Saudi Princess wants women uplift in her Kingdom
21 Apr 2012 10:26 GMT
London: “I would like to see a proper constitution that treats all men and women on an equal footing before the law but that also serves as a guide to our civil laws and political culture,” this was observed by Princess Basma Bint Saud Bin Abdulaziz in an interview given to the BBC.

Princess Basma, divorcee and lives with her children in London, slammed the Saudi courts where judges make decisions according to their own interpretation of The Holy Quran entirely ignoring the universally agreed principles or a written constitution.  

She demanded the constitution that suits Saudi culture and needs and be inspired by the philosophy of The Holy Quran so that personal beliefs of judges never rule the verdicts as it is happening in Saudi courts. Most importantly, the law should treat everyone equally above their status, sect or sex and the constitution should protect basic human rights.

As the daughter of King Saud, the former ruler of Saudi Arabia, Princess Basma revealed her aspirations for her beloved kingdom. She mentioned it was her father who established the first women's university in the kingdom, abolished slavery and tried to establish a constitutional monarchy separating the roles of prime minister and king. She was sad that her country has not achieved the dream of her father yet.

The proud princess recalled her ancient culture which is renowned for its nobility and generosity. But, she said, Saudis have lost that culture and they urgently need fundamental civil laws to govern themselves.

She strongly criticized the divorce laws in Saudi Arabia and termed them abusive as a woman in the country can ask for a divorce only if she files for what is called "Khali and Dhali". This means either she pays a big sum of money running into tens of thousands of dollars or she has to get someone to witness the reason why she is filing for a divorce - an impossible condition to fulfill given that such reasons usually are the kind that remain within the four walls of a marriage.

A woman is also separated from her children of over six years of age in any divorce settlement and the children are given into the custody of father by default. In this way, women are forced to live in their marital homes against their will.

She said that The Holy Quran teachings completely contradict these laws and women have full rights to divorce simply in the case of "irreconcilable differences".

Princess Basma also demanded the complete overhaul of the education system and curriculum in Saudi Arabia as the content of the syllabus teaches young generation that women are inferior in society and belittles her role only to serve her family and be submissive to her husband. Girls are also strictly forbidden from taking part in any physical education.

She emphasized that the syllabus should reflect the true interpretation of The Holy Quran and the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) giving equal rights to women and men in the same society.

The princess also aspired that she wants to see a huge social reform in the Saudi society where men and women enjoy equal rights and freedom according to the teachings of The Holy Quran. “My wish to see a society where women are treated with respect and no more considered a property of men,” Princess Basma concluded.

-- Al Arabiya Digital