Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

America Comes to the Aid of a Saudi Woman | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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I know that the US has been responsible for the deaths of millions of people outside of its borders either intentionally, semi-intentionally or by mistake. However inside the country, things are different. The US deals with its subjects through systems that look like they were based on Islamic teachings whilst Muslims fail to implement such systems.

I will relay a story that was told to me by a Saudi professor who studied in the US and witnessed these events himself. I sat with him and listened to him as he narrated the story. “There was a Saudi family; a man who had been sent by the Institute of Public Administration on a scholarship to complete his Masters degree in the US, his wife, his eight year old daughter and six year old son.

At the beginning, the family lived in Richmond, Virginia. The husband used to abuse his wife every now and then, beating her and cursing her. The wife would call on her Saudi neighbours for help and they would contact the husband and ask him to stop beating his wife. They would also call the wife’s family in Saudi Arabia to help her and help solve the marital problems between the couple.

The family then moved to Ohio and the man continued to beat and curse his wife and even though she called on her brothers and father in Saudi Arabia to intervene and put an end to the injustice she was suffering, none of her family or the husband’s family intervened to help them with their problems. In fact she was rejected, insulted and threatened by them. Having reached a dead end, the wife decided to put a stop to the physical and psychological pain she and her children were suffering; she contacted the police and told the police about her husband.

Within minutes, over five police squads arrived at the Saudi family’s home and the husband and the wife were both questioned separately. The children were also questioned and as a result, the police were certain that the father had beaten and insulted the mother. Accordingly, the father was detained at the police station and the mother and her children were taken to a hotel until the investigation had been completed.

The entire family was placed under protection, and policemen were assigned to take the children to school and to pick them up everyday, and to protect the house where the family lived and they were given financial assistance for living costs.

The Saudi attaché provided a lawyer for the imprisoned Saudi student who was bailed out until the investigation and the trial were completed. During this period, the police made the student sign a pledge that he would not enter the area where his wife and children live or go near the area or even think about visiting the children either at home or at school until a court ruling had been issued.

The US government also asked the Saudi woman to appoint a lawyer to defend her in court. When she asked about the costs this would entail, she was told it might cost around 6000 dollars. The woman burst into tears and said that she did not have that kind of money and expressed her fear that she would lose the case and would be forced to return to her husband.

Two American lawyers were present during the woman’s outburst and they offered to take the case pro bono. After the sessions of the trial were completed and having collected evidence and eyewitness reports against the husband, the court decided that he was guilty and that the wife would maintain custody of the children if the couple were to divorce, and that is what happened.

After the trial ended, the US government provided the Saudi woman and her children with a house and paid the rent for her, and after a certain period of time she could own the house.

The US government also gave the Saudi woman a job that was suitable to her religious beliefs and she earned a salary of 3000 US dollars per month.

The US government also covered the fees for the children’s schooling and the Saudi woman’s university fees and issued her with a credit card with a monthly allowance to cover her and her children’s living costs. The government also changed her visa status to refugee status and this will facilitate her obtainment of US citizenship in the future.”

Now, after listening to the story, let us ask how many women are beaten, insulted and hurt without anybody coming to their aid? I am aware of many terrifying stories of the worst kind of abuse and oppression that women experience day and night. I also heard a very distressing story about a child in Saudi Arabia last year so I contacted an excellent physician from the Human Rights Authority in Saudi Arabia but I am yet to receive any news or an answer from him let alone a positive attitude. I fear that after people read this story, many women here in the Arab world would want to go to the US. I believe that there should be a secret police force whose task it is to intervene in order to rescue women who are being assaulted and suffering abuse. Any husbands carrying out such abuse should share the same fate as the Saudi student in the US mentioned in the story above. Over fourteen centuries ago, Omar Ibn al Khattab, the second of the four Rightly-Guided Caliphs, defended an abused woman when he went to her husband’s house with his sword and rescued the woman and taught her husband a lesson but in accordance with the principles of Islamic Shariaa.

I remember that some colleagues and I toured 21 American states and whenever we saw the accuracy and excellence of the traffic system, and witnessed people’s commitment to environment protection laws, and the way daily affairs are managed, we thought of the words we read in the Quran and the Sunnah of the Prophet. Even some of the Muslim professors there once said to us, “We swear it is as if the Americans took it from our religion word for word, whilst we ignore these great texts.”

Former US president Richard Nixon, in his book ‘Seize the Moment’ says “The US is a powerful country but unfortunately, great ideas are in Islam.”

Wake up Muslims and Arabs! I thank the US government and US President Barack Hussein Obama and the American nation as a whole for taking such a noble position.