Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Sell Them to the Highest Bidder

Director’s Comment: Saudi advocacy groups are using modern technology to promote Stone Age habits. They are encouraging wealthy Saudi men to do what has been practiced in Islam’s birthplace for centuries: own four women because it is legal to do so. In the past, this repulsive form of human trafficking was encouraged by men to prevent women from indulging in sexual activities after losing their husbands in the perpetual tribal wars that ravaged the region. Men justified the four wives’ system by saying that it kept women pure and their male relatives’ honor unblemished, but the real purpose of the system was to deny women their natural right to decide for themselves and determine their own destiny.

The new advocates are using the new social media (never mind that they consider its inventors to be infidels) to promote the sale of women to wealthy men. They have introduced Facebook campaigns supporting the four wives system and therefore are reaching much of the young Saudi population. The men advocate that “every Saudi and Arab man who is financially and physically able to marry more than one wife should not hesitate to do so in order to end spinsterhood among our women and help cap the high marriage costs that have deterred many young men from getting married.” The real goals behind the four wives system and its equally destructive cousin, the institutionalized male guardianship system, are to marginalize women and to prevent social cohesiveness, unity and collective productivity. The Saudi government uses the Machiavellian form of rule—divide and conquer.

The price that Saudi society, the Arab and Muslim Worlds and the international community are paying to deny Saudi women their basic human rights is dismally high. Saudi women are still prevented from participating in the decision-making process, especially in the areas of education and religion. Because of Saudi Arabia’s centrality to Islam, empowering Saudi women can resonate throughout the Muslim world and can eventually undermine the domestically, regionally and globally known Saudi mortal doctrine (known as Wahhabism) that promotes religious totalitarianism worldwide.
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