Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The Princess with a 'dil' of gold

The princess with a ‘dil’ of gold.

Her full name might be quite a mouthful, but Princess Adila Bint Abdullah
Aziz Aal Saud is not just another pretty, subservient daughter of the Saudi Royal Family. She has been in the news for more than a year now. Sometimes, it’s for her plaudits for the empowerment of Arabic women and more often than not, threats from Islamic fundamentalists for the same issues.
“She’s different in her awareness of the role that royals could play in public life,” said Fawziah al-Bakr, a women’s activist and professor at King Saud University. “If you hear of any program to help women and children, you will find Princess Adela there.”
The House of Saud still haven’t quite figured out yet how their women have managed to acquire the right to vote in Saudi Arabia. But whatever it is, there has been a steady stream of talk on women’s emancipation. And we have one strong-willed force drilling this message far and wide across Saudi Arabia.
Her father’s ( King Abdullah) decree shocked almost everyone, especially the most conservating Prince Nayef who is in third in line to the throne. He has even opposed the campaign to allow women to drive in the country, who Princess Adila is heavily backing.
Adila is also believed to be responsible for persuading her father to make Norah al-Faiz deputy minister of education in 2009-the first woman minister in the Saudi Administration.
In May 2010, Adila jumped back into the media spotlight for challenging the rule of the niqab.had nothing to do with Islam and it was only a question of tradition. She is advocating the hijab, makes more sense to wear the hijab which doesn’t cover a woman’s entire face, thereby giving a woman her much needed individual identity.

The Middle East Online site adds that Princess Adila is also against the law that forbids men and women from frequenting public places together. ''Why can't people maintain mutual respect in the workplace as they do in hospitals and during the pilgrimage [to Mecca]? '' Adila asks. ''I believe that change will come gradually with laws against abuse''.
She has also been going around town giving tokens of appreciation to institutions and bodies who are fighting for the same causes as her.
Adila’s black-book consists of conducting workshops on Protective measures against Family violence to helping cancer patients to justifying why women should drive.
The historic right to allow women to vote may not necessarily herald a revolution in the Islamic kingdom. Moreover, the remain without the franchise until 2015 when the municipal elections take place. Personally, I feel there is no need to rejoice just yet. Islamic women still have to seek permission from male family members if they want to go out to work or to a relative’s place. A woman can now vote, but she can’t drive herself to the polling booth?
Unfortunately for India, the laws concerning Muslim women are not codified as compared to other foreign countries like Tunisia, Jordan, Algeria, who have well-defined laws protecting rights of women like those regarding marriage, divorce, custody of children, polygamy, inheritance of property, all based on Quranic principles.

One would believe that the only reason Princess Adila is getting away with all this talk of freedom for women is because she is of the royal family and hence doesn’t have to be scared of anyone or any fatwas. The question to ask ourselves is that would Muslim women who share the same concerns as Princess Adila be allowed to campaign against such causes and get away with it?
If only all of King Abdullah children turned out be clones of his youngest and most powerful daughter.

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