Saudi Arabia has the image – rightly so – suppressing women. Last week a Saudi woman Dina, in a bold act, was caught back home by her family on her flight to seek freedom in Australia and rose outrage. Was this the only solution to seek freedom?
Dina Ali Saloom’s case drew a lot of attention on social media, human rights organization called for her immediate release condemning Saudi Arabia’s human rights records and of course a Twitter hashtag was created to save her.
Dina was caught on her way from Riyadh to Melbourne, via Kuwait and Manila. In Manila, authorities confiscated her documents and banned her from taking the flight to her destination of freedom Melbourne.
All the information was sourced by Dina herself through a voice video on YouTube. No picture only her voice and a clear view on her jacket. She called for help as she will be killed if her family brings her back to Riyadh. Not clear who should help, the U.N., her neighbours, friends or all women in this world. To be fair another Saudi woman demonstrated in Manila at the time of the arrest calling for Dina’s immediate release.
Back to Dina. On the video, she confirmed being interrogated by Filipino officials for 13 hours a way to keep her in custody to be taken by her uncles back to Riyadh. The reason for her running away, escaping an unwanted marriage. Tough reading through the many articles it was not very clear that this was the main reason.
The Saudi Embassy confirmed that a Saudi woman has been detained and returned to Saudi Arabia by her uncles. That is rare compared to usually not wanting to comment. Ok, IE it means it was a family matter nothing we could have done just our laws allow it.
It is a disgrace to humanity that women have guardians and must obtain permission for almost everything no matter of their age; issuing passports or IDs, work, traveling, even if released from prison a male guardian has to pick her up. The feeling a woman is left with is that she is less of a person. And of course, there are many guardians who misuse their power.
The concept of Wilaiah as in Islam carried a different meaning, it is for protection and support rather than control as it is exercised in our days.
The translation of many rules in Islam created about 1440 years ago, and how Islam is practiced these days, is highly complicated because it can be used to increase the power of whoever has it. Instead of taking the rule in its concept and frame of time understanding, it is taken out of context and misused, unfortunately.
Is that a reason for anyone to disgrace herself, family or country or is that rather to hide a mistake committed and relying on it to make a point? There are many healthy ways of doing so.
The guardianship rule in Saudi Arabia doesn’t seem to have an end. Actions by aggression and pressure for ending it as shown in the past have given the opposite results. During the Gulf War when a group of women decided to drive and force the right for that the reaction was quite harsh. Until then there was no law forbidding women to drive in Saudi Arabia, they created it.
It is a fact that women are suppressed in Saudi Arabia, not in Islam. And the original form of Islam isn’t the one practiced in Saudi Arabia and among Saudis. This is never a reason to behave with stupidity but an opportunity to create and argue with reason. A long way? Before I would have said yes, today I say the chance is higher than before. The chance is there and proven that women who have the right attitude can reach in Saudi. A loud voice will harm Saudi Arabia. It is your country. Looking for a better life because of not coping, all your rights but please with style. That’s our religion and decency, that’s how a real Saudi is.