I know that’s not a surprise to any of us, but when I read actual details of what life is like, particularly for women, in Saudi I can’t help but feel horrified. Take for example this article in the NY Sun. Allahpundit linked to the piece because it reports of the possibility that the Saudis may ban the letter X because it looks too much like a Christian cross – and Allah has determined from research that the report is accurate. As crazy and outrageous as that is, what sickened me came a few paragraphs later:
The Saudi commission has shaped life and death: declared jihad against Soviet soldiers in Afghanistan, banished women from public life, and forced piety at the tip of the whip and the sword. Its edicts have hindered business, education, travel, women’s rights, and life itself, creating a fertile ground for terrorism and producing the 15 Saudis who participated in the September 11, 2001, attacks — and many others like them.
Among the commission’s deeds is the famed 1974 fatwa — issued by its blind leader at the time, Sheik Abdul Aziz Ben Baz — which declared that the Earth was flat and immobile. In a book issued by the Islamic University of Medina, the sheik argued: “If the earth is rotating, as they claim, the countries, the mountains, the trees, the rivers, and the oceans will have no bottom.” Another bright light of the commission, Sheik Abdel-Aziz al-Sheikh, recently stopped a government reform proposal aimed at creating work for women by allowing them to replace male sales clerks in women’s clothing stores. Sheik al-Sheikh damned the idea, saying it was a step “towards immorality and hellfire.” The underlying logic is breathtaking: Women are more protected by buying their knickers from men! Over the years, the commission has rendered Saudi Arabia a true kingdom of darkness. Movie theaters are banned, as are sculptures, paintings, and music, and the mixing of sexes in public.
The commission really has it in for women. They must don the all-enveloping veil, or niqab, in public; they cannot drive themselves nor ride anywhere without a male guardian, and they cannot travel alone domestically or abroad.
The commission also excels at banning the construction of houses of worship — other than mosques — even though the majority of the 8 million expatriates working in the kingdom come from Christian, Hindu, and Buddhist faiths. Indeed, celebrating a private Sunday Mass inside a home could lead to jail, public lashings, and expulsion.
One of the most criminal travesties committed by the commission’s foot soldiers, the Mutawaeen, or religious police, was dramatically reported by the muzzled Saudi press itself on Friday, March 15, 2002, when the Mutawaeen forcibly prevented girls fleeing a burning school from leaving the building because they were “improperly dressed.”
The day after, the Saudi Gazette newspaper quoted witnesses as saying the police stopped men who tried to help the girls, warning the men: “It is sinful to approach them.”
Of the 800 teenage pupils in Mecca, 15 burned to death and more than 50 were injured. Yet, the commission and its royal enablers thrive.
Conform to the rules; nothing else matters, not even innocent human life. Actually, in the eyes of those on the commission, these girls weren’t innocent because they broke the rules by not wearing commission-approved clothing. Their punishment: suffer and die by being burned alive.
I know I’m not writing anything that’s new to those who are familiar with what life is like for people living in countries run by radical Islamic leaders, but each time I read stories like this one I’m still mortified. I can’t help but think what a sad and cruel stroke of fate it is to be born into Islam in Saudi Arabia, or any radical Islamic culture for that matter. To be born in a country like this leads to a lifetime filled with more fear and cruelty than those lucky enough to be born in the US can imagine.