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 Saudi princess seeks changes in her country

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PostSubject: Saudi princess seeks changes in her country   Wed Apr 11, 2012 5:31 pm


Princess Basma Bint Saud Bin Abdulaziz, niece of Saudi king Abdullah, has revealed the many changes she would like to see in her kingdom to BBC Arabic.

The princess is an outspoken critic of the Kingdom's ruling ministers and governors. She has called for reformed policies towards women in Saudi Arabia.

In her interview, she said she was proud of the "ancient culture" in her "beloved country" but "fundamental civil laws" were urgently needed. Here are the things she would like to see changed in Saudi Arabia.
Regarding the constitution of the oil-rich kingdom, the princess told the BBC that she would like to see a "proper constitution that treats all men and women on an equal footing before the law". The constitution should also serve as a guide to civil laws and political culture, she said.
..Divorce laws
Princess Basma, who currently resides in London, believes that the divorce laws in the kingdom are abusive. “Today in Saudi, a woman can ask for a divorce only if she files for what is called ‘Khali and Dhali’," she told the BBC. "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 fulfil given that such reasons usually are the kind that remain within the four walls of a marriage."
..Education system
The princess called for an overhaul of the education system and said women are treated badly in the kingdom because of the poor levels of education received by Saudis. “The content of the syllabus is extremely dangerous. For one, our young are taught that a woman's position in society is inferior. Her role is strictly limited to serving her family and raising children. They are actually taught that if a woman has to worship anyone other than God it should be her husband.”
..Role of 'mahram'
Princess Basma slammed the role of the 'mahram', a kind of chaperone - usually a male relative - saying women in Saudi Arabia cannot get around or travel without a mahram. "The only purpose of such a law is to curtail women's freedom of movement. This not only infantilises women but turns them unnecessarily into a burden on their men and on society," she said.
Women in Saudi Arabia are not allowed to drive. However, the princess said she is against women driving in the kingdom, because in the current climate, a women driver could be "stopped, harassed, beaten or worse to teach her a lesson". “If as drivers we get harassed, they will say to the Islamic world, 'See what happens when women drive: they get harassed, they get beaten,' and they will call for even more stringent laws to control women. This is something we can't afford. Fundamental changes in the law and its attitude to women are needed before we take this step,” Princess Basma told the BBC.

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