Saudi Arabia is an Islamic state applying Shari'a law (as is the custom for fundamentalist Muslims), and it has a shocking lack of human rights for women. Here are a few stories to give you some specifics:
2007, Saudi Arabia Human Rights
The government has tried to appear open and willing to be inspected, but they were hiding their abuses. Even so, Human Rights Watch found the law about women needing male escorts for everyday activities effectively denied them their rights to employment and education.
Sidewalks Segregated By Sex
Saudi Arabia's religious police are insisting that authorities of Medina, one of Islam's holiest cities, should build separate sidewalks for women, the Kuwaiti Al-Qabas newspaper said Friday. The country's Committee for the Propagation of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice (CPVPV), tasked with enforcing Shari'a law, believes men and women should not be allowed to mix on the streets of the Islam's second holiest place, where the Prophet Muhammad is buried.
Valentine's Day in Saudi Arabia
Valentine's Day is a touchy subject in Saudi Arabia. Introduced by Saudis who had lived in the West, the custom of exchanging romantic gifts became popular, but met with official disapproval. This year, the annual Valentine's Day "debate" began on Monday, February 12. The Riyadh newspaper reported in blazing red headlines that the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, the Wahhabi institution better known as the religious militia or mutawwa, would systematically inspect hotels, restaurants, coffeehouses, and gift shops to prevent Muslim couples from giving each other Valentines or other presents. Such items would be confiscated, and those selling them would be subject to prosecution. The mutawwa condemned Valentine's Day as a "pagan feast."
Rape Case In Saudi Arabia
When the teenager went to the police a few months ago to report she was gang-raped by seven men, she never imagined the judge would punish her — and that she would be sentenced to more lashes than one of her alleged rapists received.
The Women Of Islam
Women's rights are compromised the Koran, sura 4:34, that says men are the "overseers" of women. The verse goes on to say that the husband of an insubordinate wife should first admonish her, then leave her to sleep alone and finally beat her. Wife beating is so prevalent in the Muslim world that social workers who assist battered women in Egypt, for example, spend much of their time trying to convince victims that their husbands' violent acts are unacceptable. Beatings are not the worst of female suffering. Each year hundreds of Muslim women die in "honor killings" — murders by husbands or male relatives of women suspected of disobedience, usually a sexual indiscretion or marriage against the family's wishes.
Horrible human rights violations occur constantly, but people in the free world are somewhat paralyzed. We seem confused and hesitant to do anything about it. Why? The reason is important. On the one hand we've got the principle of multiculturalism, which says it is right and good to respect the rights of others to express their own culture and freely practice their own religion.
On the other hand, we've got an egregious lack of women's rights, enforced by men against women's will, but as a form of practicing their own religion and culture. It's enough to cause one's circuits to smoke and sputter and ultimately melt. The end result is an inability to act in any decisive way.
Donna Hughes clarifies this issue well in part three of her speech. She draws the distinction between multiculturalism and universalism. If that distinction was understood by more people in the free world, we would be un-paralyzed. We would take clear and vigorous action to stop the horrible human rights violations in countries using Shar'a law.
What you can do right now is learn the distinction, understand it, and then teach it to everyone you know. When the distinction is well-known, the paralysis and confusion will cease to exist.