Women in Saudi Arabia should be allowed more basic freedoms, according to a UN anti-discrimination committee report, which includes recommendations that:
- the practice of needing a man's permission to marry, work, travel or be educated should end.
- there should be more laws offering protection to women.
Womens' rights is a tricky subject for the Saudi and other non-secular Muslim dominated countries, since they know full well that all women in their society are treated as well as they should be.
The thing for them is that the Koran indicates explicitly and quite categorically (in numerous verses, for example including 4:10, 4:34, 4:54, 43:13, 43:64) that women are inferior for a multitude of reasons - women are chattels for men (as are slaves); they are economically dependent on men; they are worth half of what a man is worth; they are silly and given to frippery; God made them inferior in nature and made men superior in nature; men are entitled to beat them; Paradise is apparently mainly for men, but women can get in if they are married or "chaste virgins" - in the latter case, they are given to the spirits of (presumably unmarried) men and martyrs for their "delight"; because they induce lust in the hearts of men, women are the guilty party in their own rape, which is why women may be punished for their own rape and stoned to death for fornication/infidelity - but men get off (at the worst) with just a few lashes - whether rapist or adulterer.
If Muslims - males especially - have this kind of toxic misogynistic drivel (never mind the exhortations to kill all infidels) being continuously pumped into their heads from the age of at least 6, then it would seem no small wonder that things are as they are in sunny Saudi and other Islamic societies. It sets their paradigms rock-solid. This is successful religious indoctrination on a grand scale - probably far surpassing what the Roman Catholic Church historically tried to achieve - and it is how you control poorly-educated and even well-educated people. It thrives on and encourages stupidity, bigotry and ignorance.
"But look here where it says so in the Koran!" must seem almost as compelling an argument as the sound of a loaded pistol being cocked behind your ear. Even given the reputed retraction (by Mohammed) of "The Satanic Verses" (per Salman Rushdie's 1988 novel) from the Koran, what's left in the Koran looks pretty scary.
Perhaps unsurprisingly therefore, the Saudi government, in submissions before the aforementioned report was published, said that there was no discrimination against women. Last month a Saudi delegation told the UN body - the committee on the elimination of discrimination against women - that human rights in the kingdom were based on Sharia law. The delegation said Saudi society was still largely a tribal one where new ideas took time to be accepted.
Oh well, that explains it then - or does it?
One has to ask: How much time do they need to accept new ideas? Surely 600 years is long enough?*
What could the cause of this societally laggard behaviour be? Just maybe, it could be that they cannot change, simply because they are a non-secular society, straightjacketed by the paradigms - including the dogma and ideology - of their main religion, the Islamic faith.
*Explanation: In my blog post Mohammed the teddy-bear, I wrote "The thing is, Muslim-dominated states - e.g., including Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Sudan - have already had about 600 years to climb out of this type of state barbarism, and yet they have apparently been unable to successfully complete the exercise, despite a veneer of civilisation."