Empowering Women In Saudi Arabia through Islam

Saudi Arabia’s deputy permanent representative to the UN said on Wednesday that his country had adopted a number of reforms that outlaw all forms of discrimination against women in the legislative, professional and family spheres.

Mohammed Abdelaziz Alateek affirms that Islam is a considerable asset for the economic, social and political well-being of women. He adds that it is essential that countries develop their national legislation in accordance with this conviction.

The representative made the remarks during an event at UN headquarters in New York. The conference, titled “Women in Islam,” was held under the auspices of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation to mark International Women’s Rights Day.

In Saudi Arabia, “a number of commitments and targets have been announced to empower women and special laws have been enacted, or older laws amended, to ensure equality between women and men”, says Mr. Alateek.

The latter called for strengthened international and regional cooperation in efforts to empower women and promised that Riyadh would commit to achieving this.

A large number of officials from the Arab world and international organizations spoke at the event. Many have called for debunking negative stereotypes about Islam, and Muslim women in particular, while warning that extremism and Islamophobia are two sides of the same coin.

Mr. Alateek points out that the sacred texts of Islam show great respect for women and guarantee them equal rights.

“Whoever, male or female, does good while being a believer will live happily ever after and will be rewarded for his good deeds,” he says, quoting directly from the Holy Quran.

Islam has been a pioneer in its calls for respecting and defending women’s rights for 1,400 years, Alateek said. He adds that in the Qur’an’s definition of sadak (or “dowry”), “all women are wished a happy and fulfilling life and are given the right to manage financial affairs and benefit from all that there is good in this world”.

Women also play an active and important role in conflict zones, the envoy continues. It discusses 80 regions of the world where women are particularly vulnerable economically and socially and where they benefit from the humanitarian assistance provided by Saudi Arabia in the areas of education, careers and general well-being. .

All participants in the event condemn the violations of women’s rights by the Taliban, in particular the recent ban which excludes girls from secondary education. Afghanistan is the only country in the world that has imposed such a restriction.

“The international order, especially in Islamic countries, unfortunately comes up against realities that are sometimes far from the ideals that Islam advocates,” complains Mr. Alateek.

Saudi Arabia is committed to enhancing the role of women in all societies by providing “various types of aid, especially humanitarian aid, working with the international community to exchange good practices that strengthen women’s rights and empower them,” he says.

Mr. Alateek calls on UN Member States “to work with us to ensure equality and to adopt policies and programs that truly guarantee the implementation of these principles in an effective manner, while taking into account religious attributes , cultural and social of each country”.

He says: “We work closely with countries that share our vision and our points of view, but we are ready to engage with others in a debate on the religious, cultural or social nature to define what promotes at the better the role of women in society.

The envoy also calls on religious scholars, especially those of Islam, “to work with us to correctly interpret the message contained in the sacred texts.”

International Women’s Day, celebrated on March 8 each year, was recognized by the United Nations General Assembly in 1977 and proclaimed as the International Day of Celebration of Women’s Rights and Peace.

This article is originally published on arabnews.fr

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