Women’s names are secret and it would be very shameful for a Saudi man if his mother’s name was publicly known, or worse, those of his sisters. For women it is customary to be nicknamed ”umm so-and so” or ”daughter of…”
Two years ago there the hashtag ”IsmOmi” (my mother’s name) was created by those Saudis who are proud of their mothers and have no problem letting the world know their names.
Saudi tweeters see this as a way to express their love and gratitude for their mothers. It is also considered a step toward empowering Saudi women. Saudi tweeter Khalid Al-Ahmed believes the hashtag is a healthy way to break down some of the social customs that he sees have unnecessarily burdened Saudi society for decades.
”Women’s names have been the obsession of Saudi men forever. They see this as something they must protect and keep unrevealed. It is shameful for them if people know the name of their mother, sister or wife,” he said. “A Saudi man would blackmail another if he knew his mother’s name,” he added.
Saudi women are frustrated by this attitude and Saudi men should be more reasonable, according to a tweet by Abeer Hamdoun. “Refraining from mentioning your mother’s name is the first step toward undermining Saudi women’s rights. The younger generation are too shy to say their mother’s names for no reason at all,” she said.
“Our beloved Prophet (peace be upon him) was not shy of his mother’s name and King Abdulaziz used to call himself Akho Noura, which is Arabic for Noura’s brother,” she added. Ahmed is a 28-year-old man who changed his Twitter name to “Omima’s son” to celebrate the love and pride of his mother.
“I don’t see anything wrong with saying my mother’s name to random people. It’s like saying any other name,” he tweeted. “Without my mom I wouldn’t be here. Her name is Omima, and you bet I’m proud to mention it,” he added.
In this Saudi tv show the interviewer asks men the name of their mother. (The name of their sister would be too dangerous?) You will hear ”Wish ism Umm?/ Wish ism Al Walda?”. A few men do gve the name of ther mother, the old men all do, but their mother will probably be dead. Some men answer something like ”I’m not crazy to do so” or they will say ”umm Abdullah”, or Umm Mohammed”.
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