What’s Up Saudi? The Kingdom Insists on Keeping Women in the Stone Age

What’s up, Saudia Arabia? Did anyone tell you it is the year 2010 and you can stop with your ludicrous rulings and the continuous scaling back of women’s rights and more specifically, their mobility?

A court in the Kingdom just sentenced four women and 11 men between the ages of 30-40 years to flogging and prison for “mingling at a party.”

While this is an absurd charge to say the least, it is not nearly as crazy as what we saw in Saudi Arabia a few days ago when women agreed to start breastfeeding their drivers in an attempt to scale up their campaign to be able to drive.

It all started with Sheikh Abdul Mohsin al-Abaican, a consultant at
the Saudi Royal Court, who issued what else but a fatwa stipulating

There should be symbolic bond between unrelated men and women who
regularly come into contact with each other.

This was followed by the brilliant idea of a Saudi scholar who
recommended women “donate their breast milk to men.” After all, in Islam
breast milk kinship is considered to be as good as a blood, according
to the Gulf
. This way the drivers can become the women’s sons and they
would no longer be considered to be going around with men who were not
related to them.

Yay! Mission accomplished, morality saved!

Before you jump of a bridge over the insanity of this fatwa, take a
moment to applaud Saudi women who instead of giving up all hope in this
culture of anything absurd towards women goes, have made this into an
opportunity to intensify their campaign to give women in Saudi Arabia
the right to drive. Journalist Amal Zahid said that the slogan of the
campaign will be: “We either be allowed to drive or breastfeed

While the Saudi authorities pretend as though they are the ones who
hold the moral high ground by continuing to go out of their way to keep
the sexes segregated and prevent women from driving, the issuing of
fatwas such as this just goes to show who the real perverts  are: Saudi

Saudi men and “scholars” who would rather preserve women’s purity
(and other BS) by not allowing them to mix with men, but telling them it
is okay to have strangers suckle on your breast so they become related
to you?!

As one Saudi woman asks, “Is this is all that is left to us to do: to
give our breasts to the foreign drivers?”

The truth of the matter is, Saudi authorities want to keep denying
women the right to drive as part of their larger efforts to curb the
mobility of women and in effect, their rights. After all, the less you
are able to get around the less you are able to do. It’s the hiding
behind all the Islamic and religious justification that is the most
disgusting part to tolerate.

Kudos to the women of Saudi Arabia for taking this as an opportunity
to expose to the world and keep reminding us of the culture of absurdity
their are forced to live in. These women should be congratulated for
using the issuing of yet another insane fatwa and flipping it  into an
opportunity to maybe one day, finally winning their right to

Cross-posted from “Anushay’s

Disclaimer: This post was written by a Feministing Community user and does not necessarily reflect the views of any Feministing columnist, editor, or executive director.

Anushay Hossain began her feminist career as an intern at the Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee (BRAC) where she worked on microfinance and primary education programs for women and girls in her native country, Bangladesh. After graduating from the University of Virginia, Anushay joined the Feminist Majority Foundation's Nobel Peace Prize nominated Campaign For Afghan Women. Anushay moved to the United Kingdom to complete her Master's in Gender and Development, and spent a year working at UNIFEM UK (United Nations Development Fund for Women) before returning to Washington, DC where she invests the majority of her work analyzing the impact of US foreign policy on the health and rights of women and girls around the world. In 2009, Anushay founded her blog Anushay’s Point, and became a blogger for The Huffington Post. She also regularly writes for Feministing, Ms. Magazine Blog, and NPR (National Public Radio).

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