Saudi Arabia Archive

You'll find articles about this subject in each of the items listed, even if the term does not necessarily occur within the headlines or descriptive text.

Saudi woman executed for ‘witchcraft and sorcery’

A Saudi woman has been executed for practising “witchcraft and sorcery”, the country’s interior ministry says.

According to the BBC

A statement published by the state news agency said Amina bint Abdul Halim bin Salem Nasser was beheaded on Monday in the northern province of Jawf.

The ministry gave no further details of the charges which the woman faced.

The woman was the second person to be executed for witchcraft in Saudi Arabia this year. A Sudanese man was executed in September. […]

The London-based newspaper, al-Hayat, quoted a member of the religious police as saying that she was in her 60s and had tricked people into giving her money, claiming that she could cure their illnesses.

Our correspondent said she was arrested in April 2009.

But the human rights group Amnesty International, which has campaigned for Saudis previously sentenced to death on sorcery charges, said it had never heard of her case until now, he adds.

AFP says

Amnesty International said beheading took to 73 the number of executions in Saudi Arabia this year.

The London-based human rights watchdog condemned Monday’s execution as “truly appalling,” and called on the conservative kingdom to urgently halt the practice.

“The charges of ‘witchcraft and sorcery’ are not defined as crimes in Saudi Arabia”, said Philip Luther, Amnesty’s interim director of the Middle East and North Africa.

“To use them to subject someone to the cruel and extreme penalty of execution is truly appalling,” he added in a statement, which stressed the “urgent need” to stop executions.

Rape, murder, apostasy, armed robbery and drug trafficking are all punishable by death under Saudi Arabia’s strict interpretation of Islamic sharia law.

Luther described as “deeply disturbing” the huge rise in the number of executions in Saudi Arabia.

Many of those executed have had no defence lawyer and are not informed about the legal proceedings against them, according to Amnesty.

“While we don’t know the details of the acts which the authorities accused Amina of committing, the charge of sorcery has often been used in Saudi Arabia to punish people, generally after unfair trials, for exercising their right to freedom of speech or religion,” Luther said.

Saudi Arabia’s ‘justice system’ is based on Sharia — Islamic Law.

All Muslims believe Sharia is God’s law, but they have differences between themselves as to exactly what it entails. In countries like Saudi Arabia, extremist interpretations of Sharia are often used to justify human rights abuses.

Saudi Arabia women threaten to breastfeed drivers if they aren’t allowed to drive

Many were stunned when Saudi cleric Sheik Abdel Mohsen Obeikan recently issued a fatwa, or Islamic ruling, calling on women to give breast milk to their male colleagues or men they come into regular contact with so as to avoid illicit mixing between the sexes.

But a group of Saudi women has taken the controversial decree a step further in a new campaign to gain the right to drive in the ultra-conservative kingdom, media reports say.

If they’re not granted the right to drive, the women are threatening to breastfeed their drivers to establish a symbolic maternal bond.

“Is this is all that is left to us to do: to give our breasts to the foreign drivers?” a Saudi woman named Fatima Shammary was quoted as saying by Gulf News.

Obeikan argued in his decree that if the women give their drivers their breast milk, the chauffeurs would be able to mingle with all members of the family without having to worry about violating Islamic law.

Some Islamic scholars frown on the mixing of unmarried men and women. Islamic tradition, or hadith, stipulates that breastfeeding establishes a maternal bond, even if a woman breastfeeds a child who is not her own.

Drawing from the cleric’s advocacy, the women have reportedly chosen a slogan for their campaign that translates to, “We either be allowed to drive or breastfeed foreigners.”
[…more…]

– Source / Full Story: SAUDI ARABIA: Women threaten to breastfeed drivers if they aren’t allowed to drive, Los Angeles Times, June 22, 2010 — Summarized by Religion News Blog

The controversial fatwa, which was regarded as both funny and weird, issued recently by Shaikh Abdul Mohsin Bin Nasser Al Obaikan, member of Saudi Council of Senior Scholars and adviser to the king, has sparked a debate in society.

The renowned scholar said Saudi women can breastfeed their foreign drivers for them to be become their sons and brothers to their daughters.

Under this relationship, foreign drivers can mix freely with all members of the family without breaking the Islamic rule which does not allow mixing of genders.

Breast milk kinship is considered to be as good as a blood relationship in Islam.

“A woman can breastfeed a mature man so that he becomes her son. In this way, he can mix with her and her daughters without violating the teachings of Islam,” the scholar said.

Al Obaikan based his fatwa on a Hadith (saying) of the Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) which was narrated by Salim, the servant of Abu Huzaifa.

Later, Al Obaikan clarified that his fatwa was being distorted by the local media which ignored the condition that the milk should be drawn out of the woman and given to the man in a cup to drink.

Speaking to Gulf News, a number of Saudi women condemned the fatwa. Fatima Al Shammary was quoted by the local Arabic daily Al Watan as saying the fatwa was “ridiculous and weird”.
[…]

Saudi writer Suzan Al Mashhadi sarcastically asked Al Obaikan: “Do the women have to breastfeed the driver in the presence of their husbands or can they do this alone?”

“Who will protect the wife if the husband entered the house unexpectedly and found his wife breastfeeding the driver?” she asked.
[…more…]

– Source / Full Story: Saudi women use fatwa in driving bid, Abdul Rahman Shaheen, Gulf News (UAE), June 20, 2010 — Summarized by Religion News Blog

See Also

Saudi Arabia: Cleric in hot seat after calling for women to give men breast milk to avoid illicit mixing
Egypt: Fatwa allows breast-feeding among adults
Fatwa — Wikipedia entry