Tag Archives: Sheikh

Saudi Arabia: Cleric: Women Driving Ban Protects Against Evil

The grand mufti of Saudi Arabia says the country’s long-standing ban on women driving protects society from “evil”.

 

The grand mufti of Saudi Arabia has said a ban on women driving in the conservative Gulf state protects society from “evil”, AFP reported on Thursday.

Sheikh Abdul Aziz bin Abdullah al-Sheikh, in a speech delivered Wednesday in the western city of Medina, said the issue of giving women the right to drive should not be “one of society’s major concerns.”

The kingdom’s most senior cleric called for “the matter to be considered from the perspective of protecting society from evil” which, according to him, included letting women drive.

His comments came as activists said they had been assured by Interior Minister Prince Mohammed bin Nayef that authorities were reassessing the controversial Saudi ban on women drivers.

“Rest assured that the issue is being discussed, and expect a good outcome,” the minister was quoted as saying by activists who met him.

The absolute monarchy is the only country in the world where women are barred from driving, a regulation that has drawn condemnation from the international community.

Prince Mohammed stressed that the ban was “a matter to be decided by the legislative authority”, the activist, Aziza al-Yusef, told AFP.

Saudi Arabia has an all-appointed consultative Shura Council, with no elected parliament. The council makes recommendations to the government, but the king remains the absolute legislator.

“We expect a royal decree that gives us this right,” Yusef said.

A long-standing campaign aimed at getting the Saudi Arabian driving ban lifted has recently urged women to defy the ban.

Many women have driven since the campaign was launched in 2011, some of them have posted videos of them doing so, and many have been arrested and forced to sign a pledge that they will never drive again.

Last year, a Saudi women’s rights activist filed a lawsuit against the country’s interior ministry over the ban.

Last month, at least 16 women were stopped by police during a driving protest day and were fined and forced along with their male guardians to promise to obey the kingdom’s laws.

In addition to the driving ban, Saudi women are forced to cover themselves from head to toe and need permission from a male guardian to travel, work and marry.

Human rights group Amnesty International recently released a scathing report which levels harsh criticism against Saudi Arabia, accusing it of failing to live up to its pledge to improve human rights.

11-Year-Old Child Bride Debates Muslim Cleric Who Supports Child Rape

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muslim feminism3

It’s not a direct debate. No matter how poised Nada Al-Ahdal may be at 11 and her video, which went viral, and interview certainly show that she is, that kind of debate isn’t going to happen. But the back and forth format is effective enough.

We’ve seen debates between Muslim clerics and women’s rights advocates. But this is far more devastating. It doesn’t help that the cleric is sweating like a pig and couldn’t be creepier if he had come from central casting, especially once he begins talking about marrying his own daughter off when she reaches puberty.

Interviewer: “How old were you when they married you off?”

Nada Al-Ahdal: “Ten years old.”

Interviewer: “How old was the man who married you?”

Nada Al-Ahdal: “26 years old.”

Interviewer: “When they told you they wanted to marry you off, what did you know about marriage?”

Nada Al-Ahdal: “They told me it was a game, but it isn’t. It turns you into a servant, and places a burden that is greater than you can bear on your shoulders.”

Interviewer: “[Your parents] told you that marriage was a game?”

Nada Al-Ahdal: “Yes.”

Interviewer: “Do you know how much the bridegroom paid [your parents]?”

Nada Al-Ahdal: “Yes.”

Interviewer: “How much?”

Nada Al-Ahdal: “2,000 dollars.”

And then we get to the genuinely creepy stuff as the cleric comes on.

Egyptian cleric Sheikh Abu Yahya: “There is a difference between contractual marriage and consummated marriage. A contractual marriage can take place from day one. From the moment the baby girl is born, takes her first breaths, and is given a name, her guardian, who is her father only – and there is consensus about this in the Muslim world – is allowed to marry her off. This is an accepted custom, and perhaps even my grandparents and your grandparents married this way. The boy is kept for the girl, and vice versa.

“This marriage – a contractual marriage or engagement – is permitted [at this age]. As for consummation of the marriage – it is not permitted until the woman is ready to bear it. A guardian who acts otherwise is harming the girl under his charge.”

Interviewer: “At what age is she ready for him?”

Sheikh Abu Yahya: “This varies from girl to girl. One girl may be ready at the age of nine, and another may not be ready even at 25.”

Interviewer: “If you had a girl who reached puberty at nine years of age…”

Sheikh Abu Yahya: “I would marry her for sure. If she has reached puberty…”

Interviewer: “You would marry her off?”

Sheikh Abu Yahya: “If you say she has reached puberty, that’s it.”

#KSA Saudi Arabia: Driving affects ovaries and pelvis, sheikh warns women

Saudi women seeking to challenge a de facto ban on driving should realize that this could affect their ovaries and pelvises, Sheikh Saleh bin Saad al-Luhaydan, a judicial and psychological consultant to the Gulf Psychological Association, told Saudi news website sabq.org.

Driving “could have a reverse physiological impact. Physiological science and functional medicine studied this side [and found] that it automatically affects ovaries and rolls up the pelvis. This is why we find for women who continuously drive cars their children are born with clinical disorders of varying degrees,” Sheikh al-Luhaydan said.

Saudi female activists have launched an online campaign urging women to drive on Oct. 26.

More than 11,000 women have signed the oct26driving.com declaration that says: “Since there are no clear justifications for the state to ban adult, capable women from driving. We call for enabling women to have driving tests and for issuing licenses for those who pass.”

Sheikh al-Luhaydan urged these women to consider “the mind before the heart and emotion and look at this issue with a realistic eye.”

“The result of this is bad and they should wait and consider the negativities,” he said.

Twitter reaction

Al-Luhaydan’s statement drew immediate reaction on social media, with many Saudis ridiculing his “great scientific discoveries.” An Arabic Twitter hashtag “Women_driving_affects_ovaries_and_pelvises” was created and is going viral among Arab users.

Female twitter user @Shams_AlShmous sarcastically applauded the sheikh’s “exclusive scientific achievement.”
A female user with the name of Ms Jackson @B_B1ack tells everyone: “What’s your understanding of physiology, leave it to our Sheikh al-Luhaydan”.

Another female @Mshaal80 asked whether al-Haydan “studied Shariah, medicine or foolishness.”

Not part of Sharia

The head of kingdom’s religious police said last week that the “Islamic sharia does not have a text forbidding women driving.”

Sheikh Abdulatif al-Sheikh stressed that since he was appointed as head of the Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice religious police have not pursued or stopped a woman driving.

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