Sunday, March 09, 2008

Blood money in Saudi Arabia

The concept of "Democracy" may be problematic in the enlightened Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Ali Sina describes the crucial reasons for this disconnect (hat tip: Spencer).

In the April 9, 2002 issue, The Wall Street Journal published the concept of blood money in Saudi Arabia. If a person has been killed or caused to die by another, the latter has to pay blood money or compensation, as follow.

100,000 riyals if the victim is a Muslim man
50,000 riyals if a Muslim woman
50,000 riyals if a Christian man
25,000 riyals if a Christian woman
6,666 riyals if a Hindu man
3,333 riyals if a Hindu woman

According to this hierarchy, a Muslim man's life is worth 33 times that of a Hindu woman. This hierarchy is based on the Islamic definition of human rights and is rooted in the Quran and Sharia (Islamic law). How can we talk of democracy when the concept of equality in Islam is inexistent?

Further, how can we speak of equality between the sexes when a female's value is pegged at half her male co-religionist's life?

The reality is dark. Dr. Abdul Momen describes the appalling situation of Bangladeshi workers transformed into virtual slaves by employment agencies in concert with the Saudi government.

Many [Bangladeshi] workers... stated that they are mostly without job since their arrival 2-7 months ago. At times, they are employed for a month and then its all over.

In any case, none of them received wages other than SR100 ($27) on their arrival. They have no money and no job and therefore, they are not afraid to be arrested, they said. They prefer arrest as jail may provide them food, water and shelter or deport them 'free of charges'. Anis (17) and Murshid (18) showed marks of torture...

Human Rights Watch has additional detail.

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