Friday, December 10, 2010

Adhl: a form of slavery

Year after year, the 42-year-old Saudi surgeon remains single, against her will. Her father keeps turning down marriage proposals, and her hefty salary keeps going directly to his bank account.

The surgeon in the holy city of Medina knows her father, also her male guardian, is violating Islamic law by forcibly keeping her single, a practice known as "adhl." So she has sued him in court, with questionable success.

Adhl cases reflect the many challenges facing single women in Saudi Arabia. But what has changed is that more women are now coming forward with their cases to the media and the law. Dozens of women have challenged their guardians in court over adhl, and one has even set up a Facebook group for victims of the practice.

The backlash comes as Saudi Arabia has just secured a seat on the governing board of the new United Nations Women's Rights Council — a move many activists have decried because of the desert kingdom's poor record on treatment of women. Saudi feminist Wajeha al-Hawaidar describes male guardianship as "a form of slavery."
I've recently been looking over US census reports from the 1800s. The census included slaves (why count them: because they counted as 3/5 of a white man for the purposes of apportioning representation in the US House of Representatives). In those records slaves are counted as part of the household of whites. Often you see a notation that the slave is hired to someone else. The slave holder gets paid, not the slave. Slaves have no personal freedom. Their guardian (the slave holder) provides for them.

Just as the US laws courts perpetuated the institution of slavery, Saudi Sharia are letting down Saudi women. Adhl is not legal under Sharia law, but conservative judges fail to enforce the law.

American Bedu has more.

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Blogger Keefieboy said...

What does it take for you to actually get angry, John?

4:49 AM  

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