A Saudi princess said reforms would continue in the context of Islamic culture and that the Saudi government had been gently pushing an expanded women’s role for decades.
Princess Lolwah Al Faisal made the comments before the World Economic Forum on the Middle East being held May 20-22 at Sharm El-Sheikh. The princess, who is co-chair of the forum, is vice-chair of the board of trustees and general supervisor of Jeddah’s Effat College.
Ever so gently, it seems. Just a few years ago, 15 schoolgirls died when their school burned. The doors were locked (to ensure proper gender separation), and when the girls tried to escape, the kingdom's mutaween, or religious police, forced the girls back inside to prevent them from appearing in public without their headscarves and abayas.
Princess Lolwah defends the kingdom, Islam and Sharia law, saying:
“It is important to understand the history and culture of Saudi Arabia before you question or blame everything on Shariah law,” the princess said. “Saudi Arabia has long existed as a religious nation. Islam is embedded in all aspects of life and among the people. It is woven throughout our society. Islam is a social religion that demands knowledge and progress for all members of the society. It is the reason for women’s progress and achievements in Saudi Arabia.” [emphasis mine --ed.]
Oh, really? Tell that to the countless female victims of honor killings, stoning and female genital mutilation.
Muslim countries don't need reform "in harmony with Islam". They need loud, noisy reform bellowing in their ears.