Why do we stay the way we are?

How we have come to be the society we are today is one thing and why change is slow in coming is another. Outsiders looking in think to themselves why do Saudi women put up with all this oppression. The guardianship system, the ban on driving and all our other societal peculiarities draw looks of pity, shock and for some a fixation. Why don’t we all just go out into the streets without abayas? Why don’t we just get behind a wheel and drive? Why don’t we run away? The short answer is we don’t want to. But that isn’t helpful. To bring it closer to non-Muslims and especially Christians, I would ask them to look into their own backyard at the polygamous offshoots of the Latter Day Saints, whether it’s a compound or a small town on the borders of Utah. Why don’t the women there run away, stand up for their rights or at the very least speak up? The vast majority of them believe in their lifestyle even though the country’s legal system does not support it and would back a woman who wants to get away. It isn’t much of a stretch from those dresses and bonnets to abayas, especially when considering that Saudi women don’t do much manual work and only wear the abaya in the presence of unrelated men.  I personally think that being a “sister wife” in a plural marriage is a lot worse than how polygamy is practiced in Saudi because here wives are separate and no pretensions of love or saintliness are expected.

Mormon women in the USA do not stand up to their oppressors because they belong. They are part of a community that loves and cherishes them. If they were to leave they would have to face the harsh responsibilities and realities of life alone and detached. It is not cowardice. It’s about finding your place in the world and contributing by fixing it from within.

So before you judge us, relate to us. This is what we are born into and we would feel lost without our community’s approval and backing. And just like every individual in this world, Saudi women are just trying to find their way.

58 Comments

Filed under Culture, Gender Apartheid, Informative

58 responses to “Why do we stay the way we are?

  1. OnigiriFB

    You may want to think again about drawing conclusion that Muslim women and Fundamentalist Mormon women are similar as it’s not quite as simple as you put it. I’m Mormon, abet a lapsed one, of the mainstream variety and can tell you tales that are very heartbreaking about FLDS women. BTW, mainstream mormons are usually quite offended to be linked or thought of as flds as the LDS church banned polygamy more than a 100 years ago.

    There are a lot of similarities between FLDS and Muslim woman of Saudi Arabia but it’s not as much as you seem to be hinting at or all good. FLDS woman do live on a compound and are actually kept very ignorant (especially of life outside the compound) and very brainwashed into believing that their salvation is at stake should they leave the compound/husbands. Many have left and many are dragged back or worse. The difference is when an FLDS woman leaves she comes to realize that she has rights universally accepted in Western countries. Not only does she have rights but she also has help from the government for living cost, childcare cost, education cost, etc. The reality is most FLDS woman have an education level of an 8th grader. There’s not many places a woman with an 8th grade education is going to be able to support herself on. Of course, this means that the FLDS woman also has to overcome the religious brainwashing she has received since birth and the fear instilled again since birth of a wicked world outside the compound. It’s very difficult to overcome being taught that you are subservient to men, rely on them to go to heaven, you should marry young and have a lot of children at an early age, that the only way to the highest level of heaven is through polygamy and so on.

    I could probably go on but I’ll stop here and ask again do you really want to say you are similar to them? That you are brainwashed from an early age and never given a chance? That you are not even aware that women in the world have rights you’ve never even known of? That should you decide to leave Saudi Arabia you would be hunted down as if you were an animal and dragged back to a place you escaped? Maybe…. not?

    • “do you really want to say you are similar to them? That you are brainwashed from an early age and never given a chance? That you are not even aware that women in the world have rights you’ve never even known of? That should you decide to leave Saudi Arabia you would be hunted down as if you were an animal and dragged back to a place you escaped? ”
      That is exactly what I wanted to say. That exactly describes what life is like especially for women in conservative muttawa families.

  2. Michelle

    “So before you judge us, relate to us. This is what we are born into and we would feel lost without our community’s approval and backing. And just like every individual in this world, Saudi women are just trying to find their way.”

    I love this last paragraph–excellent point.

  3. Elise

    I want to post on this one because it is in my neck of the woods. I am LDS and know first hand the horrors of the ‘extremist’ LDS who have offshooted into the Jeff’s group. Yes, women have a sense of community but that is NOT why they stay. They stay because of simple thing…. God. They are taught their whole lives that this is what God wants for them. It isn’t belonging that keeps them there, it’s religion. To me, it’s a horrible perversion of religion. The FLDS tell a woman from birth that she has no right to talk to God, she is only here to be a good wife and have as many children for him as possible. She is a tool for the man, and only through him can she get to heaven. These girls and women believe it. They have no access to internet, they are told all outsiders are Satan’s minions. If they try to leave the compound they are doomed to hell… and they believe it. It’s religion that keeps them enslaved.

    • Elise

      I need to add one more thing… the FLDS are NOT LDS women. Mormons do not practice polygamy and the ‘fundamentalists’ will never say they are mormon. They think LDS people are from Satan too…. So it would be wise to clarify your post that you were not intending to say mormons at all… but Fundamentalist Latter Day Saints. Either way, it’s really not about polygamy, but about the child slavery, the forced ignorance, the abuse and the complete isolation from education or anything in society that makes the FLDS so horrible.

    • In Saudi Arabia the public education system teaches everyone (girls and boys) that men are above women and that women are created less in both mind and religion. They are taught that their husband’s approval is their key into heaven. And boys are taught that they have to step up and lead all women in their lives including their own mothers.
      Many girls are raised to believe that unrelated men hearing the sound of their voices is like standing naked in front of those men. Internet has only become widespread around 2004 and many families do not allow their daughters access. Even in my own family, which is considered quite liberal, there are college aged girls who are not allowed to go online unless they have a specific school project and are supervised by their fathers and brothers.

      • So would that be the reason why there is little trace of women participation on the overall (I would say global) discussion regarding women rights in Iran, Saudi Arabia and Egypt? Because women are not allowed (or not 100%) to use the Internet? Would this be the cause of the lack of presence- apart from a few women activists- of Saudi women organisations on the Internet? I know that off line is almost (if not 100%)impossible.
        Anyway, I am Catholic. I love my religion and would never change it (even if I am very critical) but I think that if we want to be fair, religions have been created by men to explain facts and to believe in supra-natural entities. Which is a good thing. Everybody needs to believe and everybody believes in something.
        I cannot stop myelf from thinking that it is not the religion itself but mis-interpretations, linked to patriarchal beliefs, of Books and Words that have ruined the whole beaty of whatever religion. Sometimes this mis-interpretation goes to the extremes.What I cannot believe though, is the acceptance of these mis-interpretations and fanatism by super partes actors (as well as many women that I know here in London and in many other countries) that call these violations of women rights: CULTURAL BELIEFS.

  4. OnigiriFB

    That’s just sad. Too bad the Saudi version of Islam is spreading. Along with that will come the culture and perversions. I’m not muslim but I think parts of Islam are beautiful…. until you get to the extremist versions. Woman are not chattel, they are not possessions and there is a reason God gave us intelligence and beauty. What has always made me mad about patriarchal (mormons included) religions is how men aren’t held accountable. Men can go out and whore all they want but when it comes to marriage they hold out for the virgin. I think it’s sick that Saudi women are told their voices can cause that much lust in a man. What happened to men “lowering their gazes”?

    • Usman

      “Men can go out and whore all they want but when it comes to marriage they hold out for the virgin.”

      WRONG!!

    • Just a clarification nothing in Islam says that men can go out and whore around. The extremist don’t say it either. (Thats why there is so much emphasis on segragation.) The whoring around thing is much more of a cultural (in general not just Saudi) thing.

      • Point is, men can do whatever they want, behave as bad as they like, and they still will not be held accountable.

        While a woman could, and often is, punished with the most heinous methods for anything, any little thing, and if something really bad happens to her, like being kidnapped and raped, she is the one who will get the punishment.

        It’sd wrong it’s sick, but that is what happens.

  5. It seems to me that anyone who wonders why anyone else doesn’t just leave or rebel has a very limited understanding of humans, and of societies.

    For most people going against learned attitudes at the risk of displeasing the people who love them and whom they love is difficult. It is part of the angst of adolescence and most don’t stray as far as they might think from core beliefs held by their families and their societies.

    Rebelling in some societies has much higher consequences than in others, whether those are from one’s inner self, family, friends, neighbours, or social institutions including the police. I might wear shoes through the first snowfall in pigheaded rebellion against the changing of the seasons, but I wore hijab in Iran because otherwise I wouldn’t have been let off the plane, as a stewardess I know wasn’t. She and the rest of the crew had only western clothing, including their uniforms and weren’t even allowed in the terminal for the time of their stopover. They spent all of it in the plane. And these are passing examples that don’t even speak to more ingrained beliefs that women in a society hold about themselves and how they should be treated by the men who love them, or the society that protects them.

  6. First off, fantastic blog, masha’ Allah! I just discovered it and have really enjoyed the posts.

    This is really a thoughtful topic. The all important thing is, why don’t people want change? If someone doesn’t want change because of her own inner convictions, that’s one thing, but if she doesn’t want change simply out of fear of rejection, that’s another. We may accuse a woman in a polygamous community in Southern Utah or a conservative Muslim woman in Riyadh of being “brainwashed”, but the fact is we are all programmed by our culture and society. The key is, are we living, happy fulfilling lives with that programming? Some people are, some aren’t. Which is worse? Rejection, but living freely by your own true convictions or supressing your personal beliefs, dreams and goals only to belong? The optimum society, as far as I see it, should give each individual, male or female, the ability to live the life they choose and still be cherished and respected (and in Islamic society then, different interpretations of Islam should be tolerated).

    Was raised in Utah (although not LDS), converted to Islam, now living in Saudi.🙂

    Maggie

  7. alone

    Salaam to all, I have also just discovered your blog and am enjoying reading it.
    I find your points thoughtful and agree with some points. Not sure about the comparison with LDS/FLDS though I am sure there are some simarlarties. I also agree, change must come from within, where ever one is. Though I feel if we are supported in implementing change that is also helpful and at times crucial.
    It should never be a question of judgement. How can I judge your position unless I walk in your shoes?
    I would like to know more about why your community approval and backing is so important? Who is this community and if this is the same community that is enforcing unequal rights, surely then it is legitimate to question that community. Is the power in the community, men or is there gender equality?
    Are the choices you make because you have a limited amount of choices or because you genuinely want to make those choices?

    I ask, only because I can relate to what you are saying. I am a second generation Kashmiri woman in England. It was no different culturally within my extended family when my sisters and I were growing up. However we pushed and questioned and fought for what we believed were our rights and our choices to make. Of course, we are in a country which externally we had support and some protection within the law.

    My final point and I am sorry, for going on, is that culture is not stagnant, it changes all the time. Values can be consitent and be held on to but the way we live those values can change. That does not mean they are any less than when our parents lived those values differently

  8. Omaima

    Ms. Eman !!!!
    Libral women are doing their best in Saudi!
    but the rest talking about ” brain-washed ” women and men .. I belive are just confused!
    we have been tough alot of stuff that is purely cultural as if it was part of our religion ( Islam)
    so when its like ” religion=culture” then
    no one will speak out .. because when u do .. then you are standing against Islam ..
    YOU ARE GOING TO BE BEHEADED!
    yes I would never take a risk in place like Saudi
    when they believe that beling a muslim standing against islam is redda .. and the penlty of redda is execution” 16th century style”
    ——–
    anyways ..
    I would never have the courage to go out without Abaya .. because then I will be admitted in Al Amal mental hospital as a case of anti social !!!
    wich is alot worse than being in jail in here.. !!
    ——-
    driving a car..
    I belive alot of Saudi women are driving cars whenever they had the chance to .. inside or outside Saudi ..!!
    ..
    U know what pisses me of the most Ms. Eman ..
    is that مجلس الشورى are all males, Hanbalies !!
    which is not fair!!
    and for that reason .. women are not having their full rights .. because its men’s world here!!!
    I don’t feel like I belong here !!

    **for English speakers مجلس الشورى is more like the American congress!!

  9. Laura

    Hi Eman,

    probably what I’m going to write it’s too liberal but I grew up with the concept that I could express freely my opinion therefore I hope it will be accepted even though it’s probably very far from all what I usually read in this very interesting blog.

    All religions were created (or used) from the dominant oligarchy to keep their power and consequentely their richness. There’s no difference between all the existing religions Islam, Christianity, etc…with all their different versions and interpretations.

    The differce is just the possibility to decide freely what you want to be or what you want to do. In a country where the laws are promulgate according to religious principles written 2000 year ago of course this cannot be possible. And of course I agree on the fact that if you grew up with such an education it’s really difficult to stand up and say “This is wrong I don’t agree I want to make it different!!”.

    In practice what I want to say is that if in Europe we all do what the catholic religion or the Pope says we would be like in KSA!! The reality is that nobody cares. The number of couple that decide not to marry or just marry at the Town all is rising up. For me and most of the people I know the catholic church is just a sort of political party that makes its own economical interest.

    I don’t think any religion is required teach us what is morally correct. Even though I’m atheist doesn’t mean that for example I consider correct to be unfaithfull to my husband!! For all the rest there are the laws of a laic country that regulate our lifes in the common interest indipendently from religious beliefs of people who live in that country.

    The solution for KSA situation? There’s no solution, it’s just a slow historical process. I think that educated and open minded people like you are are supposed to give a bigger contribute to this process…good luck!!

    • Usman

      Are you trying to find the source of oppression in religion? If so, then explain the nature of oppression in Russia, China and India. I’m not quoting any example from west only out of your respect.

      Oppression is a consequence of evil human instincts. Man just adopts religion, politics or any other social phenomena to justify the consequence of his instincts. Religion, Politics or any social phenomena are not necessarily the cause of this oppression.

      • Laura

        I agree on the fact that religion isn’t the only source of oppression it’s just one of the possible. I hope you will agree on the fact that is one of the most used. Of course it’s possible to be religious without being oppressive but just if you’re free to choose your religion and this implicates also the possibility to choose not to have a religion.
        Oppression is everywhere even though at the moment, for historical reasons, there are some areas of the world (not only KSA) where it’s stronger then in other. However even in west countries women didn’t reach yet the equality to men and even here for example 80 years ago women weren’t allowed to vote.
        What I wanted to say is just that laws that regulates the “every day life” cannot be decided based on religious principles. First because they have to be valid for everybody and not only for a certain religious group and second because something written many centuries ago in a completely different contest can be interpreted in very different ways. This facility whereby religious scriptures can be interpretate is often used by people who don’t care about religion or morality just to keep their interests.
        If I think that all black cats should be burned and I open the Bible, I’ll probaly find a paragraph with something against a black cat that confirms my theory…I hope you understand what I mean.

    • I agree, religions were created by men, it’s very clear when you look at history. And they are a vehicle for political power. Just look at all the rules, no true infinite deity would care when or how you blow your nose, or how often you chew at a date. No loving deity would make up rules to suppress half of humanity, and treat half of humanity badly because they are a different gender. No all powerful being would create a very rare naked animal and then put an injuction on them (after tens of thousands of years) that one gender suddenly has to cover every inch of their body.

      It’s all made up by men, and it’s purpose is control.

      And yes, you can do that through political ideology, or just sheer misuse of force and terror, but the truth is, nothing works so well to control people as a religion.

  10. Hala

    Why? I asked myself a lot, and I figured that for those who are brainwashed -and these are upset nevertheless- they stayed because of religious fears, and for those who are not brainwashed, they stayed because the risk is high, they live in a glass house that can be easily shattered if they act and worse, can fall on all whom they love and affect them too…

  11. Wow-now THAT was an article I never expected to see! Holy cow, girl-you are so open and honest! If you want to read a good book about the polygamists-read Carolyn Jessop’s book-Escape. As a woman, it scared the hell out of me. These women are brainwashed, beaten, abused, and threatened on a daily basis. Any woman that does leave, and is lucky enough to get her children out also, will be pursued like an animal in a hunt. I can imagine many Saudi/Islamic women face the same thing every single day of their lives.
    As far as religion being a catalyst for abuse and fear-it can be. Usually, it is the leader behind the views that is needy/egotistical/or a maniac. It is THEIR VIEWS rather than a religious view.
    I have had many friends embrace Wicca because of its strong emphasis on women.

  12. Saskia

    It’s probably just coincidence that I read this post and this post just before it.
    I completely agree with SaudiWoman here, that is: with the implication of blaming women for the situation that they are in and expecting THEM to do all the hard work to change it when their position is difficult as is, is frankly unfair and unreasonable.

  13. lark

    I have a slightly different perspective on this question, why don’t people change. I think it is fear. But I will first tell you where I am coming from.

    I lived in Iraq when I was a small child and again when I was 12-13. At the latter time I had an abaya which I would wear in some circumstances. Not all the time, in Baghdad or in the countryside, but sometimes when traveling with my family. Iraq at that time (pre Iran Iraq war) was much more liberal than Saudi, but I found it a bit scary. I felt the repressed male sexual energy and the way they looked at me was disconcerting. This is what made me want to wear the abaya, when I did wear it. I once spoke to a woman who believe it or not biked by herself through Iraq. She said the men were a nightmare. I could well understand this.

    So, what am I saying? I think one thing that makes it hard to change is that sexual segregation leads to tensions that can explode and also a lack of social skills in mixed gender environments. Women have the most to lose, of course. We are more vulnerable to sexual assault. Right now, what orders your society is rules and punishments. If there were more freedom, there would be a need for self-restraint to replace the rules and punishments. How can you get there, with no opportunity to practice, to get comfortable with the opposite sex?

    This is the problem: if you believe that “When a man and a woman are alone together, the devil is the chaperone,” so that you never let a man or woman be alone together or work together, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

  14. OnigiriFB

    People who are trying to say that religion is not at fault or is not oppressive forget that religion is made up of people. It’s true that people who don’t use religion as a shield have done awful thing (communisim, etc). But it is also true that people have done awful things in the name of religion also. People seem to forget that without the people who believe in whatever religion that religion would be dead. While many may believe a book to have holistic properties it’s still just a book of ideas someone said were from God. In an attempt to make Christianity/Judaism/ Islam pure and Godly they attribute the bad things that its followers do and say oh that because they are evil human beings. Well I hate to tell you this there are evil humans who do things because of religion just as there are evil people who do things because believe in some political ideology. Same people just different sides of the coin.

    • Laura

      I totally agree with you

      • Usman

        Cold War
        WWI
        WWII
        Russian Revolution
        French Revolution

        A long long list of biggest man made tragedies on earth. Find where was religion here.

        Time to quit for you chicks along with your Prophet Richard Dawkins’s Hogwash.

      • Laura

        Franch revolution was not a tragedy…it was the beginning of illuminism, sometimes a revolution is necessary to have a progress

  15. Omaima

    Everyone is turning it into a religion topic..
    guys let me tell ya .. its purly cultural .. and if there is any religous part of it then it would behow conservitve Shikhes(who believe that the culture of arabs over 1000 year ago is how muslimes should behave now) is interprating religion in his own way to make it just like what he believes in!!!!
    plus there is no female shikh.. there is always a male shikh..
    and as I mentioned above we are being taught cultural stuff as if it is part of religion!
    because back in history Arabs were dominating and women were treated as objects!
    and I believe the reason why those sick Shikhs doing this .. is that because they don’t want women to compete with them.
    u guys have no idea how strong Saudi women are..
    they fight over every little thing ( right of education , traveling .. etc) really basic stuff
    just few years back .. Saudi women didn’t have her own ID.. she use to belong to her fathers ID and when she gets married then she used her husband ID!
    she is being treated as property ( first belongs to the father .. then to the husband .. then to her uncles or son .. or whoever male in the family)

    and that is still happening now.. in 21th century!

    women have came along way here.. its slow
    but its not because they are not speaking out, its because they have no power.. no positions .. no political rights what so ever.
    Saudi libral women are worriers and they are fighting with all what they got ..but it won’t happen over night.

  16. OnigiriFB

    @usman

    Sorry I’ve never read Richard Dawkins and don’t feel as he does that religion is a delusion of a diseased mind. But there are multiple examples of religious people doing evil things in the name of their god. Let’s see:

    The inquisition
    The crusades
    The wars and genocides of people who don’t believe the same as they do. I.E. Rwanda, Darfar, Ku Klux Klan, Taliban, etc.
    The Muslim conquest of Northern Africa and Spain
    The conquest of the New World and forced conversions
    The Holocaust
    The colonization various Asian countries to “bring Christianity” to the heathens
    9/11
    The terrorist bombings of London and Spain

    • Usman

      Are you Joking??

      In your desperate attempt to paint every problem as the consequence of the religion, your rhetoric is getting even more superficial than that of Prophet Richard Dawking’s. Any sensible would laugh at the list you pasted.

      Principal motivation of KKK and Nazi Ideology was RACE, not religion. Had the black man, Jews be protestant would not have changed instincts of KKK or Nazi.
      Rwandan, and Darfur incidents are examples of ethnic genocides.
      Arab went to Spain, and Turk came to India to expand their EMPIRES. Same is the case with European and now American colonialism.

      I can give you the motivation behind 9/11 and London bombing but it would toss you off.

      As I said in an earlier comment, people do oppression out of their own human instincts. They use Religion, Politics, or any other social phenomena only to justify their acts.

      • OnigiriFB

        No you are wrong there sensible people laugh at people like you who think that religion DOESN’T play a role in the various listed items.

        So WHY was there racism for the holocaust and KKK? What did both have in common? It was that their actions were justified (in their minds) by religious text.

        Same situation in Rwand and Darfar with ethnic cleansing. What was the justification? Religion.

        Same situation with the conquest of the Arabs in North Africa and Spaniards in the New World. How did they also justify their actions? Religion.

        Don’t bother to give me any tripe about how the terrorist acts of 9/11 and London and Spainish bombings weren’t because of religion. But let’s see what was the justification there? Religion.

        Wow…. see a trend going on here? I think there is something vastly wrong with a religion if it can be used to justify evil actions. How many verses of the Torah, Bible, or Quran can be used to justify evil? What do the people who make up that religion teach? What do people believe? Why is hatred and prejudices being taught to those who believe in the Torah, Bible and Quran. Someone a long time ago realized that if he said this whatever came from God people would listen and follow him.

        Whether a person uses religion ideology or secular ideology it’s still comes down to power and money. You were the one who tried to say it’s all the fault of those without religion (i.e. ww2 etc). It’s not all secular ideology that has been used to justify evil acts. It’s time people like you accept that your “pure” religions also play apart and do something to change it. What happens in the name of God shouldn’t be evil.

      • Sara

        With respect, I’m not sure why you and Usman are arguing as you both seem to be saying roughly the same thing – it’s the people who practise a religion that make it evil. In your last post, however, you seem to be saying that if there are things in a religion that can be used to justify evil deeds, then it becomes invalid. What Usman is pointing out (although way too aggressively!) and what I agree with is that anyone can do this with anything, e.g. I think the principles of Marxism are great but look what happened when human beings tried to implement it! So the actions of those who try to use an ideology as justification can’t be used to discredit the ideology.

        I think what irked me about your comment was a few inaccuracies – e.g. the horrors commited in Darfur were by Muslims against Muslims (due to a horrible government/limited resources and develoment in some regions in Sudan). Also, Nazism was an aggressively secular ideology, so the Holocaust occured because of a heady mixture of racism, disablism and homophobia (which if you wanted to you could attribute to a pseudo-science driven desire for a ‘clean’ gene pool, but racism isn’t scientific so I won’t!)

        To use your own words, “Whether a person uses religion ideology or secular ideology it’s still comes down to power and money. ” Hence I don’t see anything ‘vastly wrong’ with e.g. Islam or Marxism because they have been used as excuses.

  17. FYI The French Revolution was a result of Enlightment thought combined with a peasant revolt (organized by those higher that the peasantry and at a time when their lot had improved sufficiently that they weren’t overly pre-occupied with merely trying to survive). It did open the way to the Age of Reason, and also was only initially maintained by a Reign of Terror. Napoleon’s Empire was a throw back, 1848 was a violent year throughout Europe, and even today France struggles with achieving Liberty, Equality, and Freed0m for all.

    People are unfortunately capable of doing awful things in the name of some higher purpose in which they may or may not genuinely believe.

    • Usman

      FYI, I quoted French Revolution as an example where a large number of people killed and violence occurred not in the name of religion.

      You can consider your revolutions as sacred and call your dead martyr, I got no problem. But don’t spin the point.

      • Usman–there was no spin, only a desire to elaborate on the role of the Age of Enlightenment, and to highlight that people commit atrocities in the name of any number of ideologies, religions, or higher purposes. I consider neither that Revolution mor any other as sacred, nor consider any of my dead as martyrs.

      • Laura

        Usman,

        I think the problem is that here nobody is trying to say that religion is the only reason for war, violence and in general for uman problems. What most of the people who writes here are trying to say is that long the human history it was (or it has been used) for such scopes.
        Since in this blog we are mainly talking about KSA and consequently of all countries were religion is the State Law I don’t think there’s something bad or offensive in saying that the use of religion for political scope is at the moment the main problem of many countries, what’s wrong with this?

  18. Edit: …nor any other…

  19. Billy

    Must to see

    I’d like to share with you very interesting documentary film:

    Feminism: Recipe for slavery (1 of 8):

    • Sara

      Is this a joke? You’re using sitcom footage as ‘evidence’ against a whole nuanced movement? Tbh, this would suggest women are smarter than men😛

  20. Laila

    As much as I like your argument, it is borderline apologist. It is almost like the execuses battered women come up with to justify their abuse.

    All women, including Saudi women, are responsible for their fate. Your culture or religion are not different from the rest of the Gulf. Why are Saudi women held behind?

    Most Saudi women do not want to risk the comfort of their homes, or the financial support they get from their families, even if it is at the expense of your own humanity. They want rights, but they want someone else to fight on their behalf. Independence takes a lot of hard work, has a high price that you CHOOSE not to pay.

    • EDL

      Excellent point Laila. I totally agree with you.

      EDL

      • nodders

        On the subject of abuse, most battered women don’t leave their abusers because they don’t think they will be able to cope on their own. So much of the abuse is psychological, undermining her own self confidence, that she ends up tide to the abuser himself in a dependency.

        I think the logic applies to women in oppressive regimes too. They are told from birth that they are lesser, that they will not cope on their own, that they need their guardians and protectors, that if they leave the system they will be cast-aways and rejected.

  21. Billy, that is the most idiotic thing ive seen in a while. there is nothing “interesting” about it, unless your IQ is under 50. from the insulting title..to the comment that america is somehow “socialist”(and like that would be such a bad thing)..to the assertion that femminism is out to destroy families..is all absolutely insane. and the crazy theories that are supposed to be proven by a few random seconds of some random tv shows? (COMEDY tv shows at that hahaha). Really, its so insanely stupid that im not sure whether its supposed to be sarcastic or not.

  22. loop

    Good post but an important thing to remember is, polygamy is illegal in the United States. The fundamentalist LDS and the few regular LDS members who practice it do so hidden, knowing it is both illegal and looked down upon. It is a key point where secular law can and does inhibit what is claimed to be a religious practice.
    Not only that, but that the FLDS polygamy practitioners have been shown to take very young women as wives, before they ever know anything. The situations of a Saudi man taking second and third wives who are in their 20s or more, living apart, and Saudi society viewing it as normal, is quite different.

  23. Alexandra

    First, let me thank you for your thoughtful, if not always accurate (about the non-Islamic world) blog.

    ALL religions are manmade, in particular the 3 Abrahamic religions. No one can prove that God brought forth those religions. None of the three religions are unique, nor are they original. Most of the tenets of the three existed eons before, in Confucian times and on down.

    That said, as a free western woman I believe that men and women are equal—period. There are only 2 genders; therefore, WHY should men claim to be superior? They can’t even bear children to propagate the species!

    I also believe that the women and men of Islam must fight for their own rights and freedoms as both genders did in the West. It is not the place of the free non-Islamic world to present democracy to Muslims. Islam is not compatible with democracy anyway. If Muslims want democracy, pluralism, gender equality, the rule of law then they must fight, bleed and die for those themselves. They must put aside the 7th century ignorance of Islam and step into the 21st century, or not, as they choose.

    As to the FLDS followers. Regardless of how “brainwashed” those people are, they nevertheless live in a nation in which polygamy and the subjugation of anyone, in particular women, is illegal. Muslim women, especially Saudi women, do not live in such a society. They are subjugated and discriminated against by law—Islamic law that claims men are “superior” to women.

    In all the world men and women live, work, play and worship side by side in normal clothes. What exactly is wrong with Muslim men that they can’t handle seeing an unveiled woman without thinking that she must be a whore, while the men dress in very comfortable clothing, all too often those of the “infidels”? Why do Muslim women have to be “protected” from lecherous Muslim men? And yes, Muslim men do whore around. Playing “musical wives,” trading those in when they get too “old” or having mutah marriages is called “whoring” in the non-Islamic world.

    No matter how loud the claim, Muslim women have NEVER had equal rights with men! Please, exactly what have Muslim men accomplished in the last 1,000 years to make them so “superior” to the other four-fifths of humanity? What have Muslims brought forth, discovered, developed to move humanity forward in the last 500 to 1000 years? The Saudis can’t even get the oil out of the ground without the assistance expats. What other Islamic nations have done great things? Most Muslims, Saudis included, live off the hated infidel world today and have done since since the days of the prophet. Most Islamic lands can’t support themselves.

    So, why exactly the claim of superiority moral or otherwise? Why should the non-Islamic world care what Muslims do in their own lands, just as long as they don’t insist on bringing the backwardness and terror of 7th century Islam to the rest of the world?

    • “No matter how loud the claim, Muslim women have NEVER had equal rights with men! ”

      Neither did western women, until 50 or so years ago. Interesting fact for you: Azerbaijan, Kyrgistan, Albania, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Turkey (all majority muslim countries) had given women the right to vote by 1930. This was years before many other countries in the world- including france, switzerland, and liechenstein (1945, 1971, and 1984 respectively). Contrary to popular belief, there are many muslim countries where women enjoy equal rights, and non-muslim countries where they do not.

      “Please, exactly what have Muslim men accomplished in the last 1,000 years to make them so “superior” to the other four-fifths of humanity? What have Muslims brought forth, discovered, developed to move humanity forward in the last 500 to 1000 years? ”

      Sorry but no one on this blog seems to be talking about superiority. If you want to know what “muslims” have done in the last 500-1000 years, just look at your own sentence right there. The number system you use comes from islamic mathematicians..before this, europeans were still using roman numerals. So does algebra, and many important discoveries in mathematics, science and astronomy. While europe was in the dark ages, the islamic empires were flourishing. Read up on history!

      I also think you missed the whole point of the post. Eman did not suggest that FDLS practices were legal or the norm in the US. she was comparing the reasons why fdls women do not fight for their rights to the reasons why some saudi women might not either. sheesh.

      • Women did have equal status in Europe. Before Christianity European women had rights, in old European cultures inheritance went through the female line, not the male line. Women could be queens. Queen Boudicca united the English tribes and beat the all powerful Romans.

        Until the Christian church came along, especially the Roman christian church: they twisted the cultures of Europe and made women second class, and it has taken nearly 2000 years for women to fight their way out and the battle is still ongoing.

  24. Alexandra

    Just for the record, that video has got to be one of the dumbest things ever produced. Men who can’t handle women as equals are losers!

  25. Salaams Dear:

    What a wonderful conversation you have going on here🙂

  26. Jezz1956

    How do you explain that some muslim women tolerate this in western country? Why do they fight for their abaya and niqab? For the “right” to be served only by women in public services? To have separate room in hospital? For the “right” not to send their daughters to their gym or even art classes? There was a strong movement a few years back to bring sharia courts to Ontario, Canada!!! Why? And why are moderate Muslim silent? I strive to understand, but I can’t I really can’t…

    • OnigiriFB

      I think it’s because the want to live in an Islamic country bound by only the the laws of Allah. But since they also want to freedom and economy of western countries they don’t move to countries that are already following sharia. What they forget is that people have died so that they can have the right to choose. Or that certain freedoms (speech, religion, etc)and economic strengths are found in the west because we separated religion and the state. Too many Muslims in the Western world are converts who choose to go the extremist route while others are from the poor uneducated classes of muslim countries bringing their culture with them.

      I would like an answer to your last question also. Why are moderate Muslims silent? Why don’t they at least stand up against extreme teachings and terrorism? When they remain silent Islam gets painted by the evil of a few. It’s too bad.

      • Sara

        These questions totally ignore the main reason why people are clinging so tightly to what is viewed as their identity – racism in their host countries. It is no coincidence that the number of niqabs on the UK streets rose after the declaration of the ‘war on terror’ and all the prejudice, discrimination and invasions of muslim countries that brought about. If you can’t see that, you’re not ‘striving’ hard enough I’m afraid – it suggests you don’t know have any close links to the communities you’re so quick to judge.

        What drives extremism and makes it harder to combat is the current capitalist/imperialist system where you have a combination of corrupt and backwards governments like in KSA supported by western governments and an economic system that keeps the vast majority of the world population in poverty. As a main exporter of extreme ideology, Saudi is crucial – instead of asking ‘where are the moderate muslims?’ ask ‘why is our government shooting itself in the foot by supporting regimes that export extremism?’

  27. Pingback: Alaska» Blog Archive » serve o regine

  28. Pingback: Why do we stay the way we are? « wvan.it, il blog

  29. Wendy

    From what I’ve observed probably most women are very comfortable with their comfortable lifestyle. They have been taught from birth how their lives should be lived. Religion is taught from the time they are born and there is certainly fear of consequences both now and after death if they don’t comply with what they have been taught.

    KSA is not very old as a country. There have been many changes in Canada for women in the last 100 years so perhaps things can change for women in KSA also but they DO have to want it.

    I also understand that there is an agreement between the royals and the religious leaders so that the royals can maintain their power. You can’t have total power if the people have freedom and as much as it appears that men can do as they like they are controlled just as much as the women but in different ways. They don’t have the freedom we in the west generally assume they have.

    “Power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

  30. Marcus

    Hi there again… hope your well.

    >

    No, its because you are not allowed… otherwise, you get whipped, lashed, stoned etc etc.. So let us get serious about it…

    >

    We do, every day and we are allowed to challenge the issues which matter to us…

    >

    We do and we are… hence why we are here..

    >

    Yes, but still doesnt mean you have to live under vile hateful suppression by males dictating from some book they reckon is from some chap sitting on a silver cloud!!

    <>

    Of course, community has its place.. Family, friends, School.. of course it does… Only feeling lost could well be the fear of change, the fear of the unknown… We all feel that, I certainly have experienced in many many times.. In fact, I felt it very recently living in a strange Country, completely lost, alone, lonely, frightened at times..
    The community approval has nothing to do with it.. It is our own decisions we make.. It just so happens, Saudi women cannot make them… Not all anyway it seems..

    <>

    Yup… and when your free to walk down the street, free as a bird, free as the wind in your hair, sun on your face, without some veil to suppress you… then yes, the path is in front of you… It is the men of your world who are scared and frightened… They are scared to death of women… They fear their power.. and they will do anything to suppress that challenge..

    stay safe girls… Love is the key and the path..

  31. Greetings!

    I have been reading your blogs w interest for a while.
    As a new Muslim (indian/Italian lineage) I must say that you absolutely DO NOT like anything pertaining to Islaam as practiced in KSA.
    That being said I can confirm that you will LOVE the way islaam is practiced here in the US.
    I propose a trade- you move here and you are welcome to my 6 bedroom villa and my beloved BMW x5 4.8 and I move to po-dung KSA.
    You get to do what you want and how you want to do it and ditto for me!
    This is not a joke this is a seroous honest to God offer. Instead of whining and complaining about where we are we both get to live and do what we want…where we want!

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