The authorities knew all along that Waleed Abu al-Khair was guilty. They just needed something better to charge him with. So on April 15, even as the prominent human rights lawyer stood before a judge, accused of harming the country’s reputation and other offenses, they had him arrested right there in the courtroom for something that would really stick: breaking the country’s new antiterrorism law.
Saudi Arabia has been hugely successful in combating terrorism — there have been no major attacks within its borders since 2004, when militants assaulted the American Consulate in Jeddah in an incident that left a dozen people dead.… Seguir leyendo »
There are many misconceptions in the West about what life is like for women in Saudi Arabia — perhaps almost as many misconceptions as there are among Saudis about people who live in the West.
I ought to know — I’m a Saudi woman who spent much of my childhood in Kansas, where life, even in pre-9/11 days, included dealing with the fallout from nasty prejudices and popular misconceptions. Since then, I’ve returned to my homeland, married, had three children, and began working as an English teacher and lecturer in Saudi educational institutes.
Most people in the West, naturally enough, get their ideas about Saudi life from the media.… Seguir leyendo »
On 11 March, when Saudi protesters’ “day of rage” did not materialise, Fouad al-Farhan, a human rights activist, tweeted:
“My fear is that the ceiling of our reformist demands will be lowered to women driving for some and combating westernisation for others.”
Two months later, his fears became a reality. A campaign to allow women to drive in Saudi Arabia was started on Facebook. Currently this issue has overtaken all others online, in the press and on the ground.
The movement particularly caught fire when a face for it emerged. A Saudi woman, Manal al-Sharif, came forward and posted a Youtube video advising how to go about the campaign.… Seguir leyendo »
Friday was Saudi Arabia’s “day of rage”, planned for and anticipated for weeks. But, in the event, there wasn’t even a grumble – unless you count the ongoing protests in the eastern province which had been going on for a week.
The protests in the east, where the Saudi Shia minority is concentrated, were mostly to call for the release of political prisoners. However, across the country there was silence. Many were expecting it to be so, but some wonder why.
Two main factors played a role in this silence. The first was the government’s preparation, with the interior ministry’s warning and the senior clerics’ religious decree prohibiting demonstrations and petitions.… Seguir leyendo »