jeudi 8 décembre 2011

Saudi Arabia: The steering wheel and virginity.


Sentenced to ten years of blows for driving in Jeddah.

         On September 26, 2011, Ms. Sheima Jastaniah was sentenced by a court in Jeddah to receive 10 lashes for having defied the ban on women driving in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
         "I was summoned to court in Jeddah (west) and I received an official notification of my sentence of ten lashes for taking the wheel,"
said Sheima Jastaniah.
          Amnesty International condemned the sentencing of Sheima, saying it illustrated "the extent of discrimination against women"
according to a statement of the Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa Philip Luther.
         The conviction had occurred the day after the historic announcement by King Abdullah of granting women the right to vote and stand in municipal elections and entering the Majlis al-Shura, a consultative council whose members are appointed . Despite their frustration at having to wait four years before they can vote, Saudi women have unanimously welcomed the decision of the sovereign.
         "Allowing women to vote in municipal and be a member of the Advisory Board is important, but if it still needs to be whipped for exercising his right to freedom of movement the reforms announced with great fanfare by the king lose value,"
said the statement of Amnesty International.
         On September 28, 2011, a Saudi princess announced that King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz had overturned the conviction of the young woman to ten lashes.

A distant dream even for a princess

         "God thank you, the flogging of Sheima was canceled. Thanks to our beloved king,"
announced on Twitter the Princess Amira Tawil, wife of billionaire Walid bin Talal, a nephew of the king.
         Princess Amira Tawil had reported in February 2009 in an interview with Saudi newspaper Al-Watan's frustration because of the prohibition from driving in Saudi Arabia, saying it was ready to take the wheel as soon as the government the permit.
         "I am certainly ready to drive. I have an international license and I drive in every country I visit,"
she told the newspaper.
         "I want to drive here with my sister or my friend at my side instead of a driver,"
she had said.
         Her husband has repeatedly called for greater freedom for women in Saudi Arabia.
Saudi Arabia is the only country in the world that forbids women from driving. They also can not travel alone. They must be accompanied in their travels outside their place of residence of a male guardian.

Goodbye virginity, hello divorce and pornography!

         Mr. Kamal Subhi, ultraconservative former professor at the University of King Fahd sent a document to the Religious Council of Shura that advises King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud. In his paper, he says without hesitation that allowing Saudi women to drive, the end result of virginity, prostitution, divorce, pornography and homosexuality.
         "If this freedom is given to women, nor will most of the virgins in ten years,"
he wrote.
King Abdullah, who attempts to reform religious timidly stiffness in his kingdom promised that he would grant the right of women to vote in municipal elections of 2015.
A promise that raised waves in ultra-conservative circles.
         On the other hand, the Conservatives say they are considering a law requiring women to cover their eyes attractive faces completely in public places in the kingdom of the Persian Gulf.
         Shaykh al Motlab Nabet, a spokesman for the Saudi Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, said the bill has already been the subject of formal discussions. The committee said that the law allows the government to prevent women from revealing "tempting" eyes in public .

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