Tag Archives: Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia And Forces Of Terrorism

Saudi Arabia has most probably spawned more terrorists than any society in the world. Its education system gave birth to Osama bin Laden and fifteen of the 19 World Trade Center bombing. Saudi schools teach a narrow interpretation of life which depicts non-Muslims as evil and disparages their religious beliefs. Pakistani Madrassas, which are heavily funded by Saudi Arabia, are hotbeds of radicalism and terror. Saudi Arabia is among the few places in the world in which women can not drive a car and the nation’s laws grant to husbands power over the lives of their wives.However, King Abdullah is determined to make changes in the educational system before he dies– or dies in the effort?

The king placed new people in charge of the ministry of education and even appointed a woman to a key position and gave them orders to create a modern education system. Mohammed Youssef, a professor of education at King Abdulaziz University, says, “we have been calling for such changes for a long time.” Everyone knows that one of the most important reasons for terrorists emerging from Saudi schools is they are taught the language of hate rather than of respect for other views and religions.

Reformers want to change textbooks to eliminate hate, explain in an intelligent manner the ideas of other people and societies, and draw upon modern concepts in science. King Abdullah seeks to create a new university centered on technology and science which would be open to both males and females, both sexes would be in class together, and many restrictions on women would be waived. If the king can pull this one off, he will impact not merely education, but the very basis of his society.

A Woman Trapped In Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia is among the countries which allegedly are engaged in the fight to stamp out terrorism in the world. However, it is also a country in which sharia law is evident regarding the treatment of women. Nathalie Morin, a Canadian woman, fell in love with a man from Saudi Arabia and returned with him to his homeland. She has three children with the Saudi man and is now trapped in limbo in an apartment in Saudi Arabia where she must obey her husband and can not even leave to go outside without his permission. In a recent call home to her mother, Nathalie said: “I want to come back to Canada” but she cannot leave without permission of the husband. The Canadian government insists it contacted the Saudis who sent someone to investigate and all they discovered was a happy man and woman.

Nathalie came back twice to Canada but returned to Saudi Arabia where the children were living with dad. The Canadian government insists she returned on her own free will, but in prior cases, she did not have her children with her in Canada. She told her mother of an abusive relationship that she could not escape due to the children being under the control of her husband.

This is simply another case of the rights of women in Saudi Arabia. After all, Saudi Arabia is the nation which funded militant groups all over the world which have created chaos and destruction. Perhaps, if Saudi Arabia truly supported democracy within its own nation, it might support democracy in other nations.

Saudi Arabia To Regulate Girl Marriages

Saudi Arabia is caught in the vise of duality since society gives parents extensive control not only of who their daughters will marry, but at which age the marriage will occur. There are numerous examples of a young child being married to an older man because parents need or desire the marriage. Recently, a court refused to nullify the marriage of an 8 year old girl to a 58 year old man. Justice Minister Mohamed al-Issa believes the government has to prevent this sort of abuse. He said the justice ministry aims to “put an end to arbitrariness by parents and guardians in marrying off minor girls.” However, he did not indicate support for ending the very concept that parents could marry off a little girl. A court last week upheld for the second time the marriage of the Saudi girl to the older man.

Many clerics will oppose any changes in denying parents the right to make decisions concerning the marriage of young girls. The UN organization, UNICEF, noted: “Irrespective of circumstances or the legal framework, the marriage of a child is a violation of that child’s rights.” Oh well, this is Saudi Arabia, a bastion in the fight against terrorism and undemocratic forces.

Saudi Leader Blasts US Policy On Iran

Americans have a tendency to view the world through their own lens and assume the rest of the world shares the same perspective. Prince Turki Al-Faisal told a group in Jordan the region was still suffering from the “sickening legacy” of George Bush which allowed Iran to assume a dominant role in the Middle East. The prince was a former Saudi ambassador to America and head of its Intelligence, and he expressed the view of many Saudis about the impact of American actions on the rise to power of Iran. He described Iran as a “paper tiger with claws of steel” since it does not have a strong economy and its political structure is still very weak.

The prince recalled a statement made in 2003 by Prince Saud to the Council on Foreign Relations in which he described the American invasion of Iraq as “essentially handing Iraq to Iran.” The American people were sold a bill of damaged goods by George Bush, Fox News and the media about Iraq that has resulted in wiping out Iran’s enemies and making it the source of funding of Islamic terrorism in the region.

Saudi Arabia Cracks Down On Shiites

The kingdom of Saudi Arabia is mainly populated by Sunni Muslims, but about ten percent of the people are Shiites. A cleric, from the Shiite area of Saudi Arabia which is located in the heart of oil and wealth but whose Shiites live in dire poverty, has denounced the government and threatened violence unless Shiites are treated equally. Cleric Sheikh Nimr Al-Nimr spoke out during Friday prayers by exclaiming: “Our dignity has been pawned away and if it is not restored… we will call for secession. Our dignity is more precious than the unity of this land.” Since his comments more than 35 people have been arrested and the cleric has gone into hiding. Police are setting up checkpoints leading into Awwamiya, a key area of Shiites. Other Shiite leaders have distanced themselves from the cleric but also insist the government must do more to establish Shiite equality in a land that denies them job opportunities in government or the armed forces or in industry.

The hardline Wahhbi school of Islam is the official state religoin and Shiites are considered to be infidels. There is growing fear as Shiite Iraq becomes more stable it will seek to assist its fellow Shiites in Saudi Arabia. Saudi Shiites warn the government it is time to address prejudice against them in Saudi Arabia or fear growing radical ideas and leaders emerging in the coming years.

Saudi Great Lingerie Boycott

A group of Saudi women are organizing a campaign to boycott lingerie stores on grounds they refuse to hire women as salesclerks and this compels females to feel embarrassed. The goal is to push for implementation of a 2006 law which says only female staff can be employed in women’s apparel stores. Boycotters want women to only purchase lingerie at the few women-only lingerie stores as a mark of solidarity with their fellow women. The female only stores do not have windows which prevents men from peering in to see women touching or doing something with lingerie.

There are times when to the outside world one wonders exactly how the government and culture of Saudi Arabia prioritizes its issues of concern. War, famine, the fight for a Palestinian state and a few other minor issues might be lingering around, but to some Saudis the topic of today is lingerie and who sells it. Pull down the shades.

Is Saudi Arabia An Ally Or Enemy?

During the past decade as the world engages more frequently with terrorist groups, there is a strange silence regarding the role Saudi Arabia has played in formenting terrorism in the world. Saudi money has paid for thousands of religious schools in which young boys are taught to hate the West, Christianity and Israel. Check the lives of Pakistani terrorists and many received education in one of these Saudi financed schools. Chorbishop John Faris on Ethiopia decries the surge of Saudi supported schools which are proliferating in Ethiopia and Eritrea. He points out these two nations “have a 50% Christian population with a Christianity that is so old that it retains Jewish customs such as keeping kosher.” The Bishop believes there is a Saudi program to build dozens of mosques in the two nations in order to further the conversion of their people.

Of course, every religion has the right to seek converts, but in Saudi Arabia’s case the form of conversion also entails getting boys into schools where they are indoctrinated with anti-western ideas and a belief in sharia law which places women in secondary place in society. Exactly how does the Saudi drive for Muslim education assist world efforts to eradicate terrorism and hate?

Moderates Alive In Saudi Arabia?

King Abduallah of Saudi Arabia has a sense of what is transpiring in the world although his nation’s religious leaders still prefer inhabiting the word of the 15th century when all was good and women knew their place–submit to men. The King weakened the hold of Islamic hardliners by appoiinting the first woman to a ministerial post and dismissed a leading fundamentalist cleric and the head of the nation’s powerful religious police. He apparently is frustrated with the pace of reform and moving Saudi Arabia into the 21st century where it is necessary to draw upon the talents of all members of society, including women. Abdullah dismissed Sheik Ibrahim al-Ghaith, head of the Commission of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice, which has adopted a position that leaves women at the mercy of religious police in the course of their everyday lives.

Noura al-Fayez was elevated to the new post of deputy minister of women’s education. The women’s education ministry had a reputation of being corrupt and incompetent. Abduallah is most probably going to bring into the government more moderate and open minded clerics.

Saudi Arabia Appoints Woman To Ministerial Position

The appointment last week of a woman to an important ministerial position raises questions as to whether King Abdullah is trying to make some dramatic shifts in the nature of his kingdom. The selection of Ms. Norah al-Fayez is an indication the King is disappointed with the religious police and hard liners who spend their time harassing young people for doing ordinary things like walk in a mall. Religious police have embarrassed Saudi authorities angry by chasing young people in the streets and forcing them into mosques for prayers, and they have grossly violated the rights of migrants whose work is vitally important to the nation.

The replacement of the conservative chief justice Salih al-Lihaidan was another sign of frustration on the part of Abdullah who wants to move his nation into the 21st century. A modern society can not simply ignore half of its citizens and hope to be productive. There is a new generation of Saudi leaders waiting to assume greater control for directing the nation. They know oil will not last forever and there is need to develop high tech components to the economy and educate youth for a global world.

Turkish President Blasts Islamophobia

Palestinian leaders have been arguing with Israel for decades and during the same period have been bitterly opposed to one another. Turkish President Abdullah Gul, made clear there would be no success in establishing a Palestinian state until all factions agree to cease their infighting and unite in the pursuit of diplomatic victory. He was the first foreign born Muslim to address the Saudi Arabia Consultative Council and he spoke in support of the Saudi proposal for recognition of Israel in exchange for withdrawal to the 1967 borders including evacuation of the West Bank. But, he made clear conflict within the ranks of Palestinians has made difficult achieving Palestinian goals. Gul emphasized Palestinians had to embrace one another because “division among Palestinians is the heaviest dynamite in the foundations of an independent Palestinian state.”

Gul went to great length to make clear the Muslim religion is NOT one of terrorism or violence. “We’ve never had any business with terrorism; however, terrorists may emerge from (all) societies, from every religion.” Perhaps, it is time for Israeli leaders to reach out in peace with Muslim leaders who seek reconciliation and compromise. But, Israel, must accept the principle of compromise and giving up some of its goals.