While more than a few Western cultural trendsetters revel in painting a Catholic woman sporting a Mantilla-style chapel veil, or a Protestant wearing their proverbial Sunday best, or a Jew wearing a yarmulke as some sorts of Dark Ages throwbacks, the same vanguard of Western progressivism gives scant attention when overt discrimination and oppression of women emanates from an Islamic dominated government. Case in point: The Saudi Arabian Airlines, operating under the name Saudia, will bow to pressure from influential Islamic fundamentalists and will now officially forbid women from sitting next to men who aren’t either their husbands or mahrem (Arabic for “male guardian”).
Long known for outlawing women to vote, drive an automobile, show their faces in public, or to even venture outside the home unless accompanied by either her husband or mahrem, there will no longer be even the slightest chance a woman will be seated next to a man not her husband or male overseer. As reported by the Tel Aviv, Israel-based news portal i24 Newsand also by The Deccan Chronicle (of Bangladesh), both on Jan.1, 2015, the airlines’ ticket counter staff at all of the kingdom’s airports “will be instructed to make sure males and females are separated aboard Saudia’s flights unless they are closely related.”
At the time, the Saudia Director of Passenger Services, Saad Al Seuleiman, said in a statement to the local media that women would be hired as “ticket sales ladies” throughout the kingdom. However, he stressed, “They will be deployed in places assigned specially for them away from the main terminals. They will work in places confined only to women, the policy of Saudi Airlines is clear in not allowing women to mix with men.”
Also reported is that the Middle Eastern kingdom’s official fatwa issuing body, the Committee on Scholarly Work and Ifta, has reiterated that it is not permissible for a woman to work in a place where they mix with men.” It is necessary to keep away from places where men congregate. Women should look for decent work that does not make it possible for them to attract men or be attracted by men,” the Committee warned. Therefore, the 2010 decision by Saudia to hire women to work at sales counter could be revoked at any moment.
The fatwa-issuing body’s enforcement arm, the Commission for the Propagation of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice, also known as the al hai’a, al mutawa’a, or simply the morality police, has a long history of brutal and often bloody enforcement of Islamic Shari’a law. Renegade Saudi Arabian journalist Nadin al-Badir related in 2012 that “Even Sheik Abd Al-Muhsen Al-Abikan, advisor to the royal court, suggested that the Authority should be abolished. He said that most of them were drug dealers, drug users, thieves, and ex-cons who repented, all of a sudden, and became violently extreme. These people, according to Sheik Al-Abikan, should not be allowed to have such authorities, because they use it in inappropriate ways.”
Currently, no Saudi women have ever been hired as flight attendants by Saudia. As reported, the only female members of the flight crew are mainly from either Great Britain or Morocco.
While few major Western news outlets willing to spill ink regarding the flagrant oppression of women by Middle Eastern theocracies, Fox News’ Greg Gutfeld has tagged such “Islamophobia-phobia.” Or as Gutfeld defines, “the fear of being labeled as Islamophobic” by an American media that runs rife with political correctness.