Saudis say they want more women’s rights – this Muslim-American reformer doesn’t believe a word of it

Source: Borderless News Online

Saudi Arabia now says it requires brides-to-be to agree to their marriage, instead of the usual practice of having fathers decide who their daughters will marry. This seems like progress, but one Muslim-American reformer says it’s just the latest smoke screen in an ongoing bid to appease the West, and that the Middle East nation continues to treat women as chattel.

Saudi women are 4th class citizens in a country that has been a major oil supplier to the U.S. for decades. Every aspect of their lives is dictated by male relatives, and this male dominance is enshrined in law and backed by an ultra-conservative brand of Islam. Women cannot drive, cannot work outside the home, and have few property rights. Rape victims are often blamed for being assaulted, as it’s considered their fault for being alone with a man in the first place – a big no-no in the Kingdom.

Women in Saudi have traditionally married whomever their father chooses, no matter what. If your father is deceased, than a male guardian, such as a brother, uncle or even a younger male cousin – it doesn’t matter if he’s younger than you, as long as he’s a guy – will choose your husband for you. It doesn’t matter if the groom-to-be is toothless, fat as a cow or violent toward his other wives.

Now,  Saudi media is reporting that Minister of Justice Walid Al-Samaani has directed officials who handle marriage contracts that they must have the woman’s consent before the legal process can go ahead. Borderless News Online could not independently verify this, and the Saudi embassy in the U.S. did not return phone calls.

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