Thursday, February 1, 2007


This is almost too unbelievable to be true. Unfortunately, it is reality in much of the world.
A woman in Saudi Arabia has no right to choose her husband; she is forced to marry whomever her family chooses and, what is most shocking of all, a Saudi woman can be divorced from her husband against her will if that is the wish of her family.
If only this were the unusual exception and not a fact of life.
She [Fatima] is the woman who was happily married to a husband whom her father approved of; after his [her father's] death, however, her half-brothers decided she should divorce Mansour since, in their eyes, he was not her social equal.
Absurd? Not in Saudi. Prejudiced? Not in Saudi.
And they [the half-brothers] set about going to the court and divorcing the couple even though Fatima and Mansour were happily married with two children.
Courtesy of the Saudi legal system.
The court has ruled in favor of the half-brothers so the couple is now “legally” divorced.
Believe it or not, she was divorced in absentia by a judge at the request of her half-brothers. Fatima is currently in jail for breaking the Saudi law of being alone with a man (her "ex-"husband Mansour) that now is not her husband.
The couple now have two young children, a one-year-old boy, who is with Fatima in prison, and a two-year-old girl, who is in Mansour’s custody.
If that is not enough, the half-brothers are in court to get legal custody of Fatima.
Now Fatima is facing being forced into her brothers’ custody who are threatening to revive the accusation of “khulwa”, or being alone with Mansour, for which they were originally arrested.
For which, whether actually guilty or not, they can justafiably kill her (a.k.a. "honor killing").
She now has to face being given over to her brothers, being charged for being alone with her husband (as the court ruled that they are divorced), and having to live with the feeling that her life has been taken away from her unjustifiably and by force..
Chances are she won't get the chance to live with that feeling. This gives new meaning to the notion of "being treated like a piece of property".
A woman is not secure in her marriage; she is at the mercy of her brother, or half-brother or any male relative who can tear her life apart and get a court to support the action.
At least there is outrage at the injustice in the article.
Where and when will this madness stop?
Not anytime soon.

Here's a similar story with a slightly better ending.
A young Saudi woman living in the UK went to a hospital with injuries and it turned out that she had been beaten by her husband. The woman doctor at the hospital was very sympathetic and supportive and listened carefully to the details of the assault; she did not hide her anger or disgust at the man who did this. She then alerted the social services and also reported the matter to the police. The police began investigating and used the woman’s own statement. No one told her, “We can’t believe you because you don’t have proof” which had happened to her previously in the Kingdom. The police sent a team to arrest the husband and the woman was absolutely incredulous. “I can’t believe that they are listening to me, believing what I said and actually acting,” she exclaimed.
She can't believe that, as a woman, she actually has a voice and rights.
Her amazement increased with each passing day with calls from social services and the police, checking to see that she was living comfortably and that her children were all right and offering any help that she needed.
Wow, she's being treated like a...PERSON. And now, the predictable backlash.
All of this support occurred at the same time she began to get threats from her husband’s family in Saudi Arabia. You see, she had dared to complain. His family has threatened to take her children away from her as soon as she returns to Saudi Arabia.
And guess what? They can do exactly that if they feel like it. Not because they have a right to but because as a woman, she cannot demand her rights in the Kingdom.
Meanwhile, the world, busily obsessed with labeling Israel an "apartheid" state, is silent at the institutionalized gender apartheid practiced by Islamic countries and communities around the globe.

Obviously Israel is the root of all of the world's problems.

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