Category Archives: Women

Saudi Women in a City Without Women: Making Arabia Great Again?……….

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Saudi women face a dilemma that nobody in the Kingdom without Magic can solve, not even the new power-to-be, the young Crown Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman. A serious problem of physical mobility:

  • A Saudi woman cannot drive a car anywhere in the country, she is not allowed. Illegal, verboten. Fatwas abound against it.
  • A Saudi woman can’t ride the country’s terrible public transport. She would have to ride a public transport bus with strange unrelated men, forbidden. Most of the riders of these public transports tend to be from among the millions of single woman-less laborers from other Third World countries.
  • A Saudi woman can’t ride a bicycle or a motorcycle, not allowed. Not even use a moped or roller skates.
  • She is not allowed to ride a horse or a mule or a donkey (or any unrelated jackass) or a camel either in the city.
  • A Saudi woman can’t walk to her destination, a very healthy exercise. Not really allowed: she can easily be accosted and even arrested by the Religious Police (Wahhabi Vice Squad) for ‘walking the streets’. Besides, it can be otherwise risky in a country full of hungry young woman-less men.
  • A Saudi woman can’t ride a taxi openly, technically. Since women are not allowed to drive, there are no women taxi drivers. She is not supposed to ride alone with an unrelated man, a strange male taxi driver (check this post on Mike Pence and dining alone with unrelated women and the Devil). She could be stopped and questioned if caught joyless riding with a strange man. Some of the cops will even look for the Devil in the back seat, literally.

One senior Wahhabi cleric warned several years ago that allowing women to drive would mean that there will be no ‘virgins’ left in the kingdom. I posted on that at the time here. That is how serious of a divide this issue is. A dilemma that exists in no other Middle East country, with all its economic and demographic implications. Can’t Make the Arabian Peninsula Great Again (MAPGA has a nice ring to it) without resolving it…….
Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

Not Coming to Dinner: Mike Pence, a Woman, and the Devil……

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“After this week’s revelation that Vice President Mike Pence prefers not to dine alone with women who are not his wife—or at least didn’t as of a 2002 article in the Hill—many members of both the entire sex he has snubbed and the sex that is still afforded the privilege of sitting across from Pence at a Chili’s have expressed their dismay on social media. How could the second most powerful man in our government treat men and women so differently? But not everyone is outraged, or all that surprised, to find out Pence never eats in the solitary presence of a woman…….”

Mr. Pence has suddenly excited the “socially liberal” half of America with the recent disclosure that he will not dine alone with a woman that is not his wife. I don’t understand all the fuss: many men would do (or not do) the same. Certainly the same applies to many, perhaps most, women. Probably there is some hypocrisy there.

There is an old Middle East saying: “whenever a man and a woman get together alone, the Devil is always present with them.” A threesome. Or something to that effect, allowing for linguistic preferences and differences.

You‘ve guessed by now that the idea is that it means there is no innocent get-together of a man and a woman (unless she is a sister, mother, aunt, etc). Right?

One of my language/religion teachers first told us that saying with suspicious relish in Middle School (Junior High). I rarely believed my teachers in matters of religion, but on that one I did at that time, given my critical age and natural obsession.

It is amazing how Christian fundamentalism is so much like Islamic fundamentalism. And how much they both resemble Jewish fundamentalism (apparently if you take a mixed-gender bus often in certain parts of Jerusalem you’d know what I mean). I suspect that they both got much of their uptightness from ancient Jewish writings. People from arid lands tend to be more uptight than others, I should know. Unless we’re talking about Arizona or Palm Springs. But Indiana? The Hoosier State doesn’t resemble our faraway places that have created Muslim and Jewish jihadis in recent decades…….

Maybe that is not it, maybe Mr. Pence knows himself as well as, say, Mr. Trump knows himself. The latter explained it all to the world in Billy Bush’s tapes. Live and learn….

(Remember: everybody’s house is at least partly made of glass. At least the windows tend to be so…..)

P.S.:  I just remembered a novel I read many years ago, Rain by one of the greatest writers of the 20th century, Somerset Maugham.

Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

UAE: Ministry of Tolerance, Ministry of Happiness, Ganja, Ganja, Ganja……

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“New post of Minister of State for Tolerance created to establish tolerance as a fundamental value of the UAE society. A board of Emirati scientists, researchers and academics set up to provide scientific advice and knowledge to the government. The Ministry of Cabinet Affairs has been tasked with devising future strategies and will become the Ministry of Cabinet Affairs and the Future. New post of Minister of State for Happiness created to channel policies and plans to create a happier society…………”

Good and in fact cute idea to start with. But will this happiness idea include the overwhelming majority of the people in UAE (about 90%) who are citizens of South Asia, Philippines, Nepal, among other places?
All I can say about the “happiness” bit is that Timothy Leary is dead, but still: Ganja, Ganja, Ganja……

P.S.: now the Saudis feel under pressure to try and match this. They can probably appoint their first female minister: Ministeress of Beheading and Flogging and Crucifixion. As for a ministry of Tolerance, it might work in diverse UAE, but as for Saudi Arabia: forget about it. Tolerance is a truly dirty, and often dangerous, word in Riyadh: it can get one beheaded. The clerics say so.
Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum
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Shaikh Boehner: Burqa and Niqab in the U.S. Congress……….

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Was watching C-Span: Speaker John Boehner swearing in new members of Congress. He had to hop from corner to corner, posing for photos with each representative and his/her family. Wives, husbands, kids, occasionally grandparents. A long process.
Which made me wonder: how come we don’t have this kind of festive, joyous swearing-in in the region? That is, for the few countries that have parliaments and elections.
And then what about the Salafis? Would they also pose with their wives and kids for post-swearing photos? And with the burq’a or niqab, which all Salafi/Wahhabi wives are required to wear? How can one of them tell his wife from another’s? Suppose at photo time he sidles up to the wrong chick by mistake? Would that mean war? Intriguing question, no?……….

Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum                          Follow ArabiaDeserta on Twitter

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French Islamic Micromanagement: Culture Wars and Democracy from Paris to the Gulf……..

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“France’s government is drawing up a new set of rules for theatres after Paris Opera ejected woman for wearing a veil during a performance, the institution’s deputy director said Sunday. The incident took place when a veiled woman was spotted on the front row of a performance of La Traviata at the Opera Bastille, Jean-Philippe Thiellay told AFP, confirming a media report. France brought in a law in 2011 banning anyone from wearing clothing that conceals the face in a public space, or face a 150 euro ($190) fine………. France’s ministry of culture said a bill was currently being drafted to remind theatres, museums and other public institutions under its supervision of the rules regarding veils……..”


The French worry a lot about losing ‘their culture’. Years ago they imposed rules and limits on how much foreign music French radio stations could broadcast. I am not sure how that affected stations that broadcast classical music: since the overwhelming majority of composers were Austrian, German, and Russian, with a smattering of other nationalities, including French. They were mainly worried about American music. Maybe that is why they were skeptical about NATO: they saw it as an Anglo-Saxon creation. They also tried to eliminate or limit ‘English’ words used in French media (no attempt was made to eradicate Latin influence since the original language of Gaul has vanished into it).

Now they continue to worry about hijab and niqab and Arabic (I have seen normally-rude Paris CDG airport staff openly mocking Arabic in front of foreign visitors). Yet, when they talk about ‘their culture’, they must mean the whole culture in France. That must surely include the ‘culture’ of the millions of French citizens and residents who are not of European descent. That means North African and African as well. Come to think of it, the French are as much in cultural denial as we are on the Gulf. This French denial is almost like, say, if the rulers of the United Arab Emirates ban such languages as Hindi or Urdu, which a majority of the population of the UAE and Qatar speak.

I am not fond of the Neqab or Burqa: they raise security issues at airports and elsewhere. They are also probably imposed on many of the women who wear them. But I must admit that some of these women are probably better off to keep on wearing them. After all, occasionally there is something positive to be said for the imagination. Yet all this also has some worldwide implications.

So, maybe if and when a majority of the French parliament become of Muslim descent, then maybe this attire policy will change. Just as it is possible now for the UAE parliament, for example, to vote to make Hindi and Urdu official languages. 
Wait, my bad: there is no elected parliament in the UAE. Maybe after they impose free elections in a liberated Syria they will import the idea and have their own free elections. The same can apply for the Saudis and the Qataris. I can’t wait to see King Whatishisname and Shaikh Whatishisass bumbling in election debates.
Cheers
MHG

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

Women of ISIS: Religion and Slavery and the Onus of Islamic History……….

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“Women in Syria and Iraq are at high risk for sexual enslavement by ISIS. ISIS is capturing, abusing, raping, trading, and selling women in areas it controls. America is politically polarized and citizens are divided on the U.S. policy on ISIS. Some think the U.S. should be doing more to combat the organization. They think America should use its full strength to ward off possible terrorist attacks on home soil. Others worry that air strikes will incur too many civilian deaths and collateral damage. They believe America should be more cautious about declaring war on another country in the Middle East………”

Classic slavery in the Middle East and North Africa lasted well after Europe and the Americas ended it. Slavery was ‘officially’ ended in Saudi Arabia only in the 1960s. In Mauritania, an Arab League member, there have been sporadic reports that slavery still exists.

Reports of Wahhabi Jihadis enslaving women and using them for sex and other labor are not exactly new. This Jihadi inclination has been more publicized in recent years, starting with developments in Iraq and Africa. These are a new wilder breed and they make their Al-Qaeda predecessors seem tame and absolutely family-oriented in comparison. (Maybe a case of “the devil you know“, etc).

Trafficking in women by these groups inside Iraq has been reported for years. Now, with full-blown wars raging in both Iraq and Syria and their territorial gains, they have the expanded access and the excuse to replenish their supply of females. The victims come mainly from among the religious minorities and non-Sunnis, but probably not exclusively so.
Others, including many in the West, also traffic in women as sex objects. But this new breed of Wahhabis are not subtle about it and they take it to historic extremes. They have a certain historical flair for the subject. They simplify the matter by throwing the onus on ancient history, blaming their ancient predecessors, their Salaf, for it.

They claim, and correctly, that early Muslims in the Arabian Peninsula took women as war booty after battles and often they sold them or used them as slaves and concubines. They also converted and married them in a few famous cases. But that was during the early ‘tribal stage’ of the expansion of Islam, when the battles were with and among the rival Arab tribes. A few of the battles were also against the Jewish tribes and clans of Madina and other parts of Hijaz in western Arabia. These latter battles also yielded slaves, concubines, and at least one famous very good wife.

Slavery existed from long before the three monotheistic religions appeared and continued long afterwards. It was an important part of the economy of the Roman Empire: the wealth and the income, the GNP. None of the major faiths of the Middle East, Judaism or Christianity or Islam, banned slavery. This is the basis of the alibi that the Caliphate of ISIS uses in taking female war captives and distributing them among its fighters to ‘use’ or sell or trade. It revives slavery because it existed under Islam and anything that existed under early Islam is considered kosher and mandatory by the Salafis.

That is why the Salafis are widely reputed in the Middle East to prefer toothpicks (miswak) to toothpaste (I am not being flippant here, it is common to profile them so in our Gulf region). You see, early Muslims did not have access to Crest or Colgate…………

Cheers
MHG

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

Captive Women of the Caliphate of Mosul……

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Iraqi minister for human rights Mohammed Al Sudani claims that the Mosul Caliphate have recently killed about 420 Yazidi citizens. He also said they are holding more than 690 young Yazidi and Shi’a women under ‘rough conditions’, and that they are subjected to physical and psychological torture. He added that the militias also hold 75 Shi’a women from Sanjar.

No report yet of how many Sunni or Christian women the Wahhabis have abducted. It should be noted that when it comes to women, especially young women, the terrorists are equal opportunity kidnappers. Like the princes who gave the their start, they can find a cleric to issue any fatwa permitting any kind of depravity.

The story continues. The AP also reported tow weeks ago that ISIS fighters have taken hundreds of Yazidi women in Iraq as war booty, concubines (i.e. potential sex slaves). Other recent reports note that the Wahhabi terrorist group is working to lure young women and girls from the West to come to Syria and Iraq for the purpose of “sex jihad”. This may be a sort of rehearsal for when the Wahhabi cutthroats go to Paradise, as they expect, and partake of the unlimited virgin huris. If they ever make it there.

Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

Sexual Harassment: Laughing Turkish Women, Flirtatious Saudi Women……

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“It seems in male-dominated Muslim powerhouses, women may not be entitled to mirth. First, a top Turkish official last month reproached women for laughing in public, deeming such expressions immodest and a sign of the country’s moral erosion. Turkish women laugh during a yoga session in a public garden in Ankara on Saturday, in a rebuke of a senior official’s admonition against women laughing in public. Now a Saudi social research center reports that 80% of people questioned in a national survey blame the scourge of sexual harassment plaguing the country on the “deliberate flirtatious behavior” of women……….The sexual harassment survey in Saudi Arabia by the King Abdulaziz Center for National Dialogue in Riyadh stirred a more muted reaction in the kingdom, where women remain more socially marginalized…..………”

Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

From ISIS to Arizona: Two Faces of Barbarism………


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“The UN says militant Islamist group Isis has ordered all women and girls in Mosul, northern Iraq, to undergo female genital mutilation (FGM). UN official Jacqueline Badcock said the fatwa, or religious edict, applied to females between the ages of 11 and 46. She said the unprecedented decree issued by the Islamists in control of the city was of grave concern. Iraq is facing a radical Isis-led Sunni insurgency, with cities in the north-west under militant control. The ritual cutting of girls’ genitals is practised by some African, Middle Eastern and Asian communities in the belief it prepares them for adulthood or marriage…………..”

“I’ve never witnessed an execution that took that long,” Wood’s federal public defender, Dale Baich, told NBC News. “The state of Arizona today conducted a failed experiment. … It was horrible to watch.” Media witnesses said the execution — which followed a botched lethal-injection in Oklahoma, and a protracted one in Ohio using the same drugs — began as expected with doctors inserting the IVs into Wood’s veins. The witnesses said Wood, 55, thanked Jesus as his savior and delivered these final words: “I take comfort knowing today my pain stops, and I said a prayer that on this or any other day you may find peace in all of your hearts, and may God forgive you all.”…….”

Shows you that barbarism is an international phenomenon and not confined to Salafi nuts like ISIS. This is not the first time a man was tortured publicly before being put to death by injection in the United States by ‘the state’. I have written against execution by beheading and crucifixion in Saudi Arabia, but that seems like a humane quick way to die compared to what happened to this man in Arizona and what happened in that other state a few weeks ago. No doubt there are many cases where innocent people are put to death for crimes they did not commit, people we don’t read about because their execution is botched.

Cheers

Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

Made in India, Legalized Gang Rape in India………


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“A 14-year-old girl was dragged into a forest and raped on the orders of a village council in remote eastern India in retaliation for a sex assault blamed on her brother, her family and police said Friday. Jitendra Singh, a top local police official, said two men have been arrested in the rape case. They include the village headman and the main suspect, identified as the husband of the woman who was allegedly molested by the victim’s brother. The victim’s brother has also been arrested on charges of molestation. The girl’s mother told CNN-IBN news channel that she pleaded with the council and other villagers when they ordered the rape ……………….”
Cheers

Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com