No Woman No Drive

I’ve been busy putting together the second issue of Fitnah’s publication Unveiled, which will focus on the burqa and niqab ban.

In the meanwhile though I did want to give a quick heads up to the video “No Woman No Drive” which has gone viral. It’s a spoof by Heesham Fagheeh, a social activist and artist, on the Saudi driving ban.

As I had reported earlier, 26 October was a Day of Defiance against the ban. At least 16 women have been fined for driving on the day and the fight continues.

Defiance indeed!

(Via Afsaneh Vahdat)

On Raif Badawi: When is it going to end?

raif badawi-cbsnews-comI reported on Raif Badawi before here.

The founder of a website calling for religious liberalisation has been sentenced to seven years in prison and 600 lashes. How does someone survive 600 lashes? Since they couldn’t execute him for apostasy as was initially planned, they hope to kill him with 600 lashes (150 at a time).

His lawyer said that Raif, a father of three, had confirmed that he was a Muslim but told the judge “everyone has a choice to believe or not believe.”

Indeed they do, but not yet under Sharia and Islamism in Saudi Arabia, Iran, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Iraq…

When is it going to end? It has to soon.

It’ll be a good day when innocents like Raif walk free and the rulers of Saudi, Iran and elsewhere are in jail where they belong.

Raif must be freed. No ifs and buts.

***

As an aside Muslims for Progressive Values has issued a statement in his defence here. (Thanks to Chris Roche for the link.) There shouldn’t be one person – Muslim or not – who doesn’t denounce this sentence and demand that Raid be released.

Saudi advertising campaign not enough

KKFABUSEAD1 Monica Lanfranco has written an article in Italy’s Il Fatto Quotidiano on the first Saudi campaign against domestic violence here. A poster of the educational campaign can be seen above.

In the article she quotes me saying:

This anti-violence campaign in Saudi Arabia is clearly in response to the public outrage over the death of 5 year old Lama after facing horrendous and unspeakable tortures at the hands of her father, who was effectively let go. Any move to highlight domestic violence is hugely important but the problem is not just a matter of education and raising awareness. Stopping domestic violence has to start with changes in the law that criminalises it and prosecutes abusers. Under Sharia law, however, violence against women and children is often seen to be the prerogative of the male guardian as Lama’s case highlights.

The Saudi Government wants to be seen to be making an effort against violence in the face of public outrage. The first perpetrator of violence in Saudi society though is the regime itself and its medieval laws.

The best way to begin to end violence against women and children is to end the implementation of Sharia law – not  an advertising campaign.

Yaay! Saudi Arabia lifts ban on female cyclists

Yaay!

There are reports that Saudi Arabia lifted a ban on female cyclists!

A Saudi daily cited an unnamed official as saying women can now ride bikes in parks and recreational areas but must wear a full-body abaya, be accompanied by a male relative, and stay within certain areas. They are allowed to bike for recreational purposes only, not as a primary mode of transportation.

So no, not really… Unless of course you want to go out like this:

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(Via Tarek Fatah)

Women are always expendable

Did you hear that Ikea had airbrushed all women out of their Saudi Arabian catalogue?

Ikea released a statement expressing regret over the issue: “We should have reacted and realised that excluding women from the Saudi Arabian version of the catalogue is in conflict with the Ikea Group values.”

Starbucks it seems also removed the long-haired woman from its logo, keeping only her crown, when it opened a store in Saudi.

It seems women are easily expendable when it comes to profits. Oh and also for ‘religious tolerance’, ‘respect’, and ‘not causing offence’ and in order to ‘stop discrimination’, ‘end racism’, and of course ‘prevent Islamophobia’ and what not…

None of your business!

For those who think all ‘Muslims’ think alike and love to live under restrictions and Sharia law, here’s a brilliant video of a Saudi woman refusing to comply with the demand of the morality police that she leave the mall because her hair is showing, she’s got nail polish and lip stick. She stands her ground in a way that will make you smile all day, every day for the rest of the week.

(Link via Hassan Radwan)

This is why we’re defending free expression – for the likes of Hamza Kashgari

Hamza Kashgari, a young journalist, was banned from writing in Saudi Arabia by the Saudi Minister of Information and has reportedly been forced to flee after being accused of blasphemy, atheism, and apostasy and following calls for his head.

His crime? Tweeting about Mohammad, Islam’s prophet, including about how he’s equal to him and how he hates some of Mohammad’s characteristics… (Only some?)

The Saudi Minister of Information ‘wept’ upon reading Hamza’s tweets ‘offending’ the prophet (and not as you might expect when he heard that someone must flee for his life for merely tweeting and despite having had to apologise)…

And, dear readers, this is why we’re defending free expression on 11 February – for the likes of Hamza Kashgari.

IMPORTANT UPDATE: It seems the Saudi government is trying to get Hamza back from wherever he has fled to in order to prosecute him. We need to step in and defend him so watch this space so we can see what we can do to help him.

(Via @SaudiHope on Twitter)

Beheading is not real Islam or Sharia!?

According to a Saudi Interior Ministry statement, a woman, Amina Bint Abdulhalim Nassar, was beheaded today in the northern province of Jawf for ‘practising witchcraft and sorcery’.

Yes beheaded and yes for witchcraft and sorcery.

Oh but according to the Ahmadiyyas who I debated last Thursday (and which I will be blogging about later today), this is not real Islam or Sharia.

Yeah, right…