Saudi scholar Hatoon al-Fassi did a study about ‘Women In Pre-Islamic Arabia’ and found that women enjoyed more rights 1300 years ago than they are today in the Kingdom. (Middle East Online)
When clerics, ministers and businessmen gathered at a forum in Riyadh in April to discuss women in the workplace, there were no women in sight.
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Typically for Saudi Arabia, the women who took part were seated in a separate room so the men could only hear them.
Such things are part and parcel of the complex system of social control maintained by clerics of Saudi Arabia’s austere version of Sunni Islamic law, often termed Wahhabism. It is a system called into question by scholar Hatoon al-Fassi.
In her study, Women In Pre-Islamic Arabia, the outspoken rights advocate argues women in the pre-Islamic period enjoyed considerable rights in the Nabataean state, an urban Arabian kingdom centred in modern Jordan, south Syria and north-west Saudi Arabia during the Roman empire.