baz could have done more to the Saudi Society to Help women who are going thru violnce and abuse by their own husbands or fathers..! but she didn’t! SO WHAT!
    just because she is in famous and works as a tv host or whatever .. does not mean that she must save the world !
    yeah its sad that this abuse affected her in bad way .. smoking and ll that .. but maybe she need a medical help or something!
    removing her scarf and being anti-Islam .. and all that is due to her past experince!
    alot of Saudi women ar anti-Islam but they don’t speak out coz they are scared.. speciall those who are being abused in the name of religion.
    Ms. Eman
    tell me how many ladies in Saudi that are as successfull as Maha Muneef or Nada Olyan .. etc!
    those are few .. so when operah chose Rania Al Baz.. thats because alot of women are like Rania Al Baz

    Saudis shouldn’t be ashamed of Rania repersting Saudi women!
    com’on .. she is 2nd wife
    and she is being abused by her husband!
    U know that is sooo common here!

    P.S I don’t believe that being anti-Islam i a good thing, I just understands how her terrible experince with her ex has affected her in negativeway and I hope that she get over it and understands that what her husband did has nothing to do with Islam religion.

  24. Miriam

    Shame on all of you, who forget that Rania Al Baz is not a hero, not a warrior, she is just a woman, who can not recover fully from her stress and pain. Her face was broken in 13 places. She must have pain until now and must take painkilling medicine. I blame her husband fully for this. Such an idiot…

  25. Alex

    “reportedly drinking and smoking” and who are you to tell her what to do in her life? She did well for speaking about her beating and the domestic violence in Saudi Arabia…this is called raising awareness for other women. It would be convenient for you and other Saudis, Rania to shut her mouth, but thank god she was brave enough to stand up against her husband and Saudis.

  26. Saad

    Do any of the prominent women on this page wear hijab? Because to me it looks like all of them don’t wear any hijab or wear a hijab that shows a lot of their hair. What are you trying to propagate here? If you don’t cover your face you still have to cover everything else except your hands. It makes me cringe when I hear some of these so called prominent Saudi women make rulings and interpretations of Islamic text. Let me tell you another don’t try to say princess noura bint abdurahman would dress a certain way either. Most of the women on this page represent themselves not the majority of Saudi women.

  27. Naveed ulhaq

    Reading these comments,it seems that saudi women are living in prison. Wallah aalam

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