The message is loud and clear, you, the Arab girl, is inferior to your brother. What does that do to self-esteem on the long, one can only imagine.
A leading Saudi preacher believes the Facebook website is a ‘door to lust’ A woman was beaten up and shot dead by her father for talking online with a man she met on the website Facebook. The case was reported on a Saudi Arabian news site as an example of the “strife” the social networking site is causing in the Islamic nation. It said the man shot his daugther after discovering she had been chatting online to a young man she had met on Facebook.? Security sources assured Al-Arabiya.net that the father beat up his daughter and then shot her dead,? it said. A leading Saudi preacher told Al-Arabiya.net that Facebook was a “door to lust” for women and called for it to be blocked to prevent social “strife”. Sheikh Ali al-Maliki said women were posting “revealing pictures” and “behaving badly” on the site, which has become popular with young Saudis. Internet engineers said that young Saudis were using Facebook to flirt and make “web-cam calls”. Saudi Arabia imposes an austere form of Sunni Islam which prevents unrelated men and women from mixing, bans women from driving and demands that women wear a headscarf and cloak in public.
Women in Saudi Arabia are using Facebook and other networking sites to chat to men One female Saudi Facebook fan told The Mail that blocking the site would be pointless because people would simply switch to similar sites. The 27-year-old woman, who did not want to be named, admitted many young Saudis used Facebook to get in touch with members of the opposite sex. ?In Saudi Arabia, we live more of a virtual life than a real life. I know people who are involved in on-line romances with people they have never met in real life,? the woman said. ?And many of us use Facebook for other things, like talking about human rights and women’s rights.
“We can protest on Facebook about the jailing of a blogger which is something we couldn’t do on the streets.” Engineers also told Al-Arabiya.net that there were Facebook pages for homosexual and lesbian relations. Homosexuality is illegal in Saudi Arabia and is punished by flogging, jail or even death. The Saudi authorities block access to websites they deem sexual, pornographic, politically offensive, “un-Islamic” or disruptive because of controversial religious and political content.
But Syria is the only Arab country so far to have blocked Facebook. When the ban was enforced in December, Syrian media said it was to prevent Israeli users from infiltrating Syrian social networks.
Let’s think about it…taking the culture and customs into consideration, who really has it better in Saudi Arabia? The Man or the Woman? True, women cannot drive but that means a man is expected to either transport the woman where she needs to go or to provide a driver for her. The Saudi man is expected to take care of the woman. For example he is to provide her housing, clothing, furnishing of the house in a manner to which she is accustomed. He is also expected to give her spending money for herself and which she is not accountable. On the other hand if the Saudi woman is working, her income is her own. She is not mandated to share it in any way with her husband. Her savings are her own.
Interestingly I was chatting with some Saudi friends about this very topic. The predominant view among them (male and female) was that the female had it better than the man. The man has more pressure and responsibilities attached to the fact that he is a man. He must work; he must provide; he should not ask his wife for contributions or expect her to contribute. The Saudi guys shared that in their observation the women enjoy having their needs met by the men and most women realize they are treated like a queen in that regard.
Most women are provided with a housemaid, a driver and no pressure applied to them to contribute financially to a household. As a result it is not unusual for many of these women to enjoy taking various classes at either universities or other institutions and perhaps at some juncture taking a part time job. Why not since the majority of tasks within the home are overseen and taken care of by the housemaid. The man on the other hand not only has to provide for his wife but is usually expected to provide for his mother and sisters too (especially if they are widowed). The Saudi men with whom I have spoken feel that a woman cannot understand the constant pressure they are under as the primary provider for so many view women as cherished and cosseted.
The author of “The Girls of Riyadh” is doing the US media circuit to promote the new publication of her book in English. Here’s a taste, but make sure to read the whole profile:
Finding love in Saudi Arabia is practically impossible, especially for young Muslim women.
That’s the premise 25-year-old author Rajaa Alsanea tackles in her novel, “Girls of Riyadh,” which has already created a stir throughout the Arab world.
“In Saudi, there are a lot of restrictions,” she said during an interview at the University of Illinois at Chicago’s College of Dentistry. Alsanea is pursuing a master’s degree in oral sciences before returning to Riyadh to live with her family, practice dentistry and continue writing fiction.
“We’re living in the 21st century, and there are still traditions from the 19th century, and that’s just insane,” she said. “You have the Internet … and freedom of speech. You have modern schools and modern hospitals. And everything around you is digital. And yet you have to go through all this pain when you want to get married.”
…”It’s my obligation to try to fix things in Saudi. I’m not trying to fix the government or Islam. What I’m trying to fix is mentality, how people think. It’s the traditions,” she said. “These traditions either [need to] loosen up, or we should get rid of them.”