Saudi Woman Found Guilty in Her Own Rape
Dear Friends and Partners,
One Free World International has learned of a young Muslim woman in Saudi Arabia who has been sentenced to 200 lashes and 6 months in prison after being gang-raped last year by seven men. The woman, who was 18 years old and engaged at the time of the attack, had left her home to meet a male acquaintance in the town of Qatif. The two were abducted by a group of men and the woman was brutally raped by the men who received sentences ranging from two to nine years.
The woman, whose fiancé married her after the attacks, is now 19 years old. She is currently without a lawyer because her lawyer’s license was suspended after he brought the case to the government-controlled media. The fact that this young woman would be punished at all in her own brutal rape, let alone so severely, is a matter of injustice that shocks the conscience and compels us to action. She could be our sister, or wife, or daughter, or mother.
Saudi Arabia is an important western ally in the war on terror but its legal system is one of the most repressive in the world. It is based on Islamic Shari’ah law and all public non-Islamic religious practice is prohibited and even private observance among foreigners is restricted. Saudi women lack many of the rights that women elsewhere in the world take for granted, such as the right to drive. Women are not permitted in public without the presence of a male relative and face discrimination and restrictions in many areas of life. Even if the Qatif woman, as she is known, were set free, her continued safety is of concern in a country where religious fanatics could choose to pursue her punishment.
Canada has condemned the judgment of this young woman as “barbaric” and pledged to lodge a complaint. The United States government, on the other hand, has expressed “astonishment” at the verdict but has not criticized its Saudi ally directly, stating that it is an internal Saudi matter. They must take a strong stand in this matter. Western nations and individuals must speak out on behalf of this young woman. If we do not, she and our Middle-Eastern sisters will continue to live in fear and bondage, unable to carry out basic, routine functions independently or to seek the truth that could lead to their ultimate freedom.
• for the Qatif woman and her husband, that they would continue to be strong and courageous through this ordeal. Pray that the judgment against the young woman would be overturned and she, as the victim, would no longer be condemned for her own rape. Pray also for the couple’s protection and that through these experiences the Lord would draw them closer to Himself;
• that the woman’s attackers would recognize the evil of their actions and repent and begin to turn their lives around;
• that the Saudi authorities would allow the young woman’s lawyer to continue to work on her behalf and that they would set her free immediately so that justice would prevail in her case and for Saudi women generally; and,
• that this case would become widely known among the Saudi people and in the Middle East. Pray that they would recognize the unfairness in this case and that it would challenge them to question the principles that allow such injustice to take place. Pray that equality, truth, justice, and human rights would take root and prevail throughout Middle Eastern society.
The Bible teaches that faith without action is dead, so please take action urgently and write (contact details are included below):
• to the Embassy of Saudi Arabia expressing your concern at the verdict in this case. Insist that Saudi authorities review the case and drop the charges against the Qatif woman immediately and provide guarantees for her continued safety. Ask the embassy to inform you of the actions the authorities have taken in order to correct this situation;
• in Canada, to Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Foreign Affairs Minister Maxime Bernier, encouraging them to pursue the matter with the Saudi government without compromise; and,
• in the United States, to President Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, insisting that they take a strong stand with their ally and do not let larger political issues get in the way of truth and justice on behalf of this young woman who needs our help to make her voice heard.
Please remember to send us a copy of your correspondence at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Remember, that the persecuted Christians are dying every day, but they are still smiling. They are in a very deep dark night, but they have the candle of the Lord. The enemy can have a very strong weapon and a very strong army, but we have the Lord Almighty.
“They can kill the dreamer, but they cannot kill the dream” in the Lord’s name.
Be with God and may God be with you.
Rev. Majed El Shafie
President and Founder
One Free World International
El Shafie Ministries
Sources: One Free World International, Arab News
His Excellency Abdulaziz Bin Hussein Al-Sowayegh
Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia
201 Sussex Dr.
Ottawa, ON K1N 1K6
Tel.: (613) 237-4100; Fax: (613) 237-0567
The Right Honourable Stephen Harper
Office of the Prime Minister
80 Wellington Street
Ottawa, ON K1A 0A2
Fax: (613) 941-6900
The Honourable Maxime Bernier
Minister for Foreign Affairs
Foreign Affairs Canada
125 Sussex Drive
Ottawa, ON K1A 0G2
Tel.: (613) 992-8053; Fax: (613) 995-0687
In the United States:
His Excellency Adel A. Al-Jubeir
Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia
601 New Hampshire Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20037
Tel.: (202) 342-3800
President George W. Bush
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500
Tel.: (202) 456-1414; Fax: (202) 456-2461
Email: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
(or Vice-President Dick Cheney at: email@example.com)
Secretary Condoleezza Rice
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street NW
Washington, DC 20520
Tel.: (202) 647-4000 (Main switchboard)
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