Tag Archives: Saudi Arabia

It’s Business As Usual in Saudi Arabia… And Other News

Saudi Arabia King

The King of Saudi Arabia, King Abdullah, has died at the age of 90, weeks after being admitted to hospital with a lung infection.

His half brother and heir to the Saudi throne, Prince Salman, is 79 years old and is also in very poor health – meaning Saudi Arabia will be back in the same spot in a few years. Within hours of acceding to the throne, the newly appointed King Salman, vowed to maintain the same policies as his predecessors. “We will continue adhering to the correct policies which Saudi Arabia has followed since its establishment,” he said in a speech on state TV. So… intolerance of free speech, gender discrimination and multiple beheadings? The Guardian

Hitler MustacheFurther proof it’s never a good idea to don a Hitler mustache: the head of the German anti-Islamisation movement Pegida has stepped down after a picture of him posing as Adolf Hitler went viral. In addition to the Hitler pose, Lutz Bachmann made some disparaging anti-refugee comments on Facebook in which he reportedly described immigrants as “cattle”, “scumbags” and “trash”. Pegida spokeswoman Kathrin Oertel said the anti-refugee comments went too far but the “Hitler” photo was totally fine and that it was a “joke” and “satire, which is every citizen’s right”. Nevertheless, the German government was not pleased. Vice-Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel said: “Anyone in politics who poses as Hitler is either a total idiot or a Nazi. Reasonable people do not follow idiots, and decent people don’t follow Nazis.” Fair enough. BBC News 

Annual March For Life Protests 1973 Roe v. Wade Ruling In WashingtonYesterday marked the 42nd anniversary of Roe v. Wade, in which the US Supreme Court ruled women had the freedom to terminate a pregnancy if they desired, ending once and for all America’s abortion debate – minus the four decades of passionate debate that followed. Yesterday was no exception to the ongoing abortion fight. Anti-abortion protesters marched in Washington as the US House passed a bill to tighten restrictions on abortion. Although an earlier bill to ban abortions after 20 weeks was scrapped, the Republicans did manage to pass a more limited measure to forbid the use of taxpayer money for abortions. The White House has said it will veto the legislation – arguing it “unnecessarily restricts women’s reproductive freedom and consumers’ private insurance options” – making the whole thing a fruitless endeavour. But since the US is still sharply divided on the issue of abortion, with polls suggesting Americans are about evenly split four decades after the Roe v Wade, politicians and citizens alike will continue to squabble over the issue or years to come.  New York Times

Climate Change Senate 1The US Senate passed an amendment on Wednesday saying climate change is real and not a hoax – because the only way to decide if something is a scientific fact is by having politicians vote on it. The measure, stating that “climate change is real and is not a hoax”, passed by a margin of 98-1. The lone dissenter was Senator Roger Wicker from Mississippi. Sigh… Although to Mississippi’s credit, their other state Senator, Thad Cochran, voted yes – possibly because he’s old enough to have witnessed all the cyclical trends since the last ice age. The whole climate science squabble broke out during debate over amendments to the bill to approve the Keystone XL pipeline. Democrats wanted Republicans to admit that climate change is real and that human activity plays a role. But while Republicans were willing to admit that climate change isn’t a hoax, many refused to admit that human activity is a factor. Two other amendments (which needed 60 votes to pass) failed: “human activity significantly contributes to climate change” failed 50-49 and “human activity contributes to climate change” failed 59-40. Still, progress…? The Hill

Leave a Comment

Saudi Businesswoman Fined For Driving Herself to the Hospital

Saudi woman driving

Aliyah Al-Farid, a Saudi businesswoman and member of the National Society for Human Rights (NSHR), was fined by police after she drove herself to the hospital to receive treatment for a medical condition. A woman driver? What’s next? A woman doctor?!

In Saudi Arabia, it is not illegal for women to drive on the road, but it is illegal for them to be granted a driver’s license – which pretty much wipes out the former law. As the Quran says, “No woman shall operate a motor vehicle. Ever.”

But Al-Farid claims no one else was available to drive her when she began to experience the medical emergency.

“I told the traffic officers that I had to drive because it was an emergency case,” Al-Farid later told reporters.

“I didn’t do it on purpose and I’m not after fame or media hype. I was very sick and that was it,” she said.

The Saudi police were very understanding and allowed her to proceed to the hospital. But waited for her outside…

When she emerged from treatment, four police cars were waiting to escort her to the local Traffic Department office. While at the station, Al Farid, who has reportedly been caught driving twice before, paid the fine for driving without a license but refused to agree to a police request to never drive again.

The Saudi businesswoman owns a centre caring for people with special needs and on occasion must rush her patients to hospital.

“We can’t leave an epileptic patient convulsing on the ground while waiting for our male driver to come and transport him to hospital.”

“I have to get behind the steering wheel and do it,” she explained.

So… what are Saudi women supposed to do if they are home alone and have a medical emergency? Sit there and die? Well, considering this is the same country where religious police forced schoolgirls back into a burning building because they weren’t wearing the correct Islamic dress, I guess the answer is yes.

Leave a Comment

The Steubenville Rape Case Isn’t Over Yet… And Other News

Steubenville Trent Mays, Ma'lik Richmond

If you thought the Steubenville rape case was over when two teenage boys were convicted of the crime, you were mistaken.

Now four new charges have been filed in the Steubenville case against four school employees, including the school superintendent. The superintendent, Michael McVey, was charged Monday with tampering with evidence, obstruction of justice, and falsification in the alleged 2012 rape of a 16-year-old girl. Also in the hot seat are assistant volunteer football coach Michael Belardine who has been indicted on charges of allowing underage drinking, obstruction, falsification, and contributing to unruliness, Steubenville elementary school principal Lynnett Gorman who has been indicted on a charge of failure to report child abuse, and wrestling coach slash teacher Seth Fluharty, who has also been indicted for failure to report child abuse. Moral of the story: don’t try to help rapists – even if they are Steubenville high school football players. CNN

Riga supermarket foor collapsePlot twist: Latvian president Andris Berzins is calling Thursday night’s supermarket collapse MURDER. The shopping mall roof collapse in Riga, Latvia, left 54 people dead and seven missing. The collapse, which took place when the mall was packed with after-work shoppers, is thought to have been caused by the garden being constructed on the roof of the mail. Apparently, the weight of the soil was too much for the roof. Following the collapase Andris Berzins called on foreign experts to investigate the situation. “We cannot call it a natural accident, because nature wasn’t involved. The evening was calm and silent with a little fog. This is our own made disaster,” Berzins said. BBC News

Saudi JulietA modern day Romeo & Juliet: Middle Eastern style. A Saudi woman illegally crossed the border to Yemen to be with her Yemeni lover. The two lovers, who have been living in an immigration detention centre since their arrival, decided to elope and flee to Yemen after the girl’s family rejected the idea of marriage. The woman, known as Huda, has now been given UN protection on the grounds that she could face mistreatment, even death, at the hands of her family if returned home and is now likely to get refugee status. In Yemen, the case is being celebrated as a modern-day Romeo and Juliet story, but over in Saudi Arabia, the government is calling for her to be deported. BBC News

Morocco RapeSpeaking of tragic love stories (minus the love), Moroccan activists are trying to repeal a law that exonerates rapists who marry their victims after another Moroccan teen committed suicide after her family forced her to marry her rapist. According to Article 475, a rapist can avoid a prison sentence by marrying his victim. After the latest victim ,a 16-year-old, was raped by another minor, her family, not wanting their daughter to be thought of as damaged goods, negotiated with the rapists family and proposed the two get married. Apparently this didn’t sit well with the young victim and she decided that taking her own life was a better option. Solid choice. Al Jazeera

Adam LanzaAfter a nearly year long investigation into last year’s shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, no clear reason has been found as to why 20-year-old Adam Lanza killed 20 first graders, six adults, his own mother and then himself. The exhaustive 48-page report released by Connecticut police, reveals that investgiators are still stumped over Lanza’s motive. All they could come up with was a history of mental-health issues, a “strong interest in firearms” and a “preoccupation with mass shootings.” Lanza apparently enjoyed violent video games, including one called “School Shooting” – but he also liked “Dance Dance Revolution” so that kind of cancels the shooting game out… The report wasn’t a total loss though. Investigators did determine that Lanza acted alone – so at least we know there aren’t any more crazy child shooters out there roaming the countryside of Newtown, Connecticut. For now. New York Times

Leave a Comment

Saudi Arabia Thinks It’s Too Good For The United Nations Security Council

Saudi Arabia UN

Just hours after it was elected to one of the 10 non-permanent seats on the United Nations Security Council, Saudi Arabia gave the U.N. a slap in the face and rejected their seat.

Apparently Saudi Arabia has better things to do with its time than deal with an ineffective international body incapable of resolving the world’s conflicts. Their words, not mine.

In its long list of U.N grievances, Saudi Arabia criticized the Security Council for failing in its duties towards Syria and other Middle Eastern conflicts, condemned what it called “international double standards” on the Middle East, expressed anger over the Obama’s new cozy relationship with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, and accused the U.N. of allowing the Syrian government “to kill its own people with chemical weapons... without confronting it or imposing any deterrent sanctions”. Ouch. However, if you’re declining a seat on the Security Council because you’re angry the U.N didn’t authorize a war in Syria, then maybe you don’t belong on the Security Council to begin with…

Regardless of whether or not they should be there, the Saudi foreign ministry said the U.N. needs to be reformed before it will join.

“Saudi Arabia … is refraining from taking membership of the UN Security Council until it has reformed so it can effectively and practically perform its duties and discharge its responsibilities in maintaining international security and peace,” said a Foreign Ministry statement issued on state media.

The unprecedented move left diplomats a little surprised. Who would reject such a coveted seat? But no one was more shocked at the decision than Russia, who holds a permanent, veto-wielding seat:

“We are surprised by Saudi Arabia’s unprecedented decision,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement from Moscow, “The kingdom’s arguments arouse bewilderment and the criticism of the U.N. Security Council in the context of the Syria conflict is particularly strange.”

Russia and Saudi Arabia have never been the best of friends but their traditionally testy relationship has taken a turn for the worse in recent years over the Syrian conflict. Maybe Saudi Arabia figured if they ever tried to become more assertive in resolving the Syrian war and further their support for the Syrian rebels, Russia would just veto them into oblivion.

Via: BBC News

Leave a Comment

In Saudi Arabia, Driving Causes Ovary Damage

Saudi woman driving 17/6/11

As activists continue to push for the Saudi ban on women drivers to be lifted, Saudi clerics must find creative new scare tactics to keep women off the roads.

One conservative Saudi cleric, Sheikh Saleh al-Lohaidan, is leading the way with his comment:

“If a woman drives a car, not out of pure necessity, that could have negative physiological impacts as functional and physiological medical studies show that it automatically affects the ovaries and pushes the pelvis upwards,” Sheikh Lohaidan said, not citing any studies to back up his claims (spoiler alert: there aren’t any).

“That is why we find those who regularly drive have children with clinical problems of varying degrees.”

As one of the 21 members of the Senior Council of Scholars, Sheikh Saleh al-Lohaidan is able to advise the government and write religious edicts. The influential conservative is known for his opposition to reforms that increase freedoms for women, so it’s no surprise he’s against the latest campaign to lift the driving ban.

As of now, only men are permitted to acquire driving licenses in Saudi Arabia and women caught driving can be punished through fines and arrests (which isn’t too bad for Saudi Arabia, the land of beheading). Activists have been trying to end the Islamic kingdom’s male-only driving rules for decades now. The latest campaign, which has spread throughout the social media world, calls for women to defy the driving ban on October 26 – if, of course, they want to risk damaging their ovaries… from the severe beating Sheikh Saleh al-Lohaidan will give them when he catches them driving.

Via: NBC News

Leave a Comment

Saudi Princess Charged with Human Trafficking

Meshael Alayban

Damn princesses think they can do whatever they want. A Saudi princess has been accused of holding a domestic servant against her will at her condo in California.

Meshael Alayban, 42, the Saudi princess who prosecutors said is one of the six wives of Saudi Prince Abdulrahman bin Nasser bin Abdulaziz al Saud, faces one felony count of human trafficking. If she’s just one of six wives, think how many other slaves there are out there!

Alayban was arrested after a 30-year-old Kenyan woman escaped her condo on Tuesday and made her way to the police. The Kenyan woman claims the original deal was 8 hours of work, 5 days a week, at $1,600 a month – so basically minimum wage. But after Alayban hired her, she took the woman’s passport, made her work twice as long and only paid her $220 a month.

My client was a slave to this woman,” said Steve Barick, a lawyer for the accuser.

“She wasn’t able to freely move about. She had her ability to move in and about the country taken away. She was intimidated. She was promised one thing when she was in another country and when she was brought here that was changed. She was overworked. She was underpaid.”

Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas said that the Kenyan woman was subjected to “forced labour,” and compared Saudi Princess Alayban to a slave owner.

“It’s been 150 years since the Emancipation Proclamation, and slavery has been unlawful in the United States, and certainly in California, all this time, and it’s disappointing to see it in use here,” said Rackauckas, who had requested that Alayban’s bail be set at $20 million.

Sadly, the bail didn’t get set quite that high. The princess was released on Thursday after paying a mere $5 million in bail. If she had just spent a fraction of the bail money on paying her employees she probably wouldn’t be in this mess. Something to think about Saudi princesses, something to think about.

Still, it shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that Saudis (especially the princesses) treat their domestic slaves like crap. In 2002, Saudi princess Buniah al-Saud, who was living in Florida, was accused of pushing her maid down a flight of stairs and in 1995 another Saudi princess, Maha Al-Sudairi, allegedly beat a servant in front of sheriff’s deputies – which also happened in Florida… 

Via: The National Post

Leave a Comment

Saudi Cleric: Working Women Should Be Molested

Saudi Cleric

A Saudi cleric / writer is facing backlash over his Tweets, urging followers to sexually harass working women in order to protect their chastity. Makes sense.

Abdullah Mohamed al-Dawood, a Saudi cleric and writer who has almost 100,000 Twitter followers, is advocating harassment as a way of discouraging women from working in mixed-gender work environments. More specifically, he urged his Twitter followers to sexually molest women hired to work as cashiers in big grocery stores, using the hashtag “harass_female_cashiers”.

Al-Dawood’s campaign to force women to stay home and protect their chastity has been met with outrage. Hundreds of Saudis and other Arab tweeters attacked him, some asking him what right he had to stop women working, asking, “what kind of person urges the youth to commit debauchery?” and suggesting he harass his own wife and leave others alone.

Others, however, have applauded him and his crusade to preserve the country’s deeply conservative Islamic identity. While Saudi women have long worked in all-female workplaces, it is now becoming more common for them to work in public places alongside men. This is not sitting well with the conservatives, al-Dawood included, who continue to fight against government efforts to westernize (i.e corrupt) Saudi Arabia.

The Saudi cleric justified his call to sexually harass working women by using an obscure story from the early days of Islam. In the story, a famous warrior, Al Zubair, does not want his wife to leave the house so he hides in a dark alley, waiting for her to appear. When he sees her, he runs up and molests her in the street. The wife, now terrified of the outside world, rushes home and vows never to leave again. Well, that’s a lovely, f*cked up story.

Via: Gulf News 

Leave a Comment

Religious Extremist Rehab: New Solution to Terrorism?

Religious Extremist Rehab

Saudi Arabia has opened luxury ‘religious extremist’ rehab center in Riyadh for Al-Qaeda militants, hoping to wean them off their terrorist ways.

The religious extremist rehab centre includes spa treatments, sessions with counselors, talks on religion and plenty of exercise. Militants will enjoy an Olympic sized swimming pool, a sauna, a gym, and a television hall. Good behaviour could earn them a two-day break with their wives. This sounds even better than Lindsay Lohan’s idea of rehab.

The new complex is the brainchild of the Prince Mohammed bin Nayef Centre for Counselling and Care, a body set up seven years ago to rehabilitate extremists jailed during a Saudi crackdown on the local branch of Al-Qaeda. Another rehab centre has already opened in the western port city of Jeddah, and three more are set to be built. What sets the new Riyadh complex apart from the other centres is its luxury element.

Fundamentalist prisoners will have to go through one of these rehab centres before they can be released into the wild.

“In order to fight terrorism, we must give them an intellectual and psychological balance… through dialogue and persuasion,” said the director of the rehabilitation centres, Said al-Bishi.

Said al-Bishi is convinced the program works and that only a small percentage of fundamentalists will rejoin the deviant minority. The rest will go on to live fulfilling non-fundamentalist lives in Saudi Arabia. Unless they are deemed too good-looking – then they will be deported.

Via: Agence France-Presse

Leave a Comment

Men Deported from Saudi Arabia for Being “Too Handsome”

Too Handsome for Saudi Arabia

Three men were forcibly removed from the annual Janadriyah culture festival in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia and subsequently kicked out of the country after religious police officers deemed them “too handsome”.

Happens to me allll the time.

The three men, delegates from the United Arab Emirates, were minding their own business when member of the mutaween, the country’s religious police, confronted them. Why? Because the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vices feared they were so sexy that female visitors would find them irresistible and fall for them.

The handsome trio was swiftly deported back to Abu Dhabi and Saudi Arabia was once again filled with only homely men.

Festival officials were also suspicious of the unexpected presence of an unnamed female artist who was with the group of UAE men.

“Her visit to the UAE stand was a coincidence as it was not included in the programme which we had already provided to the festival’s management,” said UAE delegation head Saeed Al Kaabi in his apology to festival officials.

In the ultraconservative Saudi Arabian society, women are forbidden from interaction with unrelated males. Also on the banned list: driving. And apparently handsome men.

Unfortunately, there are no pictures of the men accused of being too sexy for the country. But I imagine they are really, really, ridiculously good-looking:

Too Handsome - Zoolander

Via: The Telegraph 

Leave a Comment