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.
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.
Posted in Barack Obama, Conservatives, George Bush, Human Rights, Islam, Military, Multicultural, Muslims, Peace, Politics, Republicans, United States, US Foreign Policy, War, World News
Tagged Bush legacy, Iran, Saudi Arabia
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.
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?
Posted in Asia, Gender Issues, Human Rights, Islam, Multicultural, Muslims, Peace, Politics, War, World News
Tagged muslim converts, Saudi Arabia