Michelle Obama’s Visit to Saudi Arabia Isn’t Liberating

  • norfolklover

    Where do YOU live? Unless you are living in Saudi Arabia and attempting to bring about actual change for Saudi(or Middle Eastern) women,perhaps you shouldn’t thrown stone at others.I always find it ironic and not a little hypocritical that Muslims expect Americans to abide by THEIR customs in THEIR countries,and yet they also expect to be able to live by they town customs in the USA. One can’t have it both ways. Just something that has been bothering me.

    • notfolklover1

      Funny, because someone white guy yelled at a Hispanic guy to abide by his customs, and also how do you define AMERICAN custom because I am quite lost on the definition of AMERICAN culture because clearly, we are all living in your America, not our own America. I hope it is not the KKK version. #Don’tchangethemeaningofAmerica #Libertytolive

      Also, I find it hilarious that you are referring to people as the ones who throw stones at each other when it is a government who enforces the rules. Also, she is not referring to the issue of not abiding by one’s customs. It is like everyone here has misread this article completely

    • anon

      Saudi women don’t need you to worry about them.

      And I find it so hypocritical that Westerners come and live in Arab Gulf countries, completely ignoring the customs, not bothering to learn one word of the language, flaunting the laws, looking down on the people of the region… and then talk about people not assimilating into their countries.

    • thepratinthehat

      Sooo unless people are in a direct position to actively spend all their time championing something, they should shut up and not have a relevant opinion? Your argument smacks of someone who basically has only this to say: “I don’t like what you said! Be quiet!”

      Muslims expect their way of life to be respected in their countries, and they respect the American way of life in America (the alleged FREEDOM we all hear so much about) by going ahead and living the way they are comfortable. Not a crime. When in Rome, etc.

      (I’m neither a Muslim nor American nor from Saudi. I’m terribly sorry if this makes my opinion invalid!)

  • norfolklover

    expect to be able to live by “their own”, NOT “they town”. Auto correct is not always correct!

  • Tonestaple

    What are you talking about: some women stand about [Arab women]? Big deal: if Islam had its way, all women, including Americans, would be standing below men in every way. The Koran says women are inferior to men, so exactly what is your problem? And if it makes you feel any better, early talk is that the new king of SA is much more inclined towards Al Qaeda and its heirs that towards the US. I despise SA and all that it stands for and I think all of the favor we show it is chiefly a Cold War relic. Perhaps if we got a president with some strength and intelligence, we could tell SA where to stick it.

    • salaams

      I love it when people say, well the Koran says this, and an actual Muslim is standing there an thinking ….I don’t remember that being in the Quran or in the Seerah or Hadith at all, but hey, if you want to be misinformed, go Google it. Cause you know, the internet is a great place for actual knowledge, right?

      • Tonestaple

        Suras 2:228 – Divorced women remain in waiting for three periods, and it is not lawful for them to conceal what Allah has created in their wombs if they believe in Allah and the Last Day. And their husbands have more right to take them back in this [period] if they want reconciliation. And due to the wives is similar to what is expected of them, according to what is reasonable. But the men have a degree over them [in responsibility and authority].

        4:34 – Men are in charge of women by [right of] what Allah has given one over the other and what they spend [for maintenance] from their wealth. So righteous women are devoutly obedient, guarding in [the husband’s] absence what Allah would have them guard. But those [wives] from whom you fear arrogance – [first] advise them; [then if they persist], forsake them in bed; and [finally], strike them. But if they obey you [once more], seek no means against them.

        4:11 – Allah instructs you concerning your children: for the male, what is equal to the share of two females. But if there are [only] daughters, two or more, for them is two thirds of one’s estate. And if there is only one, for her is half. And for one’s parents, to each one of them is a sixth of his estate if he left children. But if he had no children and the parents [alone] inherit from him, then for his mother is one third. And if he had brothers [or sisters], for his mother is a sixth, after any bequest he [may have] made or debt. Your parents or your children – you know not which of them are nearest to you in benefit.

        2:282 – And bring to witness two witnesses from among your men. And if there are not two men [available], then a man and two women from those whom you accept as witnesses – so that if one of the women errs, then the other can remind her.

        So there you have it, in part – the hadith are much worse: Men have authority over women, men are in charge, men can hit their disobedient wives, women get less inheritance than men, and women are too stupid to keep track of what they witness so it takes two of them to swear to what one man can swear to.
        Seriously? Women have status in Islam? Don’t make me laugh. (Quotes are from quran.com, BTW. Although I suppose next you’ll be telling me that I am only reading a translation so I know nothing, yadda, yadda, yadda.)

        • VirtualMosque

          4:34…What a terrible translation/interpretation of the verse(s) but of course you have used them to try and prove your point regardless of what might be the actual meaning…




          • Tonestaple

            You all always blame the translation. Yet if I check, Pickthall, Shakir, and Yusuf Ali, they all say beat your wife if she continues to disobey you. Pickthall tries to fudge by inserting a “lightly” in there, but since it’s not in Shakir or Yusuf Ali, I have to question his motives. But seriously, all of these agree that physical violence is the solution to a wife’s disobedience. If that isn’t subjugation of women, treating them as inferiors, I seriously don’t know what is. Now I will watch all of your video, but after jut listening to a bit, I find the speaker saying that modest dressing is culturally relative, a statement that would get him lynched by the owners of an awful lot of other Muslim websites. If the Koran is the revealed word of Allah, how can it be culturally relative? I suspect I will find that the narrator of this video is engaged in not a small bit of taqiyyah.

          • VirtualMosque

            You all?

            The point you are missing is that its not a translation, it is an interpretation….The people you have mentioned interpreted the verse as such. It is one view point on what it COULD mean. Interpretation and translation are two different things.

            But you are looking at the verse in isolation, the next verse says if the above doesn’t work then get mediators….Go and get marriage counselling effectively….

            So the interpretations YOU wish to accept say that beat your wife if she doesn’t listen to you, and then go and get marriage counselling to sort out the marital problems….That is illogical, and therefore you need to question whether the interpretations are right or not.

          • BQ

            Well Tonestaple, lets actually look at the Seerah, and see the way the Prophet (S) treated his spouses, and how he treated them all with equal compassion and love. People like you, I swear, please brother, do not spread such false information in the Ummah, and please actually study from an institution. Qalaam is a really good one mA. for the love of Allah (S). Beating women was happening in the tribal culture before Islam even came, so please stop. The Prophet (S) wanted to stop this sort of hatred. Also, you have to connect quranic qoutes to the seerah and hadith. You can not read the quran without context or you will be reading it blindly. I suggest you actually take up some classes, by the way all the validations you make are with invalid, vague arguments. Please, study the Quran with the Seerah, it will make more sense.

  • Tonestaple

    Sorry – meant “above” not “about” in the first line.

    • anon

      You know, you can edit your post.

  • goatfish99

    I lived in Saudi Arabia for 3 years and I couldn’t agree more. Thank you for saying this. I wish more Americans understood this.

  • craigbhill

    Hey, Saudi women, the thing you need tio take away from the sight of the ability of Western women in your country being themselves is not to whine about it, but to agitate, quietly and for you safely, to insist on the change you’d like to see and be in your society. Or figure out a way to marry up or otherwise to be able to get the hell outta Dodge.

    • anon

      Saudi women are not yearning to throw off their hijabs and become American. Their lives are much better, and they pity American women.

  • anon

    Wearing a hijab is not a sign of oppression. I see women not wearing it in Saudi – and not just Western women. On the other hand, there are many Western women who choose to live in Saudi and choose to wear hijab. The whole controversy around this is misguided – and fuelled by people who don’t know what they’re talking about.

  • Nasreen

    I think it’s commendable to respond to the absurd notion that Michelle Obama’s appearance without a hijab in Saudi Arabia is in anyway liberating. This line, in particular, was a great critique:

    “What good is a reminder by a woman who represents a country that makes the oppressive nature of Saudi Arabia possible every single day?”

    However, this stretches things a bit:

    “An American woman goes on doing what American women have always done in Saudi Arabia: be a presence above the law.”

    Michelle Obama is not an American expat living in Saudi Arabia (also, why are you still using the word Westerner? Doesn’t that seem rather Orientalist to you, and presupposes a European center around which all of us revolve?). She’s the wife of a Head of State. She *is* above their laws, because she’s a diplomat… it works that way in the US, too.

    “She only tells Muslim women what they already knew: that some women stand above them. Above the royal family. Above their daily fight for having the simplest of choices.”

    It’s unfair to make it seem like Michelle Obama is just reminding Saudi Arabian women living every day under the yolk of unfair laws that she is above them. After all, as the First Lady, Michelle Obama is above the vast majority of women in her own country as far as privilege goes 😛 (As her wardrobe can attest to)

    But otherwise, I think it’s awesome that people are criticizing the archaic laws of Saudi Arabia and writing in rebuttal to the “OMG FREEDOM!!!” narrative.

    • thepratinthehat

      This is all exactly what I was thinking! :)


    I pity who ever wrote this blog,
    And who is the blogger….
    OMG seems like a Muslim – Hadiya AbdelRahman

    Hadiya its Time for you to revive your Imaan (Faith), IF YOU ARE A MUSLIM.