Sunday, January 20, 2008

Saudi Women Treated Worse Than Gitmo Prisoners

A Saudi woman, Wajiha Al-Huweidar, speaks out against radicalism, the treatment of women in Saudi Arabia, and Saudi society.

This partial transcript is from Turkish Weekly. View the video clip of the interview at MemriTV.

On Saudi society and the treatment of women:

"Saudi society is based on enslavement - the enslavement of women to men and of society to the state. People still do not make their own decisions, but it is the women of Saudi Arabia who have been denied everything. The Saudi woman still lives the life of a slave girl. So in what way are we different from Guantanamo? At least in the case of Guantanamo, many prisoners have been released, while we remain in this prison, and nobody ever hears of us. When will we be freed? I don't know."

On Saudi men:

"We, in the East - and I am talking about the East in a broad sense, including Pakistan, Turkey, and the Kurds... The way I see it, these are all wretched people, wretched men. This is obvious. He who has nothing cannot give anything to others. These men have lost what could have given them a real sense of masculinity. They draw their masculinity from Islam, if they are Muslims, of if they are non-Muslims, from the customs and tradition of the very harsh society that gives men more rights than women. Hence, they do not draw any strength from within. In the case of our Saudi society, they draw their strength from the weakness of women too. Most women choose to be weak, because it makes their lives easier. The weaker the wife is, the stronger the husband feels. How can you rely on a man who does not draw his strength from within?"

On religious radicalism:

"...the early signs that a wrong ideology is dying are fanaticism and extremism. This is obvious. Have you ever seen a dead body that is soft? When the person dies, the body becomes rigid. Similarly, this ideology will become increasingly rigid, and will reach the height of fanaticism, but it is constantly in the process of dying. Take a look at history. Let's examine what happened to the Church in Europe. It becomes rigid and persecuted ideologies, killing and burning scientists, until people rebelled against it, and this led to its collapse. History tells us that this holds true for all ideologies."

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