Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Female Saudi Doctor Sues Virtue Police For Harrassment

I can't even imagine what it must be like to live in a country that doesn't allow women to drive, and forces them to remain cloaked in swathes of black cloth. Then there are the vice police to deal with.  Those enforcers of  virtue who roam the streets of the kingdom ready to pounce on anyone who might be doing something naughty like driving, or talking to someone of [gasp] the opposite sex. Members of the Commission for Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice (Haia) feel it gives them license to harass others for no legit reason. 

But, Saudi women are getting more ballsy it seems.  One woman is actually suing the Haia for harassment and humiliation. Noura Al-Musallam, a female doctor at the King Fahd University Hospital in Alkhobar, claims that she was humiliated and harassed by someone from the Haia and decided to file a petition with the local Governor Prince Muhammad.  The issue is being investigated  by a committee at the Haia.

Noura's story goes like this: since women are not allowed to drive, she was waiting outside one of the clinics for her ride home when a car approached her for directions. The man needed to find one of the clinics where "..his sick mother was waiting for him...”  Suddenly, a member of the Haia appeared demanded her cellphone and ID, and never bothered to identify who he was. Since she was talking to a man he automatically assumed there was something illicit going on after she asked for her cell phone back, and even though Noura tried to explain what was going on, he told her to shut up.

Of the situation Noura said,

“I have been practicing as a specialist doctor for some time and was honored by the university. I cannot bear such inhumane behavior from a member of the Haia, whose officials are supposed to behave in a decent and civilized manner and should at least try to understand the situation before hurting people.”

According to one source,

“The university had lodged a petition with the governorate and it is not our business to take up the matter with the Haia. The doctor was so far not summoned for a hearing on the matter. She will formally file a complaint against the Haia member as she has the right to do so,” once source said, adding that she is working for the hospital, which comes under the jurisdiction of the university.

Since she's a woman, more than likely nothing will come of it, but at least she had the guts to stand up for herself.

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