Saudi Arabia and women’s names

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”.

Arabian greeting and kissing

When to kiss, how to kiss, whom to kiss, and how to avoid being kissed!
Enjoy this very informative video from new you-tuber Malaak on kissing like as an Arab!

If you like the video, don’t forget to go YouTube and click the ”like” button and support this YouTuber.

Suspension of text messages when women leave Saudi Arabia

The automatic text message service where a text message is send to a man to inform him that one of his ”dependants” is leaving the country is being suspended for the time being. Pending adjustment. So it’s not going away, but adjusted. Maybe they will be going back to men having to sign up for this service instead of all men being warned automatically.

saudi woman

In Saudi Arabia women and children are considered dependants. So if a woman or children, or household personnel, is at the airport in order to leave the country, the husband/father/employer gets a text message that ”dependants are leaving the country”. Now any man would be aware anyway that his ”dependants” are leaving the country because women and children also need a ”yellow paper”, a form signed by the husband/father/son/grandson/any related male, confirming that he allows them to leave the country.

Sometimes the form is not enough, especially if it is a Western woman with children, and the man has to go to the airport to give his consent personally on the spot. Even a very old woman needs male permission, if necessary from a young grandson.

So now the text service, which was made an automatic one in 2012, is suspended. “The system has been suspended due to some observations and it will undergo amendment,” said Lt. Col. Ahmad Al-Laheedan, spokesperson of the Passports Department in comments published on Monday. He indicated that the system could be reintroduced, adding new options.

Many women rejoice of course. And there are a lot of Saudi men who do not like the system either. But most interesting is the reactions on twitter, blogs and in the comments on Arab News. Read the comments in the link provided below!

Reactions are very diverse:

  • Sabria S. Jawhar  ”The notification process should have never been introduced in the first place because it is humiliating for women. It is demeaning to women and restricts their freedom.”
  • ”Without such a system, a woman or a child would be free to come and go and travel abroad without her or his family knowing about it. If such is the case, we will find many of our women and children going abroad without our knowledge.
  • Salwa, another blogger, said that since the aim of the notification system is to provide a good service for families, men should also be included to augment the advantages. “I am sure that many problems would be solved if women were aware of their husbands’ cross-border movements as well,” Salwa said. “In fact, women would benefit from the system much more than men. So please include men and alert their wives about their international departures and arrivals,” she said.
  • ”What is the big issue? As a muslim women we shouldnt be travelling without a mahram anyway except for necessity and if your guardian has already given you permission then whats the big deal that he gets a text
    message?”

What do you think?

read more:

Arab News

Saudi Arabia and dinosaur bones

dinosaur

As most of the Arabian peninsula was covered by a sea during the time of the dinosaurs there are no dinosaur fossils. The very few fossilized fragments which were found were of a maritime origin. Until now. A few bones of both a massive, Apatosaurus-like herbivore, and a tyrannosaur-like predator have been found in Saudi Arabia’s north-west of the red sea coast. The 72 million year old bones are considered significant because they constitute the first taxonomically identifiable dinosaur material described from the Arabian Peninsula.

dinosaur tooth

“This discovery is important not only because of where the remains were found, but also because of the fact that we can actually identify them,” said Benjamin Kear of Sweden’s Uppsala University, who is the lead author a paper on the find published in the journal PLOS One.

“Dinosaur fossils are exceptionally rare in the Arabian Peninsula, with only a handful of highly fragmented bones documented this far. Indeed, these are the first taxonomically recognizable dinosaurs reported from the Arabian Peninsula,” Kear said.

dinosaur bones

Read more:

PlosOne

Nature World News

Saudi Arabia: Women are to blame for rise of harrassment

niqab-3

From a survey conducted by the King Abdul Aziz centre for National Dialogue it seems that Saudi  men believe women are to blame for the rising cases involving molestation of females on the grounds they are seduced by women’s excessive make up.
The findings were included in a survey conducted by the Riyadh-based King Abdul Aziz Centre for National Dialogue and involved 992 males and females.

The survey, carried by Saudi newspapers, found that 86.5 per cent of the men polled believe that women’s exaggeration in wearing make-up is the main cause of the rise in molestation cases in public places.

1

Although women are forced to be fully covered in Saudi Arabia, the Gulf region is also known for the fashion of a more ”expressive” style of make-up. Especially at weddings women indulge in very strong make-up styles. All humans, in all times and places, even our pre-homo sapiens ancestors, felt the need to express themselves with beads, shells and colour. This is actually the first manifestation of human artistic creativity.

Cave Painting, South Algeria
It is therefore only to be expected that when people are allowed no part of themselves to be visible except the eyes, then the human need to express oneself will be concentrated on the eyes.

Photo from Blue Abaya Blog

Photo from Blue Abaya Blog

About 80 per cent of the persons polled believe lack of deterrent penalties and the absence of specific anti-molestation laws are also to blame for the phenomenon
The report also said 91 per cent of the respondents, all aged above 19, believe another key factor is the “poor religious sentiment” while nearly 75 per cent said the problem is caused by lack of awareness campaigns and warning notices at most public places.

Emirates 24/7 News

Saudi Arabia: American Bedu’s Quiet Secret

Dear readers and friends of Carol, here you find Carol’s last article, which she had scheduled a long time in the future. This article illustrates Carol’s great capacity for love and forgiveness.

We miss you Carol.

After careful thought and deliberation I have decided to come out with something I have danced around and never discussed outright.  Why?  Because of my own inner conflicts on the issue.  However, I realize that to be fair to the memory of the man with whom I shared the best times of my life and to his family and heritage, I should speak out.  This may not put me in the most favored of light but as the saying goes, it is what it is. It is part of who I am and my life I had shared with my late husband, Abdullah.

When I first met Abdullah back in the late 1990’s I was under the belief he was separated and in the process of divorce.  After all, we met in Pakistan, he was there alone and if asked, he did not acknowledge that he was married.  Truthfully I also made it very difficult for him to be candid as I was brash and vocal on my views on men who had more than wife.  Besides, at that time, I never imagined we’d have a life or future together.  Yet as time went on and I got to know this kind, caring and compassionate man, I gave him my heart with no holds barred.

Time passed and we discussed marriage.  He chose to be less than direct on the topic of marriage other than he had children with a good woman and whom he respected highly.  The implication was that a divorce had taken place but he would do whatever he could for his children and their mother.  I admired his integrity and loyalty.

It was not until we had been married for more than three years that I learned he had never divorced his first wife.  From a western and emotional perspective I felt abandoned and betrayed.  Yet at the same time, Abdullah was always true to his words and actions.  He never made me feel incomplete or less than loved or his only love for that matter.  He had a relationship similar to many around the world of couples who were divorced and had children in common.  He never spoke against the fine woman who was his first wife.  It was my own insecurities that would make this subject an issue.  Yes; like a whining banshee I would feel some periods of self pity and fear.  Oh how silly I was.

As more time passed I like to say that my eyes opened wider and wiser.  I became aware of intimate family details and especially so how a Saudi woman can lose so much of herself and her own opportunities if there is perceived abandonment or divorce.  Abdullah, showcasing his honor, would never place a woman in such a position.  He wanted her to always have the protection of his name, integrity and family.  She raised his children and raised them so well.

She and I never met, never talked.  There was no need.  Over time I came to realize there was no need for me to feel threatened or insecure.  If anything, one could say I was in the stronger position since I was the one recognized and known as Abdullah’s wife to whom he openly gave his heart and was willing to sacrifice his position in order to merge a life together.

I only have all the more admiration for Abdullah.  He was a man caught in tradition and heritage.  Like me, he never dreamed he’d also find that ‘once in a lifetime love.’  He did not want to lose me and chose to hold back from me until I asked him point blank directly about his marital status.  Even when I did confront him all those years ago, I still see the fear and concern which etched over his face.  He was ready for me to let him go because of my strong abhorrence against the concept of multiple wives in Islam.  But all it took was for me to see his face, his fear, his love and yes, his fear to hope.  I knew… I could not let this man go.  We would move forward and move forward even stronger.  We would learn to dissolve the time which had been lost by my own fears and insecurities.

Don’t say it can’t happen to you.  It can.  It does.  It happened to me.  Don’t be quick to judge or point fingers either.  Don’t blame him.  Don’t blame me.  Don’t blame her.  We all may find ourselves in circumstances beyond which imagined.

My late husband taught me an invaluable life lesson on compassion, honor, integrity and how to accept compromises for less hurt, great gain and immeasurable love.

Saudi Studies prove driving affects ovaries and pelvis!

From Al Arabiya:
Saudi women seeking to challenge a de facto ban on driving should realize that this could affect their ovaries and pelvises, Sheikh Saleh bin Saad al-Luhaydan, a judicial and psychological consultant to the Gulf Psychological Association, told Saudi news website sabq.org.

against women driving

Driving “could have a reverse physiological impact. Physiological science and functional medicine studied this side [and found] that it automatically affects ovaries and rolls up the pelvis. This is why we find for women who continuously drive cars their children are born with clinical disorders of varying degrees,” Sheikh al-Luhaydan said.

This fascinating result of the various ”scientific studies” (wholly unknown in the rest of the world) is a new excellent reason to deny women the right to drive cars.

Meanwhile Saudi women are planning more action on October the 26th to fight for the right to drive their own cars.

More than 11,000 women have signed the oct26driving.com declaration which says: “Since there are no clear justifications for the state to ban adult, capable women from driving, we call for enabling women to have driving tests and for issuing licenses for those who pass.”

Sheikh al-Luhaydan urged these women to consider “the mind before the heart and emotion and look at this issue with a realistic eye. The result of this is bad and they should wait and consider the negativities,” he said.

The new head of the Haia, the religious police, Sheikh Abdulatif Al al-Sheikh has recently come out with the comment that: ”Saudi Arabia’s ban on women driving is not mandated by any text in Sharia, the Islamic legal code which forms the basis for most Saudi law”.

Edit:

This juicy bit of Saudi news has gone viral, and even news programs like The Young Turks have been covering it:

 

AA

read more:

Al arabiya

Women’s new campaign to drive

Forbidding women driving not part of Sharia

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