Saudi Teenage Girl to be Flogged and Imprisoned?

On 20 January global news sources report that a 13 year old Saudi girl is sentenced to 90 lashes and two months imprisonment for having a hidden mobile (cell) phone at school, which is strictly against the all-girls school regulations.  In fact, the article states that in order to teach all the girls at the school a lesson, she is to receive the flogging in in the presence of her fellow classmates.  Now I am going out on a limb here since I do write posts in advance and I actually am composing this on 20 January.  For starters I believe the media is overreacting as it is a sensational story as written.  However I do not believe there will be an imprisonment.  Could you imagine a 13 year old girl imprisoned for two months (yes, that’s 60 days) because she snuck a mobile phone to school?  Is a young teenage girl getting caught with a hidden crime so heinous that she would be removed from school for two months in order to be exposed to tougher and hardened criminals for 60 days?  I don’t think so.  I also doubt whether she will receive 90 lashes.  This is not the way to teach a lesson to a young female girl.

What would I suggest?  I propose that if it is a strict rule that the school prohibits mobile phones then have the school withhold her mobile from her for 90 days rather than 90 lashes.  And in regards to the two month imprisonment, perhaps having her write a daily essay of 100 words for 60 days on why it is important to follow the school rules.  That is my view on the subject.  And I hope by the time this post is posted we do know whether the initial proclamation was actually carried out as initially reported.

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110 Responses

  1. There are reports that the girl was actually 20 years old. But they could be invented to make the verdict sound less callous.
    She is also reported to have ”accepted” the punishment. But then we all know what happens if you do not ”accept”: You get the double number of lashings.

    Saudi judges sure get off on giving women lashes.
    Doesn’t matter how young or how old.
    They love giving all women a taste of torture. And not just the pain inflicted, the humiliation is what they aim for as well. They love humiliating women.
    They like to break women’s spirits. Puts them in their place. As obedient servants to men.
    Lashing women seems to be a typical saudi fetish.

    I like your suggestions. They are far more reasonable. And they would be instructive. They would accomplish something positive.
    And that is why they will never be adopted. No saudi judge would get off on such a reasonable and appropriate ”punishment”.

  2. Not that it makes the verdict sound less callous, but it’s important that we at least know the truth. It might not make much of a difference whether or not the girl was 13 or 20; she is still a (young) woman whose punishment is disproportionate to her offense.

    Violence is never the answer. The purpose of a punishment should be carefully examined: to teach a lesson so that everyone learns from it. Violence only teaches fear, pain and more violence.

    It’s a shame, this could’ve been the perfect time to set an example of forgiveness and learning. I wonder if there are any other suggestions for a more reasonable punishment that don’t sound so idealistic or unrealistic, considering what we already know (and seemingly accept) about how society works here.

    Maybe counselling? I honestly don’t know.

  3. I’m genuinely curious…is it more common for Saudi women and non-Saudi men to get sentenced to lashings as compared to Saudi men?.

    If Saudi men trangress what kind of punishments are meted out to them by the judges?.

    The reason I ask is that I get the impression, from the media, that the behaviour of all women, and non-Saudis, is far more rigorously enforced than the behaviour of local Saudi male population.

  4. I went to the Saoudi Gazette to read the rest of the story.

    Do all-boys schools have the same no cell phone restrictions?
    If the answer is no, then this suggests [again] there is in Saoudi society a bias towards boys/men. This is not right as both men and women have gifts to society.

    In my view, flogging does not belong in the 21st century or in a compassionate, loving [islamic] society.

  5. there is even more left out of the story. The girl took a hard cup and attacked her headmistress by smashing it over her head.
    Her punishment was because of both reasons. Al-Watan was the first to publish the story, and where most of the reports were based off of, but here is a version from a news source in english that tells more about it… http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/worldnews/article-1244689/Saudi-girl-13–sentenced-90-lashes-took-mobile-phone-school.html

  6. I also think it needs to be said that it isnt that mobile phones arent allowed in girl schools, but that no camera phones are allowed in girls schools. There are girls who take pictures of the others girls without their permission and use them to blackmail and shame the other girl. (because in school the girls dont have to be covered, because obviously it is all girls)

    I think prison might be a bit much, but I think she definately needs to be punished fairly severely, for the attack, not the phone.

  7. geez, The more I look at this, the more sensationalized I realized the story has become… The girl will not even be in prison, she is going to get 90 lashes, and 2 months DETENTION not imprisonment.

  8. any story about floggings in saudi tend to by sensationalised in the western press. We cant even be sure what the story is. And if it is as thepricncessgirl mentioned- she attacked her teacher, then she deserves punishment.
    And Allah swt knows best.

  9. “Lashing women seems to be a typical saudi fetish.”

    How does the verdict of an idiotic judge encompass all Saudis? I wish we can be more proactive, but you have the freedom to speak out against issues you oppose. We don’t have that luxury in Saudi Arabia; if you oppose something, you have to let it fester inside you. Although, some do speak out, and we’ve seen what happens to them. They’re jailed for months, or even years at a time with minimum interaction with their family remembers, and the repercussion of their actions don’t only fall on them, but seem to effect the family at large. People on this blog seem to think it’s so easy to bring about change in a restrictive country. Have you forgotten why figures such as Martin Luther King, Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, and Margaret Sanger are held in such high regard? These people were truly special, they broke the mold that confines most of us. Sure, it’s easy to type a comment on this blog regarding how appalling the treatment of women in Saudi, and discredit Saudis for being apathetic about the whole situation, but at the end of the day that does no good. It’s so much easier to have “save the woman” as your name, but how does that help? If Saudi Arabia’s treatment of women truly disgusts you, why not start a home grown effort in your own country to call on your government to stop dealing with Saudi Arabia until they change their stance on human rights. Everyone can play a part in making this world a bit easier, safer, and more peaceful to live in for the short time we’re here.

    @theprincesgirl

    The story needs to be promoted, do you honestly believe lashing is still needed in this day and age? Her crime in no way fits the punishment that the judge handed over. If she really did assault the principal, why not sentence her to a couple 100 hours of community service? I think that will have a lasting effect, instead of whipping her, which only reinforces violence.

  10. She was older, and the teacher had to go to the hospital.

    There was a judge I read about who started giving alternate punishements. It was well recieved based on what I heard. I know he had some naughty youth going around cleaning public restrooms or something. I thought it an excellent idea.

    It would seem also the girl would be expelled from the school or something.

    I actually know someone whose driver has been lashed (drunk driving)- and apparently they stuck to all the rules- elbow at sides, no inflicting harm- mostly a symbolic thing. I have no idea how that may or may not generalize- but it is the only -almost- first hand thing I know.

  11. Yes, Sandy is correct about the lashings. It’s not to inflict pain. they do not lash you hard.

    If the girl is 13 she will be placed in a juvenile detention center.

    i have a class of extremely modern (chanel abaya wearing…gucci down) saudi women. we discussed this case and they ALL agreed that it was the right thing to do. they felt that if she got away with attacking a teacher than all the girls would follow. remember this is a conformist society. mokey see monkey do. i do not blame them.

    in the states i was a career social worker. i worked at the largest juvenile detention center in america. trust me BLACK kids came in their for a lot less! though the children were not lashed and part of my job was as their advocate and i had many of the attenndants hate me because i often filed reports against them for abusing the residents, the majority of the staff felt that the residents should receive corpaoral punishment. the recidivism rate was overwhelming.

    i think the west should focus on their own problems and stop pretending to be the worlds answer to humantarianism.

    one more thing. in my neighborhood their was a store called al pars. al pars was owned by italians. it was known that they hired off duty cops and big black bouncers as security. if you got caught stealing from al pars u could only pray that the police would come and save u because they wouldn’t call the police…they would take u to the back room and u woukld wish u only gotr 9ashes in front of your peers.

    it worked too. u had to be out of your mind to steal froim al pars.

  12. 13 year olds whether boys or girls do not go to prison. They have special facilities where all of them are put into areas that have people of their same age and gender.
    Another thing is that the woman in this case is actually over 21, she was born on 23rd/5/1410 Hijri. Plus she had taken a dalah (arabic metal pot for coffee) and hit the principal over the head with it. The principal was so injured that she had to be carried out on a stretcher. All this because her camera cell phone was confiscated as is the regular procedure at all girl schools in Saudi Arabia.

  13. @ Margaret, it doesn’t matter if boys have cameraphones because boys can show their face and there is no shame for the boy or his family if his photo gets out. Now for a girl it can have very serious repercussions if a picture of her face gets circulated. As seen in the last post, a girls face is an object shame to herself and her family.
    If a malignant girl were to take a photo of another girl at school, where she is uncovered, then the reputation of thie girl would be ruined.
    So it is right that cameraphones are not allowed in girls schools.
    The principal was right to confiscate the phone.

    @ Broke Saudi, I should have written a fetish for saudi judges. That is my belief. I do believe they get off on the fantasy of a woman being lashed and humiliated.
    I am tired of having it festering inside that’s why I started a blog. To rant. And yes, under a nom-de-plume. And using proxies. Because I don’t want to land in prison either.

    @ Sandy and UmmAdam, maybe you can be lucky and they do hold a quran under their arm but I wouldn’t count on it. I have heard other stories.
    But the secondary part of the punishment is the humiliation. That’s why they are public. Why this girl is going to be lashed in front of her classmates.

    It is still very primitive and barbaric punishment.

    Click this link to see the effect of soft lashing on a maid who was punished for being a rape-victim
    http://atlasshrugs2000.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8341c60bf53ef01156fc99965970c-500wi

  14. I didn’t look. But I did say that I don’t know how generalizable my example is. I do wonder if type of enforcement varies by gender and crime. If they feel sorry for the poor person who was weak- or if they’re angry and feel they need to really teach a lesson. I really don’t know.

  15. I went to boarding school in my country of origin and corporal punishment was used in every single school there for just about anything.
    I’m talking from wearing the wrong colored shoes to talking back to the teacher, to being late for classes.
    Students who did not pass their exams were kept back a grade til they did and it still goes on now.

    There was an experience I had where 2 boys were caught stealing from other students and I promise you, they got their backsides whipped in front of the whole school, the police were called and they got whipped again. And in truth, they most probably got whipped by their parents too for the shame of their crimes.

    It may seem harsh to some that people are punished in such ways but these methods can be very effective as deterrants, examples and form of punishment that stop re- offending.

    A lot of parents believe in smacking children for disobedience, naughtyness or whatever else they see as bad behaviour but it is usually a last resort or the “crime” was so severe, that the only form of punishment the parent may have thought was appropriate was a good whooping. And not all parents lose control to the point of “lashing out” for lack of better word.

    (Since I do not know much on this case, I’m not presuming that it is/ is not justified)

    The point is, in some communities punishments such as this does work on many levels for the community as a whole.

  16. Hum, If this girl really freaked out (while knowing she did wrong in bringing a cameraphone in) and knocked the headmisstress unconcious then I do not see where the advantage of corporal punishment comes in.
    The worst that can happen to you in a Dutch school is detention and a letter to your parents and yet such behaviour as I have read is customary in saudi school would be unheard of in the Netherlands.

    No I’m sorry. I agree with others that this is a barbaric way of treating students and the evidence and comparison with more civilised societies points more to a hardening and exaggarated violent behaviour as a deterrent.

    Of course a society which cannot solve problems in an intelligent way, but has to resort to violence and corporal punishment has still a long way to go.

    Having to repeat the year when not passing your exams seems logical to me. How is a student supposed to move on to a higher level if they did not understand the lower level?

  17. @ Save the Women!

    why are you linking a photo from the blog of a right ring moron I doubt that woman in the photo is what you described

  18. i was born, raised and educated in the so-called civilised U s of A. My kindergarten teacher would keep me under her desk with my mouth taped shut the whole day and then send me home with my face buised after violently ripping the tpe off! My 1st grade teacher routinely lined the boys up and administered corporal punishment in front of the girls…toi inflict pain and humiliate them. This same 1st grade teacher snatched me off of the toilet with my pants still down, after Linda Johnson the bathroom monitor a my supposedly good friend reported me for singing. I was then dragged down the hall my my ear and thrown against the vice principles wall and later sent home with a huge knot on my forehead. Each time my mother complained she was the one made to feel out of line. Good ole Chicago Public School.

    I guess if it weren’t for hidden cameras Americans would swear they aren’t barberic! Get over yourselves!

  19. Umm Adam,
    That is completely irrelevant to what happens in Saudi Arabia. If something is right- it is right- if it’s wrong it’s wrong. That your school was barbaric in no way makes Saudi less so.

    Get over ourselves??? You are totally an American yourself!

  20. Corporal punishment was norm when I was growing up & it meant that we never misbehaved as not only the teacher punished u, parents would punish once u got home.

    Let’s say we never made the same mistake again…. and take a look at kids now, no respect, no fear.. they do as they please as they know they will get away with it. A scolding here & there and stupid time out.

    While this is case of a female student is being highlight, male students were lashed a few yrs back for attacking their teachers. Good job judges, those who don’t respect teachers, don’t deserve any respect or leniency.

  21. Ummadam, you have told us something before about your youth, you come from a very bad place. But you have risen above all that, and moreover built a safe home for your children.
    Anyway, I don’t think the abuse you suffered at school would have helped you do that. I would think that it is more your own strength that got you to rise above.

    Do you consider the treatment you had to suffer helpful? Or very wrong?

    Sandy, good points.

    AbuRumaisa, Corporal punishment is forbidden by law in the Netherlands, and yet I was a model student.
    I think corporal punishment for the most insignificant little mistake would have made me very angry and rebellious.

    The fact that children are brought up to believe that beatings and humiliations are ”normal”, and are therefore prone to meet out the same abuse to their own children in their turn doesn’t make it a good idea. It could be one of the reasons Saudi society is so dysfunctional.

  22. @Aafke – you are very perceptive, verbal and corporal abuse is common in KSA, and does create a dysfunctional society. After years of coddling, the little boys are sent off to the “menfolk” at the advanced age of 8. They are then subjected to a system based on machoism (is that a word?) and a pecking order based on age. I heard it is quite brutal. So, guess what they do when they get their very own wives and children??? yep…

  23. sandy and aafke, right or wrong are not my points. my point is trhat the commentors from the west keep portraying the west as civilised and saudi as barberic.

    aafke, i come from chicago. if it were noyt for islam i would have never left it. it’s my kind of town. my husband recently visited my family in chicago for the first time. he thought it was great. if by saying that i came from a very bad place…means…well it means that i come from the 3rd largest city in america. mid america and it means that i probably have seen more than what the suburbanites have.

  24. o ands i’m not in agreement with corporal punishment in school….in general. but a 21 year old woman attacking her teacher is another story.

    i actually had a saudi boy slap my daughter once. i ran out of my house without my abaya on (i had my prayer garment on) and over to his house. after screaming and hollaring at his mother, i called the police. when the plice came they tried to calm me down by saying they are only children (the boy was 11 or 12 and my daughter was 7). the adult brother came outside and asked me what did i want. i said i want him slapped like he slapped my daughter! he then knocked the boy around a bit and sent him in the house. i still wasn’t satisfied….

  25. ummadam, I did not mean Chicago as a place, I meant from the few glimpses you have given us I understood you had a hard childhood and that you have not let that slow you down. The abuse, for it is abuse, you suffered at your really stupid school is not good for any child. I think you are really cool in not having let such treatment push you into a bad direction.

  26. o yeah…he slapped her with a water hose for getting into an arguement with his sister who was also older than my daughter!!

    another time a saudi boy was teasing my husband in the store and told my nephew that my husband was a kafir. word got back to the boys father about what happened in the store and about 5 minutes after my husband came in, the boy and his father were at our door (as americans its easy for strangers to track u down…not a good thing). the father made the boy apologise to my husband and to humiliate. him he made the boy kiss my husband from head to toe and offered to beat him! i know…wierd bujust to show u that nobody has a fetish for lashing women. the photo on thios post is completely inappropriate

  27. I also went to Chicago public schools and it was a very violent time and place though I have much love for Chicago.

    At that time the Chicago public schools were the worst in America. I don’t know what is true today.

    Chicago didn’t make me want to follow any authoritarian govt or religion. It didn’t make me want to cover and it didn’t make me a Muslim. It made me stronger in wanting to fight any kind of oppression and it made me feel I could fight oppression.

    Chicago was a strange place. The fact that you could get killed actually made people polite. You learned respect as a give and take. You give it, you can expect to get it, if you don’t, that is a Problem.

  28. I did not study in the West and in my schools corporal punishment was forbidden, though in many other schools it was practised. But the fact that it is practised in many places does not mean that it is right – everywhere it is wrong. The problematic part of Saudi system is that they use lashings as a norm for children, adults, men, women, foreigners and Saudis, without discrimination, which is really an inhuman and outdated mode of punishment and must be changed.

    Here, the age or the gender of the student does not matter at all – not even the question whether she was a student or professional. The point is that this punishment is inhuman and meaningless and should not be there as a part of the system.

  29. Daisy I don’t know where you get your “facts”: Children do not get lashed or flogged or whatever. It is extremely well known that it is against the law to hit a student. There was even a case of a daughter of a very high profile official, she was a principal of a public school and she hit one of the students. When the parents complained, the principal was demoted and transferred as punishment. Not even her wasta could help her because that is considered a serious offence her.
    Teachers hitting students is against the bylaws of the Education Ministry and that IS a fact.

  30. Just so we’re clear, there are plenty of kids that did not (and do not), have to be smacked or bullied (by parents or teachers), into behaving. I assure you, my own behavior growing up (straight A student, never into drugs, never dated, etc), had nothing to do with the fear of being beaten, but merely a reflection of my own values and those my parents instilled in me.

    At the risk of digressing and perhaps sounding a bit offensive, it seems to me that anyone who wants to revert to such a Machiavellian system (might=right), where a person can touch you without your consent are simply ignoring the real issues and dare I say, acting very malicious. Everyone has the right to defend themselves against bodily harm, whether it’s your teacher, spouse, parent, or a stranger inflicting it on you.

    Now about the girl, I’d like to know why she reacted so violently to her teacher taking the cell phone. I know I would not be so keen on someone trying to take my belongings without my permission, regardless of where I am. Sounds like if she were so attached to her cell phone she should have been removed from the school rather than escalating the problem by stealing her phone.

    I need more information on what exactly transpired between the two before I could pass judgment on whether or not a sentence of lashings could be wholly justified. Was there a struggle to take the phone? What sort of confrontation was there? Was either party threatened? Too many questions.

    Though I will say this, judges in KSA do seem damn happy to sentence women to lashings for their crimes. I dare agree that for some it’s a fetish to humiliate women who step out of line, however far they’ve gone.

  31. @Aafke, I responded yesterday but had connection issues, so the comment did not go through. Instead of replying here I used it as fodder on my blog. I want to say for the record that my tone on my blog is not antagonistic nor was I offended by you. i just wanted to type what my feelings were concerning your perspections of “bad’ in relation to my life. Remember, these are my feelings, so if I misunderstood you…these are simply my feelings.

    @Lark, I’m not sure of your age so i don’t have a time refrence.

  32. barbaric, old world thoughts on how to handle a child that did something not so bad, ok that was wrong and broke school rules…

  33. uammadam, I don’t quite understand what you mean. I did not read your blogsince a long time, and about your comments here, you described some very bad actions from a person who should have been there to educate you and protect you. And all I meant to say is that you seem to have dealt with this unfair treatment very well, I read bits about your children last year on your blog. You are a devoted mother who is involved with their lives and who educates and protects them. Woo to those who harm your children!
    If the teacher treated you as described I don’t see in what context it could not be described as ”bad”.

  34. personally I’m quite sick and tired of Saudi teachers being abused by students. Saudi Woman has already pointed out the facts, girl isn’t girl, she is a woman and she wailed on another woman with a tea pot. She should be in jail, and yes lashed if that is the law here because seriously how many teachers must be harmed in Saudi before they start taking it seriously.

    And really why do all western news reports on anything about Saudi end with “Most of the hijackers in the September 11 attacks in 2001 came from Saudi Arabia.”

    this has nothing to do with the case at hand.

  35. Saudiwoman,
    Thanks for that information about teachers prohibited from hitting students in saudi Arabia. I was talking about the legal system where flogging is administered as a punishment to people regardless of age or gender.

  36. All the initial news reports came out that it was a 13 year old girl who committed the offense. And now the reports say she was older, a young adult, and there were other offenses. It makes you wonder which are the true facts as the age difference and saying there was an altercation between the student and teacher do put a different perspective on the situation. I still do not agree flogging is the proper response.

    Last time I am aware of Saudi’s being flogged were the group of boys in Damman who went on a rampage last year.

  37. I have heard before about how badly teachers can sometimes be treated by students in KSA, but then that re-inforces the notion that the threat of flogging is not one which works. Yes, these issues should be given some serious thought, but barbaric punishments never work, they only escalate the violent attitude in a society.

  38. One has to wonder why a 20 or 21 year old is still in school and also, to wonder whether there is, perhaps some sort of disability involved. I have not read anything to this effect but, being the mother of a young man with disabilities and, knowing what I know about behavior, I am wondering whether there is a disability of sorts involved. It is just not within the parameters of normal behavior to react in the way that this young woman did.
    Also, as a 20+ year resident of the Chicago area, I do want to say that the Chicago Public Schools improved hugely, largely as a result of the efforts of Paul Vallas who was appointed by Mayor Daly as CEO of the CPS.

  39. Irisheyesksa
    No disability involved. It is very common to have schools for older people here because we still have people who are raised in the desert and small villages and did not have access to schooling as children. Or much older women who when they were children, school was optional.

    Daisy
    Also in the legal system, children are never flogged or lashed. They have to be over 16 to get that kind of punishment. And yes the whole thing is more psychological than physical as there are rules on how it is done and the person that does the flogging is specifically trained to do it. Moreover no nudity is involved, especially for women. They receive the lashes over the clothes they have on.

  40. What I wonder is how the initial story which came out cited a 13 year old girl and then in a matter of few days her age is now cited as 20? And of course the earlier news reports made no mention of an attack upon the teacher. But again, this is kind of typical in Saudi where details and facts of an eye-raising news report start changing; especially ones which grab the international media attention.

  41. The initial report stated that a female student in 7th or 8th grade assaulted the principal of a school for confiscating her camera cell phone and thus received that sentencing.

    The reporter did not check the age of the student but rather quickly made assumptions based on her grade level. Also the reporter did not bother to check the nature of the assault, whether it was verbal or physical. Then everyone else jumped on the let’s make assumptions and worst case scenarios. This attitude even came from respected Saudi journalists based in the Eastern region, they did not check the facts for themselves. Everyone just jumped to conclusions.

  42. Aafke,
    I don’t doubt your words, but there are images circulating on the internet of nude women with face covered and their back turned blue and full of bruises as a result of flogging. These are adult women. It seems the guidelines you are referring to are not being followed. I do feel this kind of punishment is inhuman and outdated.

  43. Sorry, that was for Saudi woman.

  44. Find me one photo that is factually based on a woman, Saudi or otherwise, with her back bruised. Those photos are for illustration and dramatization and are not the backs of women flogged in Saudi Arabia.

  45. Daisy read below the photo, it states that it is of an woman flogged in IRAN. and the whole point of posting it was illustrate the Qatif girl case, who by the way was never flogged because the king dismissed the whole case.

    And even that it is of an Iranian is questionable because Islamic lashing is across the back and not on the buttocks! It looks like domestic abuse or maybe even liposuction right after the procedure.

  46. Ok, on this one, I think that there must be more to the story. Teachers have always spoken about how some of the girls try to sneak out of the school. I think that this gal must have done much worse, but they don’t want to put what she did….so they leave it that she was caught with a phone. I’ve worked at schools where the girls throw their pencil cases at each other’s heads, where they scratch themselves and blame it on the teacher to get her in trouble, and refuse to behave because their ‘Baba’ spent so much money for them to be in that particular school. Believe me, there must be a lot more to this story that no one outside the school knows about.

  47. More of an issue to me than whether or not to flog- is whether or not due process is followed.

    Is the trial/court procedure handled correctly and without unjust bias? Is the punishment carried out in the appropriate manner?

    Flogging- as it is prescribed is more symbolic than anything else. I actually think justice is better served if she spends time mopping floors- or waiting on people. But if a society agrees on rules (ok that is difficult to gauge in a non-Democratic society-granted) as long as they are applied fairly- this isn’t such a big issue for me.

  48. Sandy, I vote they make people clean the public toilets for community service. That’ll teach em!

  49. Rose- one has to wonder what was on her phone that she beat down the teacher for it.

    Bedu- those boys should have been flogged I would have flogged them myself. One reason i don’t go out for Eid are these boys that hang out at the corniche

    Aafke- actually many of the ‘old timer’ Saudis tend to believe it has been since the ban on corporal punishments in schools that the bad behavior has increased to a severe form now. And there is a lack of punishment for students who assault teachers in my view.

    Umm Adam- FLOG ME I will not clean any public toilets :)

  50. No matter what the offence, flogging is barbaric. If all saudis agree that they are such a barbaric primitive people that only flogging will keep the children in line, so be it!

  51. “Beat Her Ass and Tell The West To Mind Their Own Business!”

    that is the title of a post on ummadam’s blog about this subject.

    It sounds both gleeful and cruel and it makes Saudi Arabia look perverse as well as brutal.

    http://ummadam.wordpress.com/2010/01/26/beat-her-ass-and-tell-the-west-to-mind-their-own-business/

  52. saudiwoman, what is a ‘legitimate’ photo of flogging?
    Are you saying floggings in SA are gentler than in Iran, or different in some other way?

    I think one reason to show photos of floggings is to bring home the brutality of flogging, not saudi arabian flogging in particular.

    Unless you are arguing that SA has a special approach which is known for being gentle. If that is the case, surely there is documentation, no?

    Anyway, here is another pic of Iranian flogging in action. You get a sense of what flogging does to the back, in this one.
    http://sheikyermami.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/11/1pubicflogpst_468x348.jpg

  53. @Lark,
    I know this isn’t addressed to me, but yes, floggings, by law are not harsh. They are more symbolic than anything- shame is more the goal. There are strict guidlines about how they are to be administered. The only case I know of personally was handled within these guidelines. That is why I said what I did about due process.

    @ Save the Women.
    Societies develop at different rates. This may suit where Saudi society currently is. And some judges are starting to use community service instead- which shows a progression. I don’t know that they are that well set up for humane incarceration either. So what’s best for here may be different.

    @Nzingha
    I don’t think it is the lack of corporal punishment that is causing the behavior of the children. It is the lack of any meaningful parenting combined with total overindulgence and a sense of entitilement.

  54. While I don’t agree with the lashing, I think Nzingha summarized it best. I think many of the commentators above are forgetting that Saudi Arabia is a sovereign country with its own rules and regulations, you may not like or agree with our rulings, but still we don’t ask of you to change some of your own judicial sentences. For instant, death by electrocution, which happens to be the cruelest form of execution.

  55. @Sandy,

    I agree, I dont think it is lack of physical punishment that is the issue. I think it has more to do with the sense of entitlement that Saudis have today. When you grow up being taught that you are the top of the heap and deserve everything, then bad behavior is a given.

  56. @ Sandy as I said many old time Saudis feel it is a lack of physical discipline that students are acting out the way they do. I may not necessarily agree but it was in response to a particular statement.

    personally I think there is a whole lot that goes in to the behavior of many students these days. From the US to Saudi.. some of the same issues. But yea.. many won’t see that

  57. “personally I think there is a whole lot that goes in to the behavior of many students these days. From the US to Saudi.. some of the same issues. But yea.. many won’t see that”

    I agree schools in the US have major problems also. As far as violence is concerned, I think the US has it worst with Guns and Gang issues. Getting hit by a coffee pot can be very mild by US standards.

  58. MoQ,
    That’s very true about the American students. But would you recommend 300 lashings for violent American students to be made into a law? Moreover, as I said above, flogging in Saudi Arabia is not reserved for only students. It’s administered to everyone regardless of age and gender. It says something about the way Saudi society sees the relationship of the State with the society.

  59. Anonymous Saudi,
    It’s true that Saudi Arabia is a sovereign nation and has the right to rule itself in the way it wants without the world telling it how it should rule itself.

    So are all other countries in the world sovereign nations with the right to rule themselves the way they want.

    The problem is that every other country in the world can be – and is – brought to book byt the global powers on charges of human rights violations and misconduct in other matters. Saudi Arabia happens to be the only country that no one can touch because the global powers need the oil and the strategic advantages of Saudi Arabia. This is highly unfair to the world, if every other country has to follow certain kinds of norms but Saudi Arabia gets away with everything because it has oil and strategic crumbs to offer to the global powers.

    Saudi Arabia’s behaviour is like blackmail and holding the world to ransom by showing its oil power. All countries have to follow the norms of human rights, regardless of their “blackmailing potential.”

  60. @Daisy,

    No, I do not approve of corporal punishment in all its forms. And I also agree Saudi Arabia needs to get with the program and start implementing human rights in the treatment of its citizens.

    The issues of Saudi laws, human right abuses and judicial systems can take books to dissect.

  61. and yet boys can do essentially whatever they please with little consequence and probably praise instead. How about a rational consequence. Suspend her for a week, and ask the parents to take her phone for a month. it’s a minor MINOR, *ridiculously* MINOR offense.

  62. @Nzingha – just wanted to agree with you about that news article. It always amazes me to get to the end of a news piece about Saudi and see that somewhere they have to stick in that bit about the 9/11 bombers. It shocks me a little every time.

    The best explanation is that too many Americans (and far more Saudis) don’t know enough geography or world affairs to have the first clue what or where Saudi Arabia is on a map. I’ve met people here who’ve never hear of Alaska or know where Brazil is, but they at least can buy tickets to France to go shopping.. wherever that is. It’s startling to me how many people have no clue about our planet.

    And for smacking the teacher over the head with a teapot, the kid deserves her lashings (depending on whether she was threatened first).. I thought this was just about having the phone!

  63. @ Lark, that is why I posted a photo of a flogged woman, because you should not underestimate the barbarity of flogging. There is nothing gentle about it. I remember the laywer Abdul Rachman al-Lachem claiming that due to her ill-health the girl of Qatif wouldn’t SURVIVE the 200 lashings. (She was to be lashed because she was gangraped, and got a double sentence because she objected.) Hence the lashings were to be meeted out in batches.
    Does not sound gentle to me.

    I do not see a quran under the arm of the man doing the lashing in your photo. He is putting his full force into it!

  64. @ save the women,

    Just a small (maybe big) correction here, the girl in Qatif wasn’t lashed, she was pardoned by the king…

    come on people, if you want to slander saudi Arabia, at least get your trash talk right….!!!!

  65. Anonymous Saudi,

    I don’t think that anyone wants to slander Saudi Arabia. We are only discussing possible alternatives to the lashes for the girl. This poor child obviously has no ‘wasta’ to help her out of this situation.

    In the past, other teachers have shared stories with me about kids that squirted their teachers with ink from their pens, put black permanent marker on the floor, walls, and classroom boards, took phones with them to class, ruined the lavatories, etc.

    Not one was ever lashed for something so trivial as having a phone or being disrespectful to a teacher that I have ever heard about in the all the years that I taught here. If anything, the schools need to find ways to keep students in line….especially grades 6 – 12….and especially with foreign teachers trying to teach them English.

    Usually, students are just dismissed in these kinds of cases for really bad behavior from what I know (from the inside!) In Saudi Arabia, like anywhere else in the world, they have good and bad students, teachers, and administrators.

    I may be wrong, but it seems to me that this girl did something very, very naughty to get this kind of punishment.

    Perhaps the King will eventually pardon her.

  66. @ Daisy maybe US students should be flogged they certainly aren’t getting any better in society w/out corporal punishment. Sure fill the jails w/ ‘em but they get out and have a high rate of repeating violent behavior against others.

    @ Andrea- taking her phone away? I don’t think beating a teacher is a minor thing. Assault is more than just a time out at least to me.

    And Geography isn’t big for most. If I have to explain one more time that Afghanistan is not Saudi and the Afghani people are not Arabs I’ll scream

    @ MoQ who is to define human rights? Who is to be the ultimate judge for all of the world?

  67. @Nzingha,

    The United Nations has the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and committees that review all issues associated with nations performance on those issues. This includes committees that review women rights issues.

    Saudi Arabia has not cooperated well until recent years. There are reviews and recommendations that come out of them. Saudi takes those recommendations and implement them very slowly. Yes there are improvements, but the country lags way behind even its direct neighbors like Kuwait, UAE, etc.

    Further, the Saudi Judicial system is not codified, so justice is not administered with any guidance from laws, like you see in other countries. In Shariia Lashing as an example is a punishment for sex in the case of unmarried people. However, there is a loophole in the religion in the rules of Haidah, that basically allows a judge to issue lashing for any crime he deems necessary. So your get these strange rulings all the time in Saudi.

    Do not get me wrong, I think the world is not perfect. And countries like the US have the death penalty in many states. However, this is an issue of degree. Saudi Arabian justice and record on Human Rights are some of the worst in the world.

  68. Anon Saudi

    “Just a small (maybe big) correction here, the girl in Qatif wasn’t lashed, she was pardoned by the king…

    come on people, if you want to slander saudi Arabia, at least get your trash talk right….!!!”

    The big question is…WHY did she get pardoned? Was it because the “powers that be” had a softening of the heart and finally realized the punishment definitely did NOT fit the “crime”….or because media and public backlash forced them to reconsider the barbarity of lashing a woman that was raped…regardless of whether she was in the company of a man or not?

    If your going to correct our “slander” at least put the whole story in there.

  69. @ Anonymous saudi, what a cheap jib! The girl was rescued by king Abdullah. But if she had not been resqued she would have been lashed twohundred times, and she might have died of it. My point was that her laywer and husband said she would not survive the lashings, even if meeted out over a long period. My point was that some saudis do not consider these lashings merely ”symbolic”.
    Such a cheap way of trying to distract attention.
    I will refrase: The girl of Qatif was sentenced to two hundred lashings for being raped and also for appealing the first unfair verdict. Her husband and laywer claimed that besides the gross injustice she would not survive the torture of two hundred lashings.
    Her life was rescued because the king pardoned her.
    After a huge worldwide outcry to this infamous assault on human rights.

  70. @ Sandy, but saudi arabia has little excuse for being a backward barbaric country, Not withh the huge amount of money the oil brings in, and modern technology at their fingertips.
    Saudi arabia is still a barbaric thirdworld country. Despite all the wealth. You live in saudi, you must know the difference of how saudi looks to places like abu dhabi Kuwait and Qatar. The immense poverty . The squalor. The piles of garbage on the corner of the streets. Except in most posh parts of town, like the diplomatic quarter. The streets look as if you are in a poor country in Africa.

    @ anonymous saudi, Saudi is a sovereign country. So is Denmark. Really all muslims should shut up complaining about a danish paper posting cartoons about mohammed. denmark is a sovereign country and papers in europe can print what they like because we hold freedom of speech sacred.

    I agree with Sandy: it is not lack of corporal punishment which makes saudi students behave bad, It is lack of parenting. Lack of educating children, lack of teaching them manners and polite behaviour.

    @ Andrea, but a cellphone with a camer is no small thing in saudi. It really is a big thing. I have made clear anough that I do not think torture is a reasonable punishment. But saudi being what it is, with a photo of the face of a girl you can cause enormous injuri. You can blackmail her, extort money, or damage her reputation forever. No there is good reason behind not allowing cameraphones into girls schools.

  71. MoQ writes “Saudi Arabian justice and record on Human Rights are some of the worst in the world.”

    I wish our foreign policy here in the West would reflect that. I think our foreign policy should be driven by things other than short term interest, rather driven by our own morals and values.

  72. Abu Sinan,
    Yes, that’s also true – the US foreign policy has been soft on Saudi Arabia because of the benefits it gets. But I feel the US doesn’t have much of a choice. Americans lose much of their might when it comes to dealing with Saudi Arabia because of its blackmailing might.

  73. @Save the Women
    I agree there is no excuse. Unfortunately there is no shortcut either. They need to reform education ASAP. They’re doing it at the graduate level, but the foundations are rotten, and they will very much regret it I’m afraid if they don’t move faster beginning with early childhood and elementary school.

  74. @ MoQ see you lost me when a small body of the world has defined ‘human rights’ for the entire world. Individual countries have to define human rights and freedoms for them selves. One specific mindset can not dictate for the entire world, it just doesn’t work. Yes one can work with education, mutual advantages, and growth to come to some sort of common agreement. But on many specific issues which go under the umbrella all to often, of human rights, the world is going to have to understand that countries have to decide for themselves.

    Saudi will not be forced to comply by anyone I don’t know why they world hasn’t figured that out. Harder people push from the outside the more the population from within set in their heals. Saudi has to define for itself what “human rights” it wants to implement. Will “human rights” allow for abortion as defined by international standards? The list gets long once it is understood in the full impact of Saudi cultural understanding which no one bothers to do.

    As for codifying Saudi law I whole heartily agree that the legal system needs a huge revamp. But again it has to be done from within by the people for the people sort of thing.

    @ Abu Sinan can we say Israel :) If people in the world think that the US is to be some world legislator you know as well as I do it will fall on deaf ears here as long as the US play patty cake with Israel. US foreign policy is just soft especially in this part of the world.

  75. @Nzingha,

    - The UN represents all the nations. Yes it is a small body ff you are counting the people that work there. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was voted on in the UN and accepted by Saudi even through the country abstained from voting.
    - The UN does not force nations to implement. No nation was invaded by a UN army for human rights violations. The concept is that if you are in a league of nations then you also worry about the reputation of your country. Human rights violations can impact your standing. This can translate in loss of benefits of trade, tourism, etc. These are not necessary enforced by embargoes like in the case of Iran, but the worse a countries reputation is the less likelihood others want to trade with them.
    - The idea that countries have to create their own human rights, just does not work well with oppressive regimes. There are many cases of external pressures and media focus steering countries into improving the treatment of their citizens. Saudi Arabia is actually a prime example. Much of the improvements that you see happening today in Saudi are the result of the international pressure following 911. The Saudi’s ruled the country for 80 years and their Human rights record actually got worse over time. If you believe for one minute this sudden change of heart is because of the goodness of the king, you will be naive. The international media has kept the country under a microscope for the past 9 years. The amount of embarrassment that the government suffered has steered them to make changes. Why do you think the king is reforming the judicial system all the sudden. It is not internal pressure, it is the international embarrassment the high profile cases caused over the last 4 years.
    - Yes I know morality is hard to define, but there are some basic things countries can agree on. That is why there are standards agreed upon by the UN.
    - When you say people harden in Saudi, are you actually talking about the citizens. Who by the way do not get to participate in any decisions, because their human rights are violated (ironic don’t you think). If they harden does it make any difference. I just do not see the logic in that statement.

  76. Oh I forgot to cover some of the odd things you mentioned in your message. Things like abortion. The UN declaration does not address controversial issues like abortion. Google the document, it is available online. Most of the stuff in the document should not present any issues that are considered culturally biased.

  77. MoQ,
    That’s right about countries being voluntarily the members of the UN. But apart from the reputation, a member country has to follow the basic norms of human rights because a member country is supposed to believe in those essential values. There is no point in becoming a member of the UN and not following the basic code of norms. That means this country has joined only to partake of the political and economic benefits from this membership and not to share in the building of a tolerant and humane global community.

    If Saudi Arabia doesn’t believe in the UN Charter of Human Rights then it should withdraw its membership from the UN and carve an isolated path for itself in the world. There is no obligation on Saudi Arabia to remain a member of the UN.

    It really smacks of selfishness and insensitivity on the part of a country if the country joins the UN to avail of benefits of participation but doesn’t want to accommodate the universal code of human rights that everyone agreed to and Saudi Arabia also agreed to, eventhough it didn’t sign on it.

    It’s true that every country has its own set of social norms and a single code can’t be applied everywhere in the world – that’s why we have different constitutions in different countries. However, there are certain values which are universal – which should be universally accepted by everone as human being. Keeping its subjects virtually as hostages is certainly a norm that violates the concept of human rights everywhere regardless of cultural differences.

    Calling the norms of other cultures as “false” and its own norms as the “only true path” is another example of not respecting the values of other cultures but expecting others to respect its own normative standards. One-way participation doesn’t work in a global participation system.

  78. But America is not the whole west. The Netherlands, small as it is, spends enourmous amounts of money on foreign aid, and any disaster anywhere in the world is sure to make the Dutch give milions of dollars, every time some place on earth is in need, to send relief. We have teams of doctrs speeding to regions in need, our military is better at buidling school than shooting. And we don’t have the death penalty. Our police is mostly not armed, and yet a lot less murders than America.

    Neither do we have corporal punishments, and scenes like the one this post is about is unheard of. The only real problems are at schools which have predominantly immigrant students.
    So yes, that does make me wonder about how parents from muslim countries educate their children.
    And no, my own muslim friends are exemplary parents so I do nor tar everyone with the same brush.

    I agree with Sandy: the first and foremost concern is the improvement of school-education, starting at class 1!
    Or kindergarten..

  79. Nzinga and Daisy, I think that there is an inate knowlege in all humans about what is good and what is bad. Human rights are universal rights, the only reason that a group and not all countries simultaniously have put them into words is because only that group had the liberty, and the support of their populations, and the philantropic will, to bring good to the world.

    The ”human rights” are good. transgressing them is bad.
    Everybody should know that, they should not have to be spelled out. But there is so much evil in the world that they have to be spelled out.

    Any culture who doesn’t agree with these fundamental rules of good and bad is wrong. Any religion which corrupts the right to human rights is wrong.
    Because the basics of the ”Human rights”’ are not in culture or religion or politics.
    They are fact.

  80. Aafke,
    Yes, that’s right. The way you explain it, human rights are the same across the globe – or they should be. If a country violates them, it should be made answerable, regardless of what kinds of benefits it can offer to the powerful countries in the world.

    Yes, Netherlands does contribute liberally to the cause of the needy.

  81. MoQ- discussions help if you don’t treat the one disagreeing with you as an idiot, which I assure you I’m not. The UN is a large body yes, but the Human rights declaration was formed by a small body, mostly a military one. Do understand the history in which it was formed and adopted I assure you much of the international world was not privy to drafting it.

    That said, though you feel things in it are not culturally biased they are. Take for instance the scope of freedom of religion the right of freely practice any religion one chooses (with limitations of course for ones individual freedoms can’t infringe on another not to deal with it). The right to express an individuals religion no matter where they are and all that entails. This will NEVER happen in places like Mekkah or Madinah.

    The UN human rights declaration doesn’t spell out many things like abortion. But it is an individually freedom based set of ideals, where each individual has a wide range of freedoms, and there is no discrimination based on gender. In a woman’s freedom, and this is latter spelled out more clearly in latter UN documents regarding women specifically.. all of which go back to this one universal deceleration.. she freely chooses what to do with her body. Hence you get things like abortion and the like.

    I won’t even get into if the US or any other state member of the UN is in violation of this charter as well. The whole pot meet kettle thing is hard for many to take.

    Now as to the idea that Saudis as a collective society don’t have any say as to how the country is run I would differ. As it has proven time and time again how powerful the people are within the country however not all realize it. I remember King Abdullah once explaining t an American reporter how he just can’t go and dictate change because of the affect it would have on the citizens of the country. Yes citizens have a force, they create change, even in countries like Saudi Arabia. The flip side to this however is that they can also hinder change or seek to keep things the same. Don’t be so quick to discount the citizens of any country as I think that is the fault of way to many leaders as well.

    AAfke- again same circle but different tune. Who is to define what human rights are? You believe it to be some inherent knowledge but it appears humanity is proving otherwise.

  82. @Nzingha,

    I did not mean any disrespect to you. If any of my comments appeared that way, I apologize for the bad choice of words.

    - I get a feeling that the human rights issue is just one of the issues you are concerned about. One of your primary concerns is that Saudi is criticized unfairly. Well that can be a valid point. But what is the solution. Taking your same argument of saying who defines human rights, one can argue what is fair and who defines it.
    - The above brings about the discussion of standards as it is the only way to actually have a point of reference. In certain sense Saudi can use the human rights declaration to show that it is a country that is in good standings when it comes to its record. That will be a defendable position and can help the country improve the world’s perception. A standard here is advantageous if used properly. Hence, there is no requirement of fairness to anyone, but unfair criticism can be managed through standards.
    - Any standard whether it is human rights or even just a technology, will always have issues that does not satisfy everyone. As example, companies develop standards in areas of technologies all the time and they are developed by small bodies of experts representing the major players. All companies concerned with the technology have to decide whether to implement the standard or not (same for countries here). Standards are rarely satisfactory for all issues and usually watered down to satisfy a majority. The human rights declaration is no different. It has the major benefit of bringing a universal understanding and all effected parties (countries) have to make a determination to participate and at what level. Saudi chose to participate, because of the obvious benefits.
    - Yes in development of any standard, the stronger players have the biggest influence. It is a fact of how standards are developed. A standard gets its strength only from the entities supporting it and their influence. Saudi is not a strong player in this regard.
    - Regarding freedom of religion and believes, I think that is a basic right. This is something that is not debatable. Saudi deserves any criticism it gets on that issue. You cannot expect not to be criticized by the others if you harden your positions.
    - Regarding women issues, Saudi has declared that it will follow Shariia in that regard. The country actually accepts going to the reviews on issues of women rights and has taken many of recommendations on. Extrapolating too much into what the UN will try to push on issues like abortion is just not what the realities are.
    - I do not believe the US is in full compliance with any agreement.
    - I also do not believe any country or anybody can tell a sovereign nation what to do internally. I think you are defining much of this, although not fully, as every country is a separate closed system of its own. Since Saudi operates in a global economy and exchange between cultures, this is not the case. I see it as voluntary engagement that allows the country to manage how the world views it.

  83. Nzingha

    If Saudi Arabia people (or its government) do not want to follow Human Rights Declaration then why do they still belong to UN? If you (the government and/or people living in KSA) feel that human rights are culturally biased, that there should be no freedom of religion, that you should have corporal punishments and gender discrimination in your country you should get out of UN. It is that simple – you want privileges connected with belonging to UN you have to follow declarations of UN; you feel UN declarations are not for you, you should get out of such organization. Organization who was, in your word, formed by a small military body and whose morality is not yours.
    Seems simple, doesn’t it.
    And yes, many western and non-western countries do not strictly follow UN declaration of human rights, but majority do follow most of it and do not soo complain that these are “not their values”.

  84. MoQ- what it comes down to is the question of freedom (be it as a collective body like a country to individuals) who defines what? who has the right to impose on the freedoms of others?

    These are basic questions that no one addresses when they discuss world issues, be it Saudi or otherwise. Saudi being portrayed in a bad light, well yes. Criticized unfairly, yes at times. But honestly that isn’t a major issue for me. What is an issue for me is that people choose by a sense of greater being to dehumanize the Saudi people in general when discussing issues related to its society. That offends me personally of course my family is Saudi. But I think it takes a whole lot from a person to criticize without dehumanizing a population which isn’t always done on this bog (one reason why I stopped reading).

    Sorry got off topic there. The issue of human rights and freedoms. For you freedom of religion is a basic right that all have and I think we all agree to that. But when you get down to particulars such as not allowing Non Muslims in Mekkah or Madinah as a rule the idea is that “human rights” are being violated in Saudi yet one needs to stamp out that countries freedom to practice their very own religion in order to change that.

    Another example this woman being lashed. Accusation Saudi violates human rights by doing so, by what standard, oh the UN. Well not that the UN deceleration says not to lash people, just that the offender gets due process it doesn’t stipulate punishment. Saudi is labeled as being “barbaric” right here in this thread, right down to Saudis being “barbaric” and there is a question of Saudis as parents and an ever over flowing list of putting Saudi and Saudis down to a lower base level than the enlightened others.

    All this with the assumption that Saudi is violating this one document when in true reality it isn’t. But people have defined what human rights are beyond this document based on their cultural and religious perspectives. Thus one has to violate the freedoms of another to instill their ideas.. see the irony in that?

    So it all comes back to who has a right to define for others what freedoms are? When does a country not have to conform to all others definitions in order to fit into their idea by way of bully tactics? Why is Saudi, and other Muslim countries for that matter, limited in their freedoms unless it conforms with the ideas of others? Is that really freedom?

    Not saying I have all the answers MoQ but I certainly don’t agree w/ many of the voices here in this thread.

    Anyway, nice discussion beyond the assumption I’m an idiot :) I think I reached the end of my road here.

  85. ella- 1. Saudi is not in violation of the UN human rights deceleration on this matter I hope you understand that. physical punishment by way of law is not covered in the declaration. 2. I’m not saudi why it is part of the UN I dunno why is any other nation in the world? I dunno that either. It affects me not one way or another that it is because quite frankly I don’t see any use in the UN to begin with but that is me personally.

    Since we have broken this down to me personally and if I as a lone country by myself want to be part of the UN I’ll say this. I think that the majority if not all of the states that are members of the UN are in violation of human rights on one level or another. So they should all get out.

  86. @Nzingha,

    I never assumed you are an idiot, I actually apologized, just in case my tone left you with that impression, but you continuing to bring that up does not makes matters better.

    I do believe in the international arena Saudi does get picked on more than its share. However, your comments leaves the impression that none of that is warranted. Saudi Arabia is still one of the worst countries in the world in the treatment of its citizens and foreign workers. It may be unfair to judge the country by western standards. But if you look at its neighbors with same cultural traditions and religion, Saudi is far behind in providing rights. An obvious example, under Saudi law women are treated like minors that are controlled by their male guardian.

    Regarding Saudi criticized as being barbaric, well that is an accurate charge as the rest of the world sees it. There is no standard required here, because you cannot limit the freedom of the press or people that criticize you. No person, government, religion or ideology should ever have that expectation. The only expectation is to get a fair hearing to defend against criticism whether in the united nation or the press. The issue for the Saudi government is it cannot defend effectively for the simple reason that the governing system is rotten to the core and at every level.

    The system cannot even stop itself from creating negative headlines on a daily basis, due to pure incompetence in the manner of running the country. Just look at the news scroll here at this blog, one day it is a judge ordering lashes for a rape victim, the next it will be Philippino workers abused, the next a 12 year old married to an 80 year old, etc. The world develops a perception of the country through these constant blunders. Ask yourself why Saudi gets this, but not Kuwait for example?

    Just to be clear, I’ve never said one bad thing about the Saudi people. I actually see them as victims of the regime and clergy that have controlled the country for 80 years.

    I also, want to remind you that the US gets criticized daily in the Arabic press. And during the Bush final term, the US received criticism globally. No one is immuned to this even the most powerful country in the world.

  87. I am not very sure that the kind of laws that exist in saudi Arabia are not in violation of the UN charter of human rights. I think that’s not factually correct. Saudi Arabia should leave the UN if it doesn’t want to follow the UN Charter.

    The King can’t make unilateral changes not because the people of KSA have a say in the matter, but because the Saudi monarchy has an alliance with the clergy, who do influence the government in not making certain kinds of change. This is a hands-in-gloves rule by the minarchy and the clergy that makes change difficult, not the people, who don’t have any say in the governance of the country.

  88. @Daisy,

    I agree, many of the Laws in Saudi will not pass. The UN actually tries to stay away from the use of the harsh word of violations. As long as the country develops plans to deal with the issues and show progress, a report of recommendations is issued after the periodic reviews . The idea is that the word violations may create too much negativity and will be counter productive.Saudi has been participating effectively as of late so they have avoided the V word :)

  89. @ Nzingha

    My hats off to you Nzingha, you’ve stated your views beautifully, and eloquently. I wish more people like you would stand up, and make their voices heard especially Saudi who happen to read this blog. A blog that is increasingly becoming more hostile and aggressive toward Saudi Arabia by the majority of the commentators. And here I’m thinking that the whole point of the blog was to build bridges, and foster understanding and friendship amongst nations.

    And while I have a lot of respect and admiration for the blog owner, I do believe that this blog has deviated from its original purpose . There is no doubt that this blog has become a platform to slander Saudi Arabia, (and at times Islam) and its people without being challenged by the blog owner. it is one thing to criticize one particular case, or specific incident, but it’s another thing when you insult, and slander a whole nation and its people on a daily basis. I feel sorry for those who have so much hate in their life that have blinded them completely. I hate to say this there is no Utopia, and there are no perfect nations, we all try as we go along.

  90. Nzingha, you don’t get my point.
    My point is rthat the ”human rights” are not the invention of the UN. They are basic rights which the UN just happened to have put into words and make a list of.
    My point is that all humans really know in their hearts that the ”human rights” are fair and should be adhered to. I think that a human’s inate knowlege of good and bad is corrupted by outside influences. And some humans are just plain evil and have no care for the wellfare of others.

    So for those amongst humanity who are deluded from what is right, or to keep the actions in check of those who have turned to evil, the Human Rights were put into words,, by a group of countries, in the hope to make the world a better place.

    Now you may not agree with those rules, and the ruling power of countries might not approve, and the ruling factions of religions might not improve.
    That cannot be helped. But you do ally yourself to the side of evil.

    Ella and Daisy, Saudi Arabia has not fully subscribed to the Human rights of the UN. Because the leaders do not fully agree with many issues the Human Rights try to correct.
    There are political reasons why countries like Saudi Arabia like to still be a member.

    Anonymous Saudi, the blogowner is going through very invasive medical treatments right now and I do not think it is your place to criticise her.
    Besides, this blog is a platform for free discussion. Which means that not only you, but also those who do not agree with you are allowed to give their personal opinion here.
    It’s called freedom of speech.
    I know, it stinks.
    If you are irked by the well founded criticism voiced on this blog I suggest you stay away, or try to remedy the wrongs so there cannot be any criticism in the future.

    I agree with MOQ, Why is it that Saudi gets so much negative attention compared to other gulf countries? Because Saudi Arabia does so much worse on issues to do with human rights.
    And there is a sort of fascination (the horrid fascination of a roadaccident,) when reading the news from saudi arabia. (on the saudi news sites you don’t have to go to ”western” media for that)

    -eighty year old widows being tortured, imprisoned, and deported for the crime of having a caring nephew delivering a few loaves of bread
    - the many cases of underage schoolgirls being sold off against their wishes, to ancient pedophiles for ”marriage”
    -business women being arrested, stripsearched and imprisoned for having a business dicussion in a public place with a man
    -rapevictimes being tortured and imprisoned
    -girls being murdered for having changed religion
    -schoolgorls being chased into a burning building to die a horrible death for not the crime of wearing a black coat as they ran to escape certain death
    -maids being raped and abused. And if they go to court getting the ususal verdict meeted out to rape-victims, torture, prison and deportation.
    -women like Rania al Baz being beaten almost to death by their husbands
    -hospital staff dissappearing for months and being found locked up in some obscure prison because they complained about the bad way a hospital was mananaged
    -Bloggers being imprisoned for months without contact for the crime of speaking their mind in a mild manner
    -Familes being torn apart, couples being divorced because some family members suddenly got it in their minds that the husband is not of a sufficiently important ”tribe”
    -couples chased to death by the religious police
    -men being beaten to death by the religious police
    -Women and girls being left stranded in the desert because the religious police after falsely accusing them took over their vehicle and crashed it and then abandoned them
    -Schoolgirls, or women, whatever, being tortured for bad behaviour

    The list of atrocities is as endless as it is disgusting. And these are only the cases which are reported. There must be a whole mountain of evil and atrocity buried underneath.
    Every instance a gross violation of human rights.
    The human rights every human should be granted, wether there is a UN or not. The human rights any religion or state who claims to be one of ”humanity” should grant any human on the face of the Earth.

  91. Aafke,
    You are right. That was precisely my point – Saudi Arabia likes to be the member of the UN for its own political benefits, but doesn’t want to participate in the human rights vision of the UN. That’s selfishness. And in the case of Saudi Arabia it’s blackmail because they know they can get away with it. Such a country should not be the member of the UN.

    At least the King is making some efforts to reform the Kingdom, but they have a long way to go.

  92. God, Is there any updates to the story?
    Do we know more about the final ruling of this girl?
    I remember the last news was a court case, about a young girl who was married to a 50year old, that was ruled in favour of the girl, to have the wedding postphoned till the girl reach adulthood….
    which is some sort of success for the girl,
    despite no new laws on minimum age of getting married, or human rights/woman rights, maybe, just maybe, given the power of IT communication this days, that the Muttawa’s will also become more and more careful about what they do…… I hope the best for this girl..

  93. Slander -
    1. defamation; calumny: rumors full of slander.
    2. a malicious, false, and defamatory statement or report: a slander against his good name.

    Anonymous Saudi, where do you see false statements against KSA and/or Islam? Critique is not and never has been a slander. Also usually people criticizing something are not doing it from hatred or malice but because they want the country and/or people to be better or work better. Particularly on this blog.
    Nevertheless it seems to me that you think that criticizing certain aspects of the behaviour of the people of some country is equal to hatred of that country. If that is so then it seems to me that majority of KSA bloggers and commentators slander and hate the west. . And if the last sentence is true you seem to judge others by yourself, don’t you?

  94. MoQ- Lighten up a bit I added a little smiley after my comment. I said it light hearted take it that way. :)

    And I do think that you don’t get my position really. Its ok this is a small glimpse into our individual views on a much larger scale. You can stop by my soapbox anytime and notice that I don’t take light problems within Saudi. And I don’t need to read this blog to know what is going on in Saudi.. as I’m here to see it for myself.

    And again, stating that a government is barbaric in its punishment isn’t so much of an issue. DEHUMANIZING an entire population of said county is an issue for me. I think it is a sad state of the human heart, no matter who does it. I give no excuse to it even if it comes form the Arab press.

    Aafke- honestly I don’t read what you write I stopped a long time ago. So I hope someone else benefits from your typing.

    Daisy- no punishments are spelled out in the human rights charter. So no lashing really isn’t in violation, technically. But again the imposing of further “human rights” understandings and definitions makes some miss that.

    And the power of the people so often times goes under estimated. Even by the very people themselves. So yes I would say that change or lack there of has more to do w/ the people than with the rulers history has proven just that in most societies.

    seriously that is it.. I’m not coming back :)

  95. @Aafke.. interesting and *correct* as always. Thank you for stating the obvious (even though people won’t read your posts because of it..)

    basic human rights are basic human rights. regardless of religion, country, culture or tradition. what’s right is right and what’s wrong is wrong. period. And as for rationally disagreeing with negatives things about KSA being irrationally translated into dislike of the *people* of KSA..well, that’s just nonsense. I meet a couple dozen lovely people on a daily basis where I work, and it in no way changes my opinion of this country, how it works (or doesn’t) and what *should* (in no uncertain terms) change about it.. (and for those who decided to rail against me, let me qualify this statement by saying I feel the same way about my own country with regards to quite different issues, but still.. no country is perfect).

  96. @Nzingha – you are always welcome to drop in!!

  97. @Nzingha,

    I think I got your point along time ago. I just disagree that criticism is a bad thing or can be stopped. Freedom of the press or for people to speak their mind is important. One can even argue, if the issues of Saudi Arabia were criticized earlier the problems of the country would not have gone this far and many would have been solved by now. The world press was very soft on Saudi prior to 911 and now there is a more hyper reaction, but it will balance out with time.

    Saudi Arabia itself limited free expression and that resulted in less improvements in the country. There is some freedoms of expression now, but there are also reclines like not criticizing royals. Hence, although some issues are discussed and better understanding is emerging, the roots of the problems cannot be discussed.

    The only way a country can improve on the situation is to behave better. A good start is to look at some of the issues that cause the most negative headlines. I will provide a small list here:

    - Issues of women (50% of the population): there has to be improvements on the guardian system and providing protection for women against abuses by males (justice in divorce, marriage age, freedom of choice in education and decisions, etc.) These are not things that can go against the religion or culture, other countries have done it.
    - Justice: Saudi is terrible in this area. There is no codified system of law or court procedures. Reforms have to go fast in this area. The abuses of judges is one of the biggest headline generators. There is no excuse for a country, which have been in existence for 80 years not to fix this problem when there are 100′s of systems which can be adopted. The king interfering in cases by issuing pardons to stop the negative press is not a systematic solution. A simple short term step can be an executive decree to stop the issuing of corporal punishment based on Hed’ah law until the laws can be codified and judges trained.
    - Participation of citizens in governing: Other countries like Kuwait, which is also a monarchy, figured this out a long time ago why can’t Saudi.
    - Corruption: I have worked with many companies that do or did business in Saudi and I can tell you the corruption is almost at every level of government. When the top levels of the government are corrupt, it just flows down. Although there are not many sensationalized stories about this, it does impact the country’s reputation.
    - Royals: There are many embarrassing stories that make headlines based on royals acting badly abroad. Whether it is lavish spending, treating people badly or getting involved in corruption scandals. All of this reflect badly on the country. The family should put a stop to this.
    - Religious freedoms: When you have a country that does not even allow people of other religions to practice then goes around the world and finances mosques and shady religious groups, the hypocrisy of that is not missed by reporters.
    - There is more, but you get the idea………

    When you have so many issues with the country, it is a bad expectation that the world will not notice especially after an event like 911 which changed some fundamentals of world politics and put the issues of Saudi into focus.

    Criticism can be driven by hate, which I agree some is. There is also constructive criticism. The only way to limit criticism is for the country to go to work in fixing its institutions, so less negative headlines are generated. A defense that the country is unique just won’t change things. It can be criticized specifically for that reason, if the world thinks the uniqueness is based on miss-justice, corruption and religious radicalism.

  98. Daisy, we agree.

    Andrea, Thank you and excellent comment.

    MoQ I agree, as the rest of the way has freedom of expression you cannot simply tell people who criticise and argue to shut up.
    When discussing on a free platform like a blog your only option is to argue and defend your position. Your only way to win is to win the argument.
    Just whining that according to you other people are not allowed to give their opinion isn’t going to get you to win the argument.

  99. @MoQ,

    I loved your comment. I could have written that myself. See, when you leave out attacks on Islam, there is common ground. That is kind of what I have been saying all along.

    You and I disagree on religion completely, but with the nuts and bolts of things beside that, I think we are in complete agreement.

    As for free speech, I am all for it. If people think criticism is too much, they’ll just stop listening. Never should speech be constrained.

  100. @AbuSinan,

    Thanks for agreeing.

    I think I followed the same method of providing evidence in my religion argument all along. You stuck to a position that I should not argue against Islam and I should accept your definition of it. How is that different than the position that “Saudi should not be criticized”? You assumed that if I direct criticism at a religion then I am criticizing the people that follow it. Just like criticizing Saudi means you are dehumanizing the Saudi people.

  101. @MoQ,

    You need to accept that people are by nature religious. The fact that the majority of any people survery will relate, in one way or another, with religion, shows this to be true. Born Muslims, for the most part, are not going to part way with Islam.

    That is why I say that attacking the issues from an angle that puts the blame on religion will not work. It will just alientate people from you.

    Debating religion with someone who doesnt have any is really a waste of time. They are not going to get where you are coming from and the other way around.

    If you cannot agree that you are not going to remove Islam nor people’s devotion to it, doesnt it then makes sense to approach things from a different direction?

    If you consistantly attack things from a faliing angle one has to wonder if you are a gluton for punishment or what?

    Islam is here to stay, Islam will not be guided, controlled or changed by outside forces. To think different is to waste your time, spin your tires.

    Get over that and maybe there can be some common ground, some subtantive ideas formed. As long as you stick to your anti-religion, in your face dogma, nothing is going to happen.

  102. @AbuSinan,

    Get over it. I will never agree for you to tell me what to believe, what things to criticize, what positions I take, what methods I should use. etc. The list goes on and on. That is exactly what your last message says.

    Your religion, just like Saudi Arabia is not above criticism!!!!

    If you do not like debating with people that do not believe in a God, then follow your own rule and stop debating. You start every debate in response to anything I write. I may just have to assume that my arguments are irresistible :)

    Regarding the goal strawman, I do not have an objective of changing the Muslim world. I only want to share what I believe is the truth. What others do with it is completely up to them. That entire line of argument is mute, because it starts with the wrong assumption.

    I think we can find common ground, but that cannot be based on conditions you impose. I accept that you are a Muslim and have your own thinking. I never attacked you for that. Now you have to do the same. The thing I do not agree with is that Islam is a good religion. Present your evidence of its goodness, instead of wanting us to accept that at face value. So far you have not presented any evidence that can stand scrutiny.

    How about this as a discussion, you converted to Islam, it will be good if you tell us what was so compelling about the religion that you had to convert to it? How did you deal with all the issues of history of wars? How did you deal with the issue of the treatment of women? Did you do a deep dive in all these issues before conversion?

    If you want to take that challenge, then post in the debate page, since it is out of topic. Hence, even if I disagree with you, it will be a positive way to help others.

  103. @MoQ,

    I have never told you what you can, or cannot, criticize. I guess you are not comprehending what I said. Criticize anything and everything you want to.

    However, you cannot criticize Islam and expect to get any support from Muslims for change in their countries or societies. If that is okay for you, then fine. If you really hope to want to make some positive changes, than I am just pointing out to you that attacking Islam will not allow you to have any positive impact in the Muslim world.

    I am all for freedom of speech, but with your choice to have freedom of speech you need to realise that your words and actions might positively or negative impact outcomes you might be interested in.

    For instance, I’d really like to get our marriage recognised by the Saudi government for a whole host of reasons, none of which have anything to do with really caring what they think. I do know that the things I say about the Saudi government and society in public will most certainly negatively impact the chances that what I want will happen. I have been told as much by the host of this blog as well as others in a position to know.

    However, my need to speak my mind trumps how much I care about whether this ever happens or not. It is something I realise, something I accept. Making a change or contributing to it, no matter how small, is worth more than my marriage recognition, which I dont really feel is the Saudi’s to make in the first place.

    Likewise, maybe your need to speak against Islam, and religion in general, might negatively impact any chance you have of making any real difference in the Muslim world. It would seem maybe you realise this and accept this.

    So if you think I am trying to shut you up or trying to tell you what you can or cannot talk about, you are wrong. I am simply pointing out to you that constant negative comments about Islam will mean that you will have no real sway, at any level, with Muslims.

    So speak away……but keep in mind that freedom of speech, like any other freedom, often isnt free. Your freedom to speak out openly against Islam will cause you the support of 99% of Muslims. That is a price you will have to pay.

    As to my conversion, as a Christian before, I already had to deal with a succession of wars in Christianity that certainly outpaced and outmatched anything Islam had to offer. I had to get over Hitler’s admiration for Jesus in “Mein Kampf”. No problem there!

    Treatment of women? As a Christian I was well aware of the fact that the New Testament is actually much more implicit about women should cover their heads or become a shame to their communities, or that women need to remain silent in the church and wait until they get home to ask their husbands any questions they might have.

    These things are present, often in greater and more implicit manners, in Christianity. Christians just seem to have forget them or “spiritualised” them out of existance.

    As a thinker, I thought about these issues long before I contemplated Islam or ever knew a Muslim.

    Anyway, I dont really see the need to go any further with someone who doesnt understand the need for religion. Either you understand it, or you dont. Nothing I can say will change that. If I wanted to spin my tires I’d go out into the snow!

  104. @AbuSinan,

    I really do not need support for my arguments. I have confidence in my knowledge of the world and I will speak the truth as I see it. You can disagree with anything I say, but keep it on topic, do not change my positions for me,do not make baseless assumptions and avoid personal attacks. These are real simple rules of respectable dialogue. I try to keep to them and I hope you can also.

    Regarding Saudi, I do not think you will get permission and I know you are aware of that. Unfortunately, the government there does not like people who criticize.

    I do not think I heard a compelling reason for your conversion. All I heard is that both religions had the similar issues. You do not have to answer this question, but why not just say: if both do not make sense, I should not believe in either?

    That is in essence what I did. The difference between us is that you do not believe in the 100’s of religions out there, I just go one farther.

  105. @MoQ,

    I have not changed your positions, you have made them rather clear yourself, nor have I made baseless assumptions nor have I recently personally attacked you.

    You seem to make these accusations any time something uncomfortable is said. You start to look like a whinger.

    As to my conversion, of course you didn’t hear a compelling reason for conversion because I didnt make a case for my conversion. You missed that? I thought I spelled it out in black and white!

    You dont believe in Islam, you dont believe in religion at all. It would be a bit stupid for me to sit here and try to convince someone who has already made up their mind against religion that a choice to pick up a religion, any religion, is a valid one.

    I never said Islam didnt make sense. Again, you accuse me of changing your positions and opinions, yet you do this to me almost every time you put finger to keys.

    I guess my lesson here is to forget about trying to make common ground with anyone who feels they MUST reject a portion of you or your beliefs.

    It is clear you are WAY over the top about religion. I tend to dislike and stay clear of anyone who holds any such radical, over the top views, whether atheist or Islamist.

    It is clear you are not interested in a fair and respectful common ground. It is clear that you cannot bring yourself to accept or respect someone else’s choice of religion, so it is really a waste of time talking to you.

    You complained about things here and I tried to accomodate you. It is clear that you wish no accomodation.

    That is what happens when someone has so much hate in their being. They cannot help but take a confrontational view. Your hate of religion really leaves no room for maneuver. I cannot imagine being enclosed in such a small little way of thinking.

    Again, you attack religion, and Islam in general as being intolerant, yet I have to say you are one of the most intolerant people I have ever “met”.

    Call that personal if you wish, whing and cry, I dont care. Sometimes “keeping it real” can be like that.

  106. @AbuSinan,

    Oh another angry fit. You’re quite famous for these by now. You are becoming type of Muslim that finds insults in every thing people tell him.

    Here is the deal, if you cannot have civil conversation, then do yourself a favor and never respond. Or only have conversation with people that agree with you.

    You are not going to stop me from talking with your bullying tactics and name calling. That only works with kids. From the conversation I had with you so far, you do not sound like you have matured beyond a High School level mentality.

    By the way I do not hate anything or any person. Hate is the language of crazed people like you.

  107. Abu Sinan, MoQ,

    With all respect, can you please shift your dialogue to the Debate page?

    Appreciated, American Bedu

  108. Girls turn voilent over cell phones again:

    http://www.arabnews.com/?page=1&section=0&article=132660&d=9&m=2&y=2010

  109. Girls turn violent over cell phones again:

    http://www.arabnews.com/?page=1&section=0&article=132660&d=9&m=2&y=2010

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