Tuesday, 29 March 2011

The BBC and that missing word (or words) again

The BBC manage to report on womens lives in Saudi Arabia and the restrictions that make it, in the words of one of the interviewees, "the biggest women's prison in the world", without mentioning why Saudi Arabia is such a living hell for women.

The report tells us that:
'the restrictions on women are scarcely believable in the 21st Century. A woman can't drive and she is not allowed to work or travel without the permission of her male guardian, father or husband.

Customs such as arranged marriages, under-age marriage and polygamy still prevail.


A 17-year-old girl sends in an e-mail complaining of boredom. Dina tells her to take up a hobby like painting or photography which, because an unaccompanied girl is not allowed to leave the house, she will have to do at home.

If an 18-year-old wrote in asking how to meet a member of the opposite sex, Dina says she would respond by saying, "It is not possible and [you] must accept it - it is our culture".

At the end of her shift, her boss accompanies her down on to the street and waits until her brother's car pulls up to collect her.

"You present your own radio show and yet you can't drive?" I asked. "It's normal," she said, and closed the car door.

She has to watch what she says. The radio station receives angry calls from the country's religious conservatives who are appalled that women like her are allowed to sit in the same room as an unrelated man.

Any false step or unguarded remark could see the station closed.

Reem Asaad, a 38-year-old college lecturer in finance at a Jeddah women's college, believes that women will never be allowed to drive in Saudi Arabia and that there should be a public transport system.

But would women be allowed to use it? "Probably not," she admitted, "unless chaperoned."

Women in the kingdom are not allowed to come into contact with any man who is not a family member. Even the few women who run businesses have to employ a male manager to negotiate with other men.

"It is limiting, restricting and humiliating," Ms Asaad said bitterly, "but we are used to it." '
And on and on and on the report goes but all without mentioning Islam, Muslims or Sharia Law; how odd. Well it would be odd anywhere except on the BBC for whom criticism of Jslam is just not acceptable.

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