Saudi Woman Exposes Hate & Is Jailed

The Saudi woman attempting to expose the bias and wanting other Saudi people to join her in a protest next month will stay in jail for another 10 days while authorities decide her fate.
Manal al-Sharif, a 32-year-old woman, featured in the video above was to be released after 5 days in jail on charges of driving without a license, according to her attorney, Adnan Al-Salah.
“The investigator needs another 10 days to complete his investigation,” Al-Salah told the Guardian. “He will decide whether Manal is innocent and has to be released or he will refer her to the prosecution unit, a government organization, and they might refer her to a special prosecutor to deal with the case.”
“I feel the fair and right thing would have been to release her on bail,” he said.
Al-Salah appealed to authorities to deal with Al-Sharif’s case on humanitarian grounds, saying she did not commit a “grave crime to merit a long detention.”

Saudi Arabia is the only country in the world to ban women — both Saudi and foreign — from driving, forcing families to hire live-in drivers. Those who cannot afford the fees of up to $400 per month for a driver must rely on male relatives to drive them.
“This is a volunteer campaign to help the girls of this country,” al-Sharif said in the video. “At least for times of emergency, God forbid. What if whoever is driving them gets a heart attack?”
Dressed in a headscarf and the black “abaya” or cloak that all women must wear in public, al-Sharif said not all Saudi women can afford to hire a driver. She said she learned to drive at the age of 30 in New Hampshire. Al-Sharif, who is divorced, now works as an IT expert for oil giant Saudi Aramco, the Guardian reported.
Al-Sharif and a group of other women started a Facebook page called “Teach me how to drive so I can protect myself,” which more than 12,000 users indicated they supported before it was apparently removed and replaced with an identical page. As of early Friday, nearly 6,000 people indicated they supported the campaign.
A counter-campaign was later launched on Facebook, calling on men to beat Saudi women who defied the ban. That page, titled “The Iqal Campaign: June 17 for preventing women from driving,” has been removed, although cached versions can still be found. The term “iqal” refers to the Arabic name for the cord used to fasten the traditional headdress worn by many men, suggesting the cord be used to beat women who drive.
Some users on the page advocated distributing boxes of iqals to young men to beat women who participate in the protest next month, which Al-Sharif has withdrawn from, her attorney told The Guardian.
Facebook officials declined to comment on the matter directly, but said the social networking site reacts quickly to reports of “inappropriate content and behavior,” according to a statement to FoxNews.com.
“Specifically, we’re sensitive to content that includes pornography, harassment of private individuals, direct statements of hate against protected groups of people, and actionable threats of violence,” the statement read. “The goal of these policies is to strike a very delicate balance between giving people the freedom to express their opinions and viewpoints — even those that may be controversial to some — and maintaining a safe and trusted environment.”
Zudhi Jasser, president and founder of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy, told FoxNews.com that it’s unlikely anyone who assaults a female driver or a man who supports them would be prosecuted in the kingdom.
“If you talk to women’s rights activists, they will tell you they have very little protection for their physical well-bring related to the legal system in Saudi Arabia,” Jasser said. “The public face of Saudi Arabia will tell you assault is prohibited, but the reality of the fact is that some things — as barbaric as rape to assault — go unprosecuted. Women are unable to get their rights protected in the legal system.”
Jasser said many cases involving female victims of sexual crimes and assault often get dismissed due to lack of evidence or witnesses.
“This is the problem in a corrupt society such as Saudi Arabia,” he continued. “The whole thing is obviously to oppress and subjugate women … This is how republics of fear oppress and repress their citizens, by allowing criminals to act without any repercussions, and thus allows the criminals to do the dirty work of the government. It allows them to keep their hands free.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/world/2011/05/27/saudi-woman-center-female-driving-campaign-reportedly-jailed-10-days/#ixzz1NaJIlBdF

1 Comment

  1. Zakaia Cvitanovich

    What a brave woman.
    I live in Dubai, and I’m thankful that the UAE is more tolerant than Saudi is.