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Saudi Woman Shot and Killed for Using Facebook

London's Telegraph reports that Facebook has become a refuge in Saudi Arabia for women who aren't allowed to leave home alone, as well as gays and lesbians unable to connect in public:

Facebook"Saudi preacher Ali al-Maliki has emerged as the leading critic of Facebook, claiming the network is corrupting the youth of the nation. 'Facebook is a door to lust and young women and men are spending more on their mobile phones and the Internet than they are spending on food,' he said...Critics also allege that Facebook is an avenue for the promotion of homosexual relations in Saudi Arabia. More than 6,500 people have signed the online petition in a bid to stop the conservative Muslim kingdom following Syria in banning access to the network from local internet servers."

Unfortunately, logging in can have deadly consequences:

"A young Saudi Arabian woman, from the country’s capital, Riyadh, was beaten and then viciously murdered by her own father after being caught using the social notworking site Facebook. The woman was apparently in the midst of an online conversation with a man she had met through the site when her father walked in on her. He beat her and then shot her at point blank range, according to an al-Arabiya website report."

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Comments

  1. The irony is that although we think tragedies like this happen only in the middle east, the truth is that religious fundies are everywhere. Just last year, a muslim father strangled to death his 16 y/o daughter here in Toronto for not wanting to conform to muslim requirements such as the port of a hijab! What a disgrace!

    Posted by: Shabaka | Apr 4, 2008 11:22:55 AM


  2. UGH!!! This is about as bad as it gets!

    Posted by: Giovanni | Apr 4, 2008 11:28:50 AM


  3. Now this is the sort of Islamic craziness our country should be standing up against...but then how can we assume any moral higher ground when the Krazy Kristians here are nearly as nasty.

    Posted by: Ben | Apr 4, 2008 11:42:19 AM


  4. Uhm, crazy Christians don't kill their daughters for cruising Facebook. Time to cut the PC bull. Although all religions are ridiculous, some are clearly better than others.

    Posted by: Chris | Apr 4, 2008 12:11:24 PM


  5. The great part is that Saudi Arabia is our big (hand-holding) ally in the middle east, when in reality they aren't any better than pre-war Iraq.

    Posted by: scientitian | Apr 4, 2008 12:27:06 PM


  6. Not to incite (or fan) a flame war, but Christians are hardly in a position to claim moral superiority when they have a deep history of religion-based murder, themselves (hello - Ireland, anyone?).

    And let's not forget the uncounted gay and lesbian youth who commit suicide because they are trapped in deeply repressive environments that frequently involve a harsh and judgmental brand of Christianity.

    I'm just sayin'...

    Posted by: eclecticon | Apr 4, 2008 12:30:41 PM


  7. Another successful application of irrational religious superstition! Congratulations, theists!

    Posted by: GM | Apr 4, 2008 1:06:02 PM


  8. The big difference between this incident and a hypothetical one involving Christians is that in any Christian country a father killing his daughter would be arrested and tried on charges of murder.

    I highly doubt this man will face any legal problems, since women are considered property in Saudi Arabia and most other Islamic nations.

    Posted by: wetcnt | Apr 4, 2008 1:09:12 PM


  9. I'm sorry, certain comments being posted here really compel me to respond.

    For a gay person to make a generalization based on the actions of a select few, is the HEIGHT of hypocrisy. People like this are crazy no matter what their religion. You should know better than to so carelessly and maliciously make such sweeping statements.

    I am a (non-Muslim) Arab. I know many Muslims, and they all think these honor-killings are disgusting and reprehensible. It has nothing to do with their religion, and everything to do with the backwards, medieval mentality of control-freaks, who are threatened by modern society and the progressive changes it brings.

    We can all be angry when stuff like this happens. But we need to remember that just because one person from a group commits this crime, it doesn't mean that everyone else within that group supports him.

    Posted by: Sami | Apr 4, 2008 1:14:57 PM


  10. Thank you, Sami. :)

    Posted by: Travis | Apr 4, 2008 1:50:13 PM


  11. Yes, SAMI, thanks. Sometimes we really need perspective of someone who can dispell some of the stereotypes we have of different cultures/ethnic groups/ races. It's important. Whenever there is a discussion of Arab or Islamic culture on this blog, I hope that you will join in so that we (Towleroad visitors) will get a fair and accurate point of view.

    Posted by: Derrick from Philly | Apr 4, 2008 2:17:46 PM


  12. Reality check, Sami. It has everything to do with their religion. They may be crazy individuals, but their religion provides a framework of encouragement and acceptance for the behavior.

    Posted by: Chris | Apr 4, 2008 2:29:22 PM


  13. Well, how about this challenge, Chris: cite some Islamic sources which say treating a women in this manner is halal (essentially: kosher). For every citation you provide, I guarantee I will be able to provide a counter-citation, also from Islamic sources.

    What that essentially means, is that religion has nothing to do with it. It has everything to do with people projecting their assumptions and world-views on those religions. To borrow a phrase, it's the interpretation, stupid!

    For you to say that Islam is inherently a violent religion which calls for the subjugation of women is like saying that because you're gay, you will be less likely to prejudge people or hold biased views. In addition you would be ignoring the numerous instances in the Qur'an and in the Sunnah, in which women are clearly given rights which are not, to my knowledge, guaranteed by Christianity or most other religions.

    What you are doing is one of the biggest mistakes that can be committed when analyzing statistics. You are seeing a correlation and you are claiming that it is, in actuality, a causation. As I say, I don't think you've passed the threshold of proof to make that claim. If you can, I would most definitely be interested in hearing what you have to say.

    Posted by: Sami | Apr 4, 2008 3:12:16 PM


  14. Sami, in two words - YOU ROCK! :-)
    It's always a treat to hear the words of a truly educated, informed, evolved, inherently intelligent person. So, your statements beg the question: Do we all agree that these acts done to women, gays, and other minorities all over the world are WRONG? If so, how do we go forward as a planetary civilization to stop such barbarism? Ev4ryone of course has the floor :-)

    Posted by: BrokebackBob | Apr 4, 2008 8:36:41 PM


  15. Sami,
    So many people view Islam as a hateful, murderous, backward religion because when thing like this happen the moderate Muslims do not speak out against it to be heard over the fanatics. The same goes for moderate Christians and what have you. If they wish to have religion viewed in a positive light they need to speak out loud and proud and actively curb the bigoted mental cases amongst them.

    That being said, I am glad I come from multiple generations of non-church going agnostics. Our philosophical beliefs run toward "I don't know and I don't care" and I thank the imaginary, invisible sky lord for it every day.

    Posted by: Wheezy | Apr 4, 2008 11:10:16 PM


  16. Sami, cite some Islamic sources? How about a country, like Saudi Arabia, which runs on Islamic law, and treats women like (not even) second-class baby factories and property? They can't drive, vote, be in the company of another man without their husbands, or walk around without a tarp over their bodies.

    It doesn't matter what "rights" may be guaranteed in whatever dusty religious text you choose to read, it's what happens in reality, and when people who prescribe to that religion and read those texts run theocratic countries like Saudi Arabia, Iran, Jordan, Syria, and the other Middle Eastern Islamic theocracies still stuck in the dark ages of barbarism, and which treat women no better (and many times worse) than black slaves in 19th century America.

    I'm not saying that "Islam is inherently a violent religion which calls for the subjugation of women." It is, period. When people who live in countries run on Islamic law stop blowing themselves up on a regular basis and treating women like mules, maybe that won't be the case.

    All religions are abhorrent in the extreme, but as I said, some are better (or much worse) than others.

    You're certainly welcome to believe otherwise. I assume you're a gay man. Please, take a trip to Iran or Saudi Arabia with BrokebackBob, do a little hand-holding and kissing, and see how that works out for you.

    Posted by: Chris | Apr 4, 2008 11:43:22 PM


  17. SAMI,

    that is specious.

    how about this hypothetical challenge? you (sami) show me anti-gay, anti-woman aztec sources to prove that mexican-americans are homophobic, and i'll show you where they are not, quoting aztec sources. that is reductium at absurdio. you should not oversimplify the premis and put the burden of proof on your challenger.

    the only thing we westerners (i would like to know where your liberal muslim friends live) want to know is: how is it that the Saudis (our bff) permit beheadings, why is it that gay boys and men are hung in iran, why is it that women are stoned to death in nigeria for adultery (rape), why is it that young men who are brutally raped in brunei are then condemned as homosexuals and then are subject to death?

    those are not isolated instances. you defeat your argument when you state otherwise, especially when the burden of proof should have been yours all along.

    why is sharia law, based on the kuran and sunnah, which permits the cutting-off of hands for theft, the burning-of-women-alive for offending their husbands becoming a norm? why is it that a man can divorce his wife by repeating 3 times "i divorce you,"? why is it that islamic law can permit a man to divorce his wife by text massage?

    i know that you espouse the open-mindedness of westernized arabs, and i embrace that, but if you want to piss on my back and fuck me, don't warm me up by pissing on my leg and tell me it's a warm shower. you cannot bullshit a former bullshitter. do not tell me that the few open-minded islamists represent the whole. there is some horrific shit going on over there. your complicity is only making matters worse.

    indeed, if restrictive laws, proscriptive laws, punitive laws --- laws that were meant to destroy human initiative, creativity and freedom of thought -- were ever crafted, they were done so in the name of religion. if we presume it as a given that islam has become the enemy of civil rights, then YOU prove otherwise.

    if all of this evidence is not good enough for you, then you tell me why (not in toltec language with references) i am wrong.

    i will never accept false erudition dressed up as a pig with lipstick and a spring jumper. islam, in modern dress, is much more toxic than xtianity.

    the bottom line is that Chris holds the higher ground. religion is the enemy of clarity and charity. i am done arguing with apologists and absolutists.

    Posted by: nic | Apr 5, 2008 3:07:10 AM


  18. I'm sorry that you feel I'm an absolutist. After all, I'm not the one who is claiming that an entire religion is wholly more evil than another.

    I'm not disagreeing that these guys are using Islam to justify their actions. I disagree when you say that Islam, the religion, is the problem. I'm saying that this particular group of people, who think that the honor of their family is more important than the life of their daughters or their wives, are the problem. The mentality and the interpretation is what needs to be demonized, not the religion which is a part of the cultural identity of diverse groups comprising over one billion people.

    Lastly, I would like to mention this next thing, Nic. You may not have realized this as you were typing it and I'll give you the benefit of the doubt. But your language of "westernized Arabs" and your doubt that "liberal Muslims" exist, offended me as I read it. Please understand that this has nothing to do with being westernized or not. Being disgusted by this does not require that Arabs be westernized or liberal. Any normal human being (including non-westernized, conservative Arabs and Muslims) would find this Saudi girl's story disgusting and reprehensible.

    Posted by: Sami | Apr 5, 2008 12:52:28 PM


  19. Nic, I apologize for singling you out. I had not read the posts above yours. Thank you, Chris, for the generalizations. Even though you're gay, clearly you have no problem making bigoted statements.

    And for the record, I'm gay, too.

    Posted by: Sami | Apr 5, 2008 1:14:36 PM


  20. SAMI,

    my point (and i think chris') is that all religion is toxic. i am well aware of the golden age of islam and its impact on western civilization and common law. and, there was a time when islam respected "people of the book". religion in secularist hands can be dealt with. christianity as championed by american fundamentalists is deleterious. islam as practiced by the imams is brutal. religiosity should lead to love and life, not hatred and death.

    i love my brothers and sisters in the arab world as much as i love those in the christian world, so long as they can extract themselves from the hatred propagated by their leaders

    Posted by: nic | Apr 5, 2008 4:29:17 PM


  21. Nic,

    Clearly, I was correct in giving you the benefit of the doubt. I do not disagree with you that religion in general can be very toxic. I just have a problem when people try to establish a hierarchy of toxicity. When you get into that territory, I always feel like it becomes a proxy for some sort of prejudiced feelings towards a group of people.

    And believe me, I am well aware of and have utter disgust for the sexism and homophobia of the various leaders (and populations, frankly) of the Arab and Muslim world. Please don't think that I was apologizing for their evil deeds.

    Posted by: Sami | Apr 6, 2008 3:24:14 AM


  22. If religion isn't the problem, then what is the problem?

    And how do you propose to solve the problem. I think that's the question that nobody ever really answers.

    Apologists for radical Islam (and indeed, for radical Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, and Buddhism) are always quick to point out that these ideologies have nothing to do with their religion. But they don't offer any alternative solution. Indeed, they often have no explanation other than 'we wash our hands of it.' As if they have absolutely no control over what happens in their own communities.

    Posted by: John | Apr 6, 2008 4:15:30 AM


  23. SAMI, you are an IDIOT! I am an Arab and I know we all wanted that girl killed because that is how we stop our religion from changing and becoming more christian. Again, Sami is an IDIOT.

    Posted by: Frandi | Jun 8, 2009 2:36:33 PM


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