It’s no secret that once most people gain significant power, it’s hard for them to let go of it. Such is the case not only in the Muslim world but in most religions that have traditionally been ruled by men.
Unfortunately there are scores of Muslim men who refuse to use the Sharia [Islamic Jurisprudence for the changing times] as it was intended, as a tool to make religious rulings in changing times. Instead they opt to use it as a weapon to wield against anybody who gets in the way of their power or challenges their authority.
Feminist and Islamic Scholar Souad al-Shammary has not only been an outspoken voice for women’s rights not only in Saudi Arabia but throughout the Muslim world. She has been a tireless champion fighting for women’s rights especially as it applies to the Sharia but she has been an advocate for Muslim women and stood by their sides in Islamic courts even when their own families deserted them.
Al-Shammary first became active after her first child was taken from her after getting divorced and remarried. A judge in an Islamic court ruled that since she got divorced and remarried it wasn’t good for her child to be raised in another man’s household.
She once spent 3 months in prison with no charge for “agitating public opinion.” She has been barred by the Saudi government from traveling abroad/ Her co-founder of the online forum Free Saudi Liberals is currently serving a 10 year prison sentence and received 50 lashes publicly. As if that all wasn’t enough her own father publicly disowned her, yet she continues.
Al-Shammary has been quoted as saying “I have rights which I don’t view as against my religion, I want to ask for these rights and I want those who make decisions to hear me and act.”
Throughout the Arab world female Islamic scholars and activist have been demanding an interpretation of Islamic law that asserts men and women as equals. Of these scholars al-Shammary is the most high profile in Saudi Arabia.
Men and women are not equal for the simple fact that no two people are equal. Even identical twins have noticeable difference. However all human beings have the same basic human rights regardless to any superficial differences such as gender. This however does not mean one gender is superior or inferior to the other.
It is important to note that there is a difference between Muslims and Islam. Muslims are the people who believe in the religion of Islam and when faithfully adhered to it is not so much a religion as it is a way of life. Acknowledging rights is where the Sharia comes in In spite of what you may or may not have heard regarding The Sharia or “Sharia law” as it is often mislabeled it is simply Islamic Jurisprudence to deal with the changing times.
Prior to the Prophet Muhammad establishing Islam, female babies were completely devalued and often buried alive in the sand when they were born, and if a family had wealth enough for education it generally was not afforded to female offspring. Not only in the west but through out the Muslim world women have become educated established themselves in business and even world politics.
Some things cannot be changed for the sake of the religion otherwise It is no longer Islam. It is however high time that women’s human rights be reflected in the Sharia. And it is grossly negligent and irresponsible of the House of Saud [Saudi government] to continue to impose their own sexist and misogynist will on Women in Saudi Arabia.
To get a grasp as to why they continue to do so one must understand that the House of Saud is little more than a puppet government of the west that was installed after the downfall of the Ottoman Empire at the end of WWI.
They are the only Government in the so called Middle East that fully support the Zionist regime of Israel, and routinely support the west in war and other forms of oppression not just in the Arab world but Throughout the Muslim world.