Khamisa Sawadi is a 75-year-old woman – and a widow.
Since she is, under Saudi law, allowed to leave her house without a male guardian (who must be a close relative), she had often asked neighbours to help her get food. This time, she had asked her nephew, Fahd al-Anzi, for help.
Fahd al-Anzi and his friend and business partner Hadiyan bin Zein did indeed bring several loaves of bread – Khamisa Sawadi’s one week’s supply of food (!!!) to the old woman. Most normal people would consider this to be a good act, demonstrating kindness and respect to one’s elders. Right?
Well, not according to all people.
Someone in the neighbourhood saw the two young men enter the old woman’s presence – and dissapproved. This busybody then went and reported to the ‘religious police’ (what a concept, eh? ‘religious police’!!!), properly called ‘Commission for the propagation of virtue and prevention of vice’, who promptly arrested the young men…
It seems that the young man’s father, brother of the widow’s late husband, had also complained to the police that his sister-in-law is ‘corrupting’ his son!
Here is where things get a little sketchy: the woman was her nephew’s ‘milk-mother’ (being a child’s wet-nurse, under Sharia, gives a woman an equivalent status to that of its ‘mother’, when defining ‘close male relatives’) and should therefore, under strict Sharia interpretation, be innocent of any wrongdoing. Yet, the AP news report cryptically states:
“Because she said she doesn’t have a husband and because she is not a Saudi [Sawadi was born in Syria], conviction of the defendants of illegal mingling has been confirmed,” the court verdict read.
So, a woman’s marital status and place of birth are the determining factors of her guilt???
And, what was the punishment the court ordered for this 75 year old woman for asking her surrogate son to bring her food?
40 LASHES, 4 months in prison and deportation!!!
Both young men will also be lashed…
I cannot wrap my brain around this! Truly: I got a bad headache when I first heard of it, and it has been getting worse all day. I really, really get worked up about these types of things! Do you know why? Here is a picture of ‘whipping’ as administered in Saudi Arabia…
Can a 75-year-old woman survive this? And then, 4 months in prison (instead of hospitalization)?
But of course, that is not of interest to the very people who have made up – and now enforce – these laws! After all, they would have been perfectly willing to see her starve to death – which is why the ‘religious police’ got ‘tipped off’ by someone in the neighbourhood that this ‘immoral act’ of bringing an old widow her weekly supply of food is happening!
That is pretty scary!!!
Yet, there is hope: the AP article reports that unjust and downright ridiculous rulings such as this one are alienating some of the population.
“Others have also spoken out against the case against Sawadi, accusing the religious police of going too far”
And, if this Saudi woman rights activist, Wajiha Al-Huweidar is correct, there is indeed hope. Not in the near future, but hope!
“Look, the early signs that a wrong ideology is dying are fanaticism and extremism. This is obvious.
Have you ever seen a dead body that is soft? When the body dies, it goes rigid. Similarly, this ideology will become increasingly rigid, and will reach the height of fanaticism, but it is constantly in the process of dying.
Take a look at history.
Let’s examine what happened to the Church in Europe. It became rigid and persecuted ideologies, killing and burning scientists, until people rebelled against it and this led to its collapse.
History tells us this holds true for all ideologies…”