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Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Sexualizing Children in Saudi Society

An 11 year old Saudi girl from the city of Hail was recently targeted with hateful twitter comments and tweets owing to the fact that she did not wear the traditional hijab (head cover) at a school function. Jenna Al-Shammary performed a Saudi National Day song at her school along with other kids where she kept her long hair open and had red lipstick on, for which she was greatly criticized on social forums. People present at the ceremony termed her as “immodest” as she had makeup on and her hair was open. It was very shocking for Jenna’s parents as according to them she was just performing a National Day song with her class fellows and was draped in the same loose drape that the rest wore. People on the social networking websites used very hateful and sexually assaulting terms for the girl and blamed her parents for the display of immodesty by their child. Jenna’s father has sworn to take legal action against those who used hateful words against his daughter on these social forums.



Every society in the world has its own moral and ethical norms, some more conservative than the others and some more broad minded. This outlook of societies is influenced by many factors such as their culture, traditions and environment. Many people confuse religion as one of these factors, which is not true. What religion preaches is one thing but how people perceive and interpret those teachings, is another. A very good example of this is one verse of the Holy Quran in which Allah has said,And if you fear that you will not deal justly with the orphan girls, then marry those that please you of [other] women, two or three or four. But if you fear that you will not be just, then [marry only] one or those your right hand possesses. That is more suitable that you may not incline [to injustice]” (Surat An-Nisa). People in our societies commonly interpret this to be permission from Allah and a right of man to marry four women of his choice. Where as if one studies this verse thoroughly then it is clearly mentioned that this is only permissible on the condition that you are capable of being completely fair to all your wives and keeping all of them happy. People here get married to up to four women and give preference to some over the others and are hence unjust to them. This is not what Allah has commanded man to do. This is a very common feature of the human nature that we only choose to believe in and obey whatever is suitable to us and is in accordance with our choices and needs. Same is the case in this situation where a seemingly innocent show of patriotism by a child was twisted and manipulated in the form of different opinions so as to bring to notice something which would be considered totally alright in a normal society.



This act does not reflect upon the innocent girl, but instead on the people having such sick mentalities and narrow minded views. If people choose to use the excuse of religion for this criticism that they offered, then sorry for bursting their bubble but religion does not allow use of such foul, indecent language for a girl either and neither does it give anyone the right to publicly humiliate a girl for something which was not at all intentional and neither was it over the top or offensive by any standards. There is a dire need to change the mentalities of such twisted people rather than stoning the girl to death, as these critics might wish.  




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