On a Saudi preacher’s belief that ‘women are shameful’
By : Turki Al-Dakhil
Let us overcome the current controversy over a Saudi preacher’s statement that women are shameful. It is a shameful statement, but my call to overcome this controversy stems from the need to look at the situation from a different angle.
Imagine how someone born this year, whether a boy or girl, will read this preacher’s comments 20 years from now. How will they look at their society, in which someone who is supposedly an opinion leader considered women dishonourable in 2016?
How can you explain to a Muslim in China, Ireland or Senegal that the woman who gave birth to you, raised you and lived with you cannot drive a car because of doubts over her ability to make choices, and is viewed as shameful and disgraceful?
How will you explain to a Muslim in the East or West this tragic, even comical situation? This is reminiscent of Arab poet Abu Tayyib al-Mutanabbi’s verse: “What are the objects which raise the laughter of Egypt, laughter which nearly resembles weeping?”
The reason I ask how to explain this to a Muslim in particular is because we have the same religion, and we hope for forgiveness and desire to go to heaven. It is not women who are defective but men, and even culture.
Turki Al-Dakhil is the General Manager of Al Arabiya News Channel. He began his career as a print journalist, covering politics and culture for the Saudi newspapers Okaz, Al-Riyadh and Al-Watan. He then moved to pan-Arab daily Al-Hayat and pan-Arab news magazine Al-Majalla. Turki later became a radio correspondent for the French-owned pan-Arab Radio Monte Carlo and MBC FM. He proceeded to Elaph, an online news magazine and Alarabiya.net, the news channel’s online platform. Over a ten-year period, Dakhil’s weekly Al Arabiya talk show “Edaat” (Spotlights) provided an opportunity for proponents of Arab and Islamic social reform to make their case to a mass audience. Turki also owns Al Mesbar Studies and Research Centre and Madarek Publishing House in Dubai. He has received several awards and honors, including the America Abroad Media annual award for his role in supporting civil society, human rights and advancing women’s roles in Gulf societies. He tweets @TurkiAldakhil.
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