Ms. magazine  -- more than a magazine a movement

SIGN UP FOR MS. DIGEST, JOBS, NEWS AND ALERTS

FEMINIST WIRE NEWSBRIEFS

ABOUT
SEE CURRENT ISSUE
SHOP MS. STORE
MS. IN THE CLASSROOM
FEMINIST DAILY WIRE
FEMINIST RESOURCES
PRESS
JOBS AT MS.
READ BACK ISSUES
CONTACT
RSS (XML)
 
feminist wire | daily newsbriefs

May-20-10

Saudi Woman Fights Back Against Religious Police

A Saudi Arabian woman who punched a religious police officer who was questioning her for illegal socialization with an unrelated male may face prison time and lashings. The couple, reportedly in their twenties, were walking in an amusement park in the city of Al-Mubarras when they encountered the police officer. According to AOL News, the young man collapsed for unknown reasons while being questioned.

Saudi women's rights activist Wajiha Al-Huwaidar told the Media Line that "To see resistance from a woman means a lot...People are fed up with these religious police, and now they have to pay the price for the humiliation they put people through for years and years. This is just the beginning and there will be more resistance," reported the Jerusalem Post. She continued, "the media and the Internet have given people a lot of power and the freedom to express their anger...The Hai'a are like a militia, but now whenever they do something itís all over the Internet. This gives them a horrible reputation and gives people power to react."

The legal guardianship system in Saudi Arabia requires that women, both minors and adults, must be accompanied by a male guardian outside the home. If women wish to conduct themselves in public business, work, or to drive, they must obtain permission from or be accompanied by their male guardian, who may be her husband, father, brother, or even a minor son, according to Human Rights Watch. The Saudi Arabian government promised in June 2009 to follow United Nations suggestions to remove this restrictive system, but has not made this change.

In March, another Saudi Arabian woman, Sawsan Salim, was sentenced to 300 lashings and one and a half years in prison for filing harassment complaints about government officials and appearing in court in the northern Qasim region without a male guardian present. Salim woman appeared without a male guardian because her husband, her sole male family member, was in prison at the time. A similar case occurred in March 2009, when Khamisa Sawadi, an elderly Saudi woman, was accused of fraternization with men after two men outside of her family brought her bread. She was sentenced to 40 lashings, 4 months jail time and deportation. In February 2008, an American business woman was arrested for being in the family section of a Starbucks in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, with a male colleague.

Media Resources: Jerusalem Post 5/17/10; AOL News 5/18/10; Feminist Daily Newswire 3/3/10; Human Rights Watch 3/2/10


© Feminist Majority Foundation, publisher of Ms. magazine

If you liked this story, consider making a tax-deductible donation to support Ms. magazine.

 

 

Send to a Friend
Their
Your
Comments
(optional)


More Feminist News

4/24/2014 Mississippi Governor Signs 20-Week Abortion Ban Into Law - Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant signed a bill into law yesterday that bans abortion 20 weeks after a woman's last menstrual period, effectively at only 18 weeks. "With the women and families of their state facing extreme poverty, unacceptable rates of maternal mortality, and skyrocketing teen pregnancy, Mississippi's elected officials have more than enough real work to do to bolster women's well-being in their state," said Nancy Northrup, CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights, in a statement. . . .
 
4/23/2014 Supreme Court Upholds Michigan Affirmative Action Ban - The Supreme Court yesterday upheld a Michigan state constitutional ban on affirmative action for women and minorities in public education, employment, and contracting. The decision in Schuette v. . . .
 
4/22/2014 US Ranks 16th in 2014 Social Progress Index - The Social Progress Imperative recently released its 2014 Social Progress Index, ranking the United States in 16th place among 132 countries. Harvard Business School Professor Michael Porter, a Republican who led the report team, told CNN's Fareed Zakaria that he was surprised by the ranking. . . .