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Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Daily life in Saudi Arabia

From Arab News, a story meant to show the quirkier side of life in Saudi Arabia:
BAHA, 1 January 2008 — You’re out shopping with your wife and children and you get into a disagreement with your wife. What do you do? One man did the unthinkable, he announced to hundreds of shoppers that he was divorcing his wife, the Al-Riyadh daily reported yesterday.

According to the report, the man left his wife and children to do his own shopping. As he was coming back to rejoin his family, he saw a young man approach his wife and give her his cell phone number on a small piece of paper. The wife took the paper and put it inside her bag and continued shopping as usual, not aware that her husband saw what happened.

When he approached her and asked her to give him the bag, she refused. He forcefully took the bag and dug out the piece of paper.

Enraged, the man walked over to the cashier and grabbing hold of the store’s microphone, he announced to shoppers that he was divorcing his wife and had no intention of ever getting back with her.

He then stormed out of the shopping mall and left his wife and two children behind.

This is a funny story, emblematic of a place where all you need to do if you want a divorce is proclaim it. But things turn darker with the next, explanatory paragraph about what daily life is like in a theocracy where women are so highly honored that they have to cover themselves in public:
Women being harassed in public places is a common occurrence in Saudi Arabia and the harassers can often get very aggressive and insist that the women pay attention to their advances and take their telephone numbers. Women often resort to accepting telephone numbers so they will be left alone.

Doesn't this demolish one of the major reasons that Muslims use to justify the hijab?