Saudi men who have gone to prison for helping Saudi women

Abdulkareem Al Johaiman, author, teacher and newspaper editor. Imprisoned for supporting opening schools for girls.

Abdulkareem Al Johaiman, author, teacher and newspaper editor. Imprisoned for supporting opening schools for girls.

Salah Alazaz, artist and photographer, imprisoned for photographing the 1990 Nov 6th women driving protest.

Salah Alazaz, artist and photographer, imprisoned for photographing the 1990 Nov 6th women driving protest.


Tariq Al Mubarak, columnist and high school teacher, imprisoned for supporting the Oct 26th Women Driving Campaign.

Tariq Al Mubarak, columnist and high school teacher, imprisoned for supporting the Oct 26th Women Driving Campaign.


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57 responses to “Saudi men who have gone to prison for helping Saudi women

  1. Declan Murphy

    All women in Saudi should have full access to education and be allow to drive.

    • Frances

      I house three Saudi Arabian students in Austin, Texas. I was deeply saddened that all three were hoping that Saudi women would all be arrested for driving on that special October day. They each told me that Saudi women were too cute and silly to drive. I reminded them that as a woman, I had just driven them 700 round trip miles to the tip of Texas to go to South Padre Island for a vacation. They responded by saying, “But you are an American and have experience. Our woman do not have experience and do not want to drive. The world just needs to leave them alone.” When I tried to introduce the concept that if just ONE Saudi woman wanted to drive, the right, by equality, should be there. They just couldn’t grasp that understanding. I have had 22 Saudi students in my home over the years and none…absolutely none…have any interest in seeing any personal freedoms increased for their mothers, sisters or future daughters. The thought of women’s equality never, ever crosses their mind. Frances

      • Frances, we have had so many of the same responses from Saudi women (and men). I have only met two Saudi women who were prepared to fight for personal freedom. In fact, it is generally the mothers, sisters, and aunties who become most incensed against any Saudi woman who pushes for reform. This is a sad state of affairs.

      • Yes, many times women are their own enemies. That was the case in Europe earlier on as well when women, and men, fought for women’s right to vote. And this is the case concering circumsicion as well. I suppose changes many times is challenging your own identy, what you have been practicing and what you have believed in and to reliase you were wrong may sometimes be hard. I can’t see any other explanation really. And again, fear.

      • mizliz

        Frances, I always read with great interest the personal insight that you share with your posts about your years of hosting the Saudi students in your home while they are students in the US.

        Please never stop sharing your stories because they really help those of us who are trying so hard to educate ourselves. By reading blogs from around the world about real people with real issues instead of just relying on news sound bytes we can all overcome stereotypes.

        I have met and enjoyed conversations with Saudi students in Boston in the past. When I read how the young men treat the young women in the Kingdom it amazes me. Could it be as simple an answer as their behavior has no consequences? They all know as soon as they step off the plane in the USA or any other country that they can’t get away with any of that behavior so they don’t act like idiots in the malls, driving cars, or in any other public areas. Our government doesn’t have to tell them. Those students before them and their friends that are here studying make sure they know. I also imagine that any student leaving Saudi Arabia is informed by the government there what is expected of them. Curious isn’t it?

        Then when they return home they are older and much more mature individuals with an education. Why do they young men have to leave the country to understand there are consequences for ones actions?

        I will not believe that every Saudi mother raises her son in this manner. If one reads Saudi and Arab newspapers it does appear that there are too many that do and the government does not really protect women.

        Thank you again for helping to educate us on Saudi Womens Weblog

      • Admin

        As the saying goes: you can’t awaken a man who pretends to be asleep.
        People brought up in an insular and closed-up society that forbids free education, freedom of information, freedom of opinion or studies, see the world with closed eyes. It would be unrealistic to expect them to grasp what democracy truly is or expect them to support it. On the contrary, they will support every barbarity they have been indoctrinated with. And so, barbarity is exactly what their lot is.

    • I’d like to post this comment in my page. I think women and men should have equal wrights in society, whether in India, Saudi Arabia, Iran, China.

      • Mr Chaves is right on all counts but it is a change in attitude by the Royal family in KSA which counts.. The Royal family in RSA is in a similar position to the King of Spain during the Inquisition. The King has the power but if he doesn’.t use it to the liking if the thought and moral religious police he will get a sharp rebuke and if not chastened he could be faced by a internal religious revolt or one from within the Royal Family..His demise at the hands of fanatics may not be an imposibility.
        The key to the liberalisation of suffocating rules,laws ,mores, of any society is a seismic shift in the attitudes among the ruling elites and also in this instance the Saudi Male voters.. USA Blacks initially used escape as a weapon of change. A leaking exodus of women might achieve some progress., It would be interesting to know what percentage of RSA women want change and what percentage do not.. The hard rant of “satisfied with their lot ” women gives succour to persecutors “See there most women don’t want change”

  2. These men are heroes but one wonders why mothers in the Kingdom cannot raise all or most of their sons to be like these men? It seems that mothers either can or cannot influence their children’s value systems. If they can, mothers are to blame for the values of a repressive society. If it’s the latter, why are women being subsidized to raise children at all?

    • Jonny, I believe this is a complex issue with a lot of influence from different sources, which include the mothers, the fathers, the closer relatives, the surrounding society, the access to information. And we also have to consider a lot of fears, which may be understand for people who live in a more free society.

      • I agree it’s a complex issue but mothers have so much power to influence their children for better or for worse; men simply cannot do what women can to influence the core values of each generation. When I read about 140 million women currently living as victims of FGM…

        Then I read they’re blaming FGM on men.

    • Johnny, I found that most of my Saudi female friends terribly spoiled the sons, and virtually ignored their daughters. This is the result. (Although there are some very good Saudi men, you just don’t hear much about them.)

      • Karin Muller

        I know a few 🙂 and they are the most attractive, funny and warm hearted men I have across. God bless Saudi Arabia..the land were a little fellow (PBUH) loved his uncle and mother and he was raised well. He later changed humanity and for that he is the man (PBUH) I most love in this world and always will. 🙂

    • Islam haa the best value system we muslims just need to follow it men and womwn shouls seek knowledge and than people we be content. And seek other man-made laws to live by

    • @Jonny – I agree with you 100%

    • We mothers have enormouse power, we can also! stop all wars in the world, we can say: we do not sent our sons to kill others but women prefer play only victims and accuse/blame men for all violence in the wolrld.

      • It does seem that way, Sabina. I don’t think men (boys) go to war for King, God and Country. All my friends who went to war wanted to make their mothers proud of them. I suspect it’s a complex and sensitive issue with mothers and filial sons? Perhaps the problem is how daughters are being treated, as Jean Sasson noted above…

  3. Karin Muller

    These are the true male heroes of the kingdom of Arabia. All my respect from Luxembourg,, the islamic banking centre in Europe.

  4. It is very good that you bring forward good examples of men as there are many biases in some places that all men in Saudi are bastards. But of course there are men who fight for justice, so thanks for that!

  5. What happened to all of these courageous men??? I’d love to know their stories. I’ve always said that until the men of Saudi Arabia stand by their women, nothing will or can change. Now it seems that men are doing just that! I salute them all and hope other Saudi men will do the same.

    • Just immigrate! It's easier.

      But it is not always the men’s problem. Mothers are also a part of the problem; they raise many bigoted men. I am a man from Saudi Arabia, and I’ll help my sisters in achieving whatever they want. To be quite honest, the sad solution to Saudi women’s problems, is to move to another place, preferably in the Gulf. There are many Saudi Arabian families who left Saudi Arabia, because they had enough of this situation, most of them live in the UAE. I say, if your family is a little bit reasonable, do consider this option. People here in Saudi Arabia are wasting their time for decades now with an outdated and out of touch society.

      • Admin

        Good on you! The only words I can say, I honor you and your struggles to try and be decent and good in a difficult and stifling society.

  6. I think these people and this whole movement is nonsense Islam has assured rights form women and men these calls are against the current laws in KSA and they are imitation of non Muslim ways namely marxist and democratic ways which go against our ways. Women’s issues are very vital in islam but driving? Thats not one of them. Knowledge is of a higher priority because many of these sister are ignorant of of the basics of islam like hijab

    • Dear Abdulawlee, I think you may have misunderstand a few things. First, that driving shouldn’t be included in the women’s right. yes Islam assure rights for women as you say, which logically would include driving, Islam doesn’t make any difference here between man and women, but regulations in KSA do, so in that case you coulds say that KSA is not a proper muslim country. Then you have misunderstood about democracy, Islams says seek knowledge and for doing that you must accept the concept of democracy. Where you got the marxism from I have no far as I know there is no place on earth where this is practiced..unfortunately maybe 🙂

      • Karin Muller

        Dear Abdulawlee, I am muslim and am proud to be so and this will stay so till I die. Now I drive a car but prefer motorbikes. I have been driving motorbikes since the tender age of 16 as my father did not want me to get into cars of stranger boys under alcohol and wreckless. He was a neurologist and was fighting for a big rehabilitation hospital in France to help brain damaged care accident victims. He even went so far to buy me a motorbike to not go into any car of an unknown man to him. He trusted me more than any other man. He taught me to drive with endless drives through the woods. By the way he was a great admirer of arabian men, saudi arabians and egyptians in particular.

      • s k rao

        Madam Anna, I dont know from where u got the material saying “Islam dees not make dfference between men & women, Islam seeks knowledge etc. Islam and Democracy are mutually exclusive What is practiced in KSA is Islam in letter and spirit and is highly regressive. Expectng good behaviour towards women from men in KSA is like expecting highly spoilt ,pampered boy to be resoponsible and sensitive.

      • karin Muller

        This getting out of hand. I think one great mum has a point and has to be considered. The sagety of her children has to be put first anf then religion. Every religion (good religion) thinks like this. I think at least her opinion should be heard. This is now possible in Saudi Arabia. I have never been there (and dream of going there). Things are opening up day by day.

      • Admin

        Anna your socialist Scandinavian mindset comes across as absurd and naive about the world. After listening to a lot of opinions from Swede’s I’ve come to the conclusion that you people are half mad. You are so out of touch with reality all the time you live in a time warp. Look at your own country. You have the second highest rape statistics per capita in the world due to excessive Muslim male immigration – yet you continue to try and whitewash this horrific hate of women that is taught from childhood in these societies and originates with the religion.

        The rape per capita is now 91,6% in Lesotho which stands in first place, and 53,2% in Sweden that is now second in the world.

        The 5% Muslim population in Sweden commit nearly 77.6% of all rape crimes (over 90% of all rapes are committed by immigrants). And the projection is that more than 1 in 4 of Swedish women and children will be raped in their life [see link below]. I need not stipulate by whom and what.

        Islam provides NO rights for women. The rights only come when a male authority changes his mind. In Islam a woman is not a human being compared to a man but, like animals, is considered a commodity. The man owns her. Even a young male child has ownership over a woman and makes her decisions. You have no rights when you are owned by someone else and need written permission to travel, a male to wheel you around and constantly keep an eye on you. Only slaves are surrounded by constant guards 24/7.

  7. Karin Muller

    and regarding Hijab Abdulawlee, it would have broken his heart to not show my above average beauty at the time of a teenager. As long as I was decent looking and was not provocatively dressed, he approved and let my mother choose my clothes. He also had a royal go at my brother once. It was past ten in the evening and I had a female friend younger than me over to stay. My brother was still withe us speaking when he stormed in and threw my brother in and almost hit him. We assured my father all was harmless to avoid my father calling her parents. He had no Shariah as his guidance (he never uttered a word about I don’t know what he was thinking) but he lived what I am now today discovering in Islam. He did not even know it.

    • Democracy is just socialism America loves to throw that around as if its a domcracy it is not. So why are you claiming muslims wish to have that in their lands. The Shari’aj is sufficient for governing SA Like it who like it hate who hate it

      • I agree, democracy is not what America is practicing, US is a very imperalistic country and not what we should look for as a model. US is in contrary destroying many efforts of creating democracy around the world. And they start with violence wherevere their interestes are threatened, which means resources, the history shows that this is their game, very sad. Democracy and peace is something completely different.

        There are a lot telling about knowledge, justice and women and equality.
        About knowledge: “And say: My Lord increase me in knowledge.” (Qur’an, Ta-Ha 20:114)
        About justice: “O ye who believe! Stand out firmly for justice, as witnesses to God, even as against yourselves, or your parents, or your kin, and whether it be (against) rich or poor.” (Quran 4:135)
        About women: “God has got ready forgiveness and tremendous rewards for the Muslim men and women; the believing men and women; the devout men and women; the humble men and women; the almsgiving men and women; the fasting men and women, the men and women who guard their chastity; and the men and women who are exceedingly mindful of God.” (Al-Ahzab:35)

      • Admin

        Again, Anna, you are completely delusional. America is indeed a democracy – and more so than anything a socialist can ever understand or experience. Its your own country that has no democracy although you imagine it does, not having experienced anything else. In your own county you don’t even have the right to free speech – a basic tenant in democracy. If you disagree to the socialist left, you get condemned, fired from your job, or spied upon by your immature youthful left-wing media who appears to do their best to hide realities and keep you in the dark ages about the world.
        America’s problem is that they allow Arab nations to dictate what policies they should have in the Middle East, while none of the Arab nations really get along but always plot and fight against each other. By getting dragged into this conflicts and by taking sides America creates an even bigger mess, and gets blamed for the decisions created by their Saudi and Qatari allies. America should stay out of it.

    • Karin, while I could understand your father not wanting you to get into automobiles with teenage boys who are notoriously reckless drivers, I cannot understand his allowing you to even think about riding a motorbike! Nothing is more dangers and the statistics prove it. There are many brain damaged people on this earth because they rode/drove a motorbike. It’s not that you or your father would not be good drivers, it’s just that people in automobiles often do not see motorbike riders and the accident rates are quite high. ALSO, IF you are involved in an accident while riding a motorbike, chances are your injuries will be much more severe due to the fact you don’t have any protection. I’m glad you are okay, but I still question your father’s choice, if indeed he is thinking of your safety.

      • Karin Muller

        Dear Jean, I just read your very good comment on motorbikes.

        My father’s choice was indeed not a good one and in many ways not a logical one.
        There must have been a guardian angel on my side, because I never had a serious accident with physical injuries to myself or anyone else, even when travelling through the chaotic roads of Southern Europe per motorbike (Naples in Italy must have been the worst). Personally, I would now, after a lot of experience (and no longer driving motorbikes), not advise anyone to foster the idea in children that motorbike driving is safer than driving a car with an unknown person (or hitchhiking for that matter).
        And definitely, I would not allow them to drive a motorbike when underage like in my case. If they later (as adults) decide to take up motorbike riding, I would pay them the best driving school and practice lessons, so they have a jump start into a world which can be very dangerous. They could then learn what we call “defensive” driving, which keeps you alert all the time to other people driving cars as well as motorbikes. They could learn the tricks of the trade and keep themselves safe.

        When someone has a passion and has, as an adult, decided to pursue it, you might as well support them as long as you can and the best way possible, even if it is a tricky passion like motorbike driving.

        I will draw an analogy here:

        The following comment relates to ADULT female drivers and I sincerely hope that it can be agreed that any woman who has reached the age of being legally an adult is also considered as an adult person with full human rights!


        If the men in power in Saudi Arabia (regarding the driving regulations) really love their wives, daughters, sisters and mothers …they would support them with their passion and freedom (in this case a basic need like driving)…..EVEN if it goes against their beliefs and feelings and long held traditions which, in a rapidly changing world, regularly need adapting to the best degree possible for a particular situation.
        Just being fearful that something is too dangerous for their beloved female relatives is not a good and fruitful argument…. as through merely forbidding a passion/basic need in a motorised society, the “problem” will not go away and might even cause some people to resort to desperate measures which can far more dire consequences.

        So I would hope that the men in charge of the law in Saudi Arabia find a place in their heart and mind for the happiness and feelings of their female relatives and just go for another solution like trying to make changes with respect to the safety and wellbeing of “driving Saudi women”. They could start to implement regulations and an infrastructure which would guarantee a beloved person’s safety (here in Europe we have for instance underground parkings equipped with monitoring cameras which are reserved for women only). So anywhere on Saudi roads, where a problem could be expected, there could be safety personnel to assist and help the women in need of assistance. At the beginning of such a programme, there could for instance be certain hours of the day reserved for driving women. There could be special traffic lanes reserved for women and and and… These are just thoughts and I am sure there are many more good solutions which traffic regulators could think of…..Where there is a will…there is a way…..!
        In that line of thought it would appear to be reasonable to start to implement a belief system that not a male guardian relative is needed at all times outside the home….but that the entire society should act as a guardian to its people in trouble on the road (accident, attack or any other harm). In such a system …..females AND males would feel safer when driving.
        So much for this reply and please Jean disregard many of my other comments on this blog (especially the later ones) which in hindsight are total rubbish. They were written in a pub where I was offered wine by pub people after officially exiting the religious community I belonged to for 9 months and which is not recognised as “muslim” by Saudi Arabia or Iran.
        As I was not used to alcohol anymore, I got totally tipsy and wrote utter rubbish and behaved like a twat on several occasions I visited this pub (I had no wifi in my home at the time).
        In this respect, also sorry to all bloggers on this site.
        Karin Muller

  8. roxanaaguilera

    En paises del caribe (cuba) la sociedad lucha por la igualdad de genero , pero el cambio tiene q ser desde cada hogar,cada grupo familiar las mujeres tienen q pasar a sus hijos amor y educacion . Actuar para prevenir pre-conceptos , Hombre no es superior a la MUJER. .y viceversa.
    Mi admiracion al coragem de esas mujeres q defienden su independencia y a los hombres q luchan para esto.
    LA DEMOCRACIA no esta opuesta al ISLAM !!!.

  9. One Great Mom

    I have lived in KSA for 20 years, When the laws are applyed and there are women police I would consicer driving. Proper manners on the road are needed to keep everyone safe and then we will gladly join the men behind the wheel. People are trying to put the horse before the cart here. A law-abiding enviroment will automaticly be a place women will drive. My husband would gladly have his wife drive in the USA but never in the “wild wild west, chaos that is the present state of driving in KSA. He loves me that much.

    • Selima

      And yet you are a passenger. How is that magically safer?

      • You are acting irresponsible towards the safety of your children. People likeyou madam should be muslim by now. Do you speak arabic? Do you do your duty as a good muslim. Is there alcohol to be found in your house? Do you separate men from women indoors. I would like your identity madam. I know people who could advise you on this. Please indicate your adress in KSA. I can help. We can send a good driver for your children. Please indicate adress and time to fetch them. Telephone of your husband required please. Thank you for your patience.

  10. Admin

    Reblogged this on .

    • Thank you Admin for your support. Please update me on your work. Thank you

    • Karin Muller

      Dear Admin ….I would be very grateful if you deleted all my comments on this blog except the one above in the reply to JeanSasson. Most of my other comments posted in 2013 are pretty rubbish and I am sorry for any inconvenience or offense I might have caused to anyone. Thank you very much in advance.
      Karin Muller

      • Admin

        You’re turning to the wrong admin. This is not our blog. You need to contact the actual admin of this blog.

  11. What is your natinality madam. British or American?

  12. It is not a Keeper of the Book’s place to be profound on the laws of KSA as I know it is can be resented and slotted as the opinions of a “infidel”,,a Socialist,,a Marxist or even an Anarchist. KSA is an absolute monarchy which treads carefully in the World of Islam..Its punitive side is quite severe to us softened “infidels” and in our secular nations we err on the side of physical leniency in the most evil scenario’s. Women in RSA seem to have by religious and State law little say in the marital sphere so are dependent on the scraps of ‘freedom” allocated by their menfolk and the allocation of even death seems to us outsiders as very severe. To women I would say the men who are willing to put their own safety in jeopardy are quite admirable but ” when you do the crime you have to be prepared to do the time”. Is their very future now ruined?.. I also know for single women escape is full of dangers and for married women impossible. The alternative is to plead for a low cost taxi service for women which could be utilised rather than driving yourselves. Yesterday I was at a dinner put on by my local parish for volunteers and my wife and I were at a table consisting of a nun, a 85 year old widowed lady, a widowed man of 70 and another single lady of 60. The women were complaining about the quality of priests,, the Roman curia and the lack of real outlets for women.. I informed them that as women do most of the work they could go on strike and let the celibate priesthood look after them selves. There is nothing punitive that can be done for such an action in our secular society.. That is a luxury which you KSA women may not have and there is a certain hopelessness to your plight. I have noticed that there are women who are happy with the status quo and therein lies the roadblock to reform. May your God protect you all.

  13. OyiaBrown

    Reblogged this on Oyia Brown.

  14. MizLiz

    I have checked the internet and cannot find out the latest news on Tariq. Could someone please translate the latest Twitter feeds if they are about him. He is in so many of our prayers. Has he been released?

  15. Yussuf Ayoub

    I would like to know more on Abdulkareem Al Johaiman. Hope to read u on him next time!!!

  16. Hey, i’d like to reblog this post, can u make it possible?


    • Karin Muller

      Could someone reveal exact identity of Mrs Wilson or flag her. She is trying to provoke apostasy reactions which entail beheading. Only someone from the vice police in medina, mecca or rhyad would do this. This an US or uK spy working for the Iranians (shiite). Careful of this person in this channel. Identify or remove!!!

  18. Admin

    Do whatever you like to women:

    — “Your women are your fields, so go into your fields whichever way you like . . . .” (MAS Abdel Haleem, The Qur’an, Oxford UP, 2004)

    — The Prophet said, ‘I looked at Paradise and found poor people forming the majority of its inhabitants; and I looked at Hell and saw that the majority of its inhabitants were women.’ [Shahi Bukhari, Narrated Ibn ‘Abbas, Volume 1, Book 2, Number 28]

    — “I heard the Prophet saying. ‘Evil omen is in three things: The horse, the woman and the house.’ [Al-Bukhaari (5093) and Muslim (2252) narrated from ‘Abd-Allaah ibn ‘Umar]

    — Once Allah’s Apostle went out to the Musalla (to offer the prayer) o ‘Id-al-Adha or Al-Fitr prayer. Then he passed by the women and said, “O women! Give alms, as I have seen that the majority of the dwellers of Hell-fire were you (women).” They asked, “Why is it so, O Allah’s Apostle ?” He replied, “You curse frequently and are ungrateful to your husbands. I have not seen anyone more deficient in intelligence and religion than you.” [Shahi Bukhari, Volume 1, Book 6, Number 301, Narrated Abu Said Al-Khudri]

  19. Reblogged this on lydia7777's Blog and commented:
    Bravo men you’re the best.

  20. Pingback: Le donne saudite, il divieto di guida e la protesta

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