1 September, 2014 AsiaNews.it Twitter AsiaNews.it Facebook            

Help AsiaNews | About us | P.I.M.E. | | RssNewsletter | Mobile





mediazioni e arbitrati, risoluzione alternativa delle controversie e servizi di mediazione e arbitrato
e-mail this to a friend printable version


» 05/07/2007
SAUDI ARABIA
“A good wife must live in fear”
Women are forbidden to drive, to show their head and to speak in public, and to shake a man’s hand. On television, preachers incite husbands to beat their wives “for their own good”. Saudi journalists describe the countless prohibitions facing Muslim women in their country and appeal for a distinction between religious truths and social customs.

Riyadh (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Without permission, women cannot even drive a car or change the colour of their clothes, and television preachers warn that women who shake a man’s hand are committing “adultery of the hand”. Citing such examples, Saudi journalists have criticized the social mentality that rules the relationship between wife and husband.

In the Saudi daily Al-Watan, Fatima Al-Faqih described the many bans imposed on Saudi women: “[They] are forbidden to drive, forbidden to travel without permission [of their husband or father or whoever has authority over them] , forbidden to stay alone at a hotel without permission, forbidden to name their own children without [a man's] consent... forbidden to leave their homes or to take a job without permission... forbidden to change the color of their abayas [traditional, long tunic], forbidden to go to school or to the university without permission.”

In some Saudi cities, a woman cannot even “show her face”, she cannot get married without permission nor can she “remain married if one of her male relatives decides that her husband's lineage is inferior to hers... nor can she sue for divorce without apologizing and paying a fine.” Without permission, she “cannot keep her children after the divorce... hold a senior position in the private or public sectors... annoy her husband, and finally, a woman's voice is considered [a form of] defilement, and she is forbidden to speak in public.”

Many men, writes Hasna Al-Quna’ir on the Al-Riyadh daily, justify the inferiority of women by resorting to a “distorted reading of the sayings of the Prophet”, a tactic often used by television preachers. For example, there is a verse that says: “A tribe that nominates a woman [as leader] will not succeed”. The journalist explained that on the strength of this saying, an expert said on television that wives should not be asked for their views as they were completely emotional. Another television expert, to “defend the virtue of women”, “incites fathers, brothers and husbands”, telling them that “a girl who is not beaten from an early age grows up to be a rebellious woman, difficult to control” and that “a woman who leaves her home without a veil is like a woman who goes out naked”. The same preacher warned Muslim women that not covering their heads was “the main reason that women are seduced and fall [into sin].” Another preacher said the woman “who shakes the hand of a man that is not her husband is guilty of... 'adultery of the hand'”. The journalist said that the sayings of the Prophet needed to be considered in the “historical circumstances and particular context” in which they were pronounced and that “religious duties” had to be distinguished from norms of social conduct that were controversial and not subject to dogmas of faith, “like the custom of covering the face”.

Due to this culture, writes Maha Al-Hujailan on the Al-Watan, “women live in constant fear… that the husband may take another wife.” “Only women living in this fear properly fulfill the role of the wife, while a woman who feels assured that her husband will not take another wife comes to disdain her husband and her family life...This culture causes a women to feel mentally and psychologically inferior, like a quarrelsome child who must be constantly supervised, intimidated and punished into performing her duties.”

The journalist said that women who felt this way may even believe that “a good man who respects them is nothing but a weak and unstable man... In their opinion, an ideal man is a violent one who humiliates his wife.”

Hasna Al-Quna’ir added: “The woman is the victim of this insular culture, and her only salvation would be a reorganization of the cultural structure of [our] entire society."


e-mail this to a friend printable version

See also
03/14/2005 SAUDI ARABIA
Saudi women to get ID cards by 2006
03/11/2009 SAUDI ARABIA
Prison, whipping for 75-year-old widow: her nephew brought her bread
08/13/2009 SAUDI ARABIA
Saudi Activist: gender equality, the first step to a true social development
10/19/2012 SAUDI ARABIA
Saudi Arabia: 35 women on the Shoura Council
08/28/2004 SAUDI ARABIA
Reformists' trial postponed because of courtroom protest

Editor's choices
IRAQ-ITALY
"Adopt a Christian from Mosul," the thanks of the Patriarch Louis Sako; the concerns of the Bishop of Kurdistan
by Bernardo CervelleraThe head of the Chaldean Church is grateful for the AsiaNews campaign and hopes that "this chain of solidarity will reach far and wide”. Helping refugees to remain in Iraq. But many want to flee abroad. The bishop of Amadiyah where thousands of displaced people have found haven in churches and homes: We also help the Arabs (Muslims), and Yazidis, for free and without looking at our confessional differences.
ITALY - IRAQ
"Adopt a Christian from Mosul" to respond directly to Iraq's emergencyAsiaNews is launching a fundraiser to support Christians targeted by the Islamic State, thus responding to a request by the Patriarch of Baghdad and Pope Francis's urgent appeal "to guarantee all necessary assistance - especially the most urgently needed aid - to the great multitude of people who have been driven from their homes, whose fate depends entirely on the solidarity of others." More than 100,000 people have been forced to flee their homes leaving everything behind and now have nothing to live on. To help them, five euros a day are enough. The funds raised will be sent to the Patriarchate of Baghdad, which will distribute them according to the needs of each family.
CHINA - VATICAN
Wenzhou bishop and priests slam government's campaign against crosses and churches in Zhejiang
by Eugenia ZhangFor Mgr Vincent Zhu Weifang, from the official Church, the campaign of destruction is increasing social instability. It is real persecution against the Christian faith. The bishop apologises for failing to intervene sooner. He was hoping that the campaign would end quickly. Catholics and Protestants suffer injuries as they attempt to defend their sacred buildings. For priests in Wenzhou, the campaign is unfair and touches buildings that have all the right papers. Such "stupid acts" by the government are undermining social harmony.

Dossier
by Giulio Aleni / (a cura di) Gianni Criveller
pp. 176
by Lazzarotto Angelo S.
pp. 528
by Bernardo Cervellera
pp. 240
Copyright © 2003 AsiaNews C.F. 00889190153 All rights reserved. Content on this site is made available for personal, non-commercial use only. You may not reproduce, republish, sell or otherwise distribute the content or any modified or altered versions of it without the express written permission of the editor. Photos on AsiaNews.it are largely taken from the internet and thus considered to be in the public domain. Anyone contrary to their publication need only contact the editorial office which will immediately proceed to remove the photos.