Kuwaiti women’s right to vote

No to womenI have been following the issue of Kuwaiti women voting rights for a while now and I was shocked to see these pictures (click to enlarge) today on the Kuwait Junior blog (in Arabic). The first one is a bumper sticker with a ballot box and written above is the message "no to women" in Arabic. The second picture (on the right) shows two people looking at an ‘X’ painted over a banner that says "According to Islamic Sharia, women do not have any political rights."

Sharia says no to women
I went to Kuwait two years ago and talked with a Kuwaiti PM who was opposed to the idea of women voting in the elections. He said he felt women did not have a mind of their own, that they would be influenced by the politics of their husbands and in some cases even ordered by their husbands to vote for whomever their spouse endorsed. Outrageous, no?

But what kept me hopeful was speaking with the women activists there. They are really something else. I was very impressed by how well-educated, articulate and passionate these women are. They are
determined to keep fighting for their democratic rights and will not be intimidated by extremists and their hardcore agendas.

So while the hardliners are doing this:

Kuwait’s hardline Islamists, citing foreign interference, have embarked on a counteroffensive in the face of a determined government-led drive to grant disenfranchised women their suffrage. The anti-women rights campaign kicked off late on Tuesday with a public rally hosted by tribal-Islamist lawmaker Daifallah Buramya under the slogan that "based on Islamic Sharia law, women have no political rights."

Buramya vowed to oppose a government-sponsored draft law that would grant women the right to vote and run for public office, citing fatwas, or religious edicts, that prohibit participation of Muslim women in politics.

"Ninety percent of Kuwaiti women reject political rights because they know it is against religion," said the lawmaker who warned MPs of a "big shame" if they approved the bill.

Source: [Middle East Times]

the Kuwaiti women are doing this. Someday their efforts will pay off, someday they will be able to vote. Let’s keep hoping.

13 Comments

  1. Linda March 6, 2005 at 4:43 pm

    bravo to these women. what the pm said to you natasha reminds me of exactly why white men did not allow women and blacks to vote in America a while ago. they as well thought women would be persuaded by their husbands, and while slavery was still around, they thought slaves would be persuaded by their masters. how things have changed. its so great to see people like these woman fight for their rights. but what saddens me is when I see americans who do not appreciate people who fought for the rights of voting, here. i jsut hope that once women gets their rights in kuwait and all over the middle east, 100 years from now it will be appreciated by those who have them there and never had to fight for them.

    Reply
  2. amal March 6, 2005 at 5:03 pm

    Shame on Daifallah Buramya. Is this his personal interpretation of shariah?

    Reply
  3. Roba March 6, 2005 at 5:09 pm

    Oh, my God. I’m shocked too. I can’t believe this… How disturbing…

    Reply
  4. Arash March 6, 2005 at 5:28 pm

    A bumper sticker? On a Jaguar? In Kuwait? Amusing!
    That ‘feeble women’ argument is nothing new, women were denied suffrage in the west using similar excuses a mere 100 years ago. You can read up the 19th century feminist literature for classic rebuttals.
    And Amal that IS the Sharia, It’s in the Book.

    Reply
  5. Arash March 6, 2005 at 5:39 pm

    Haha, is this anywhere near what’s posted in that weblog?

    Verb means what in excellence in this [aalmlSq]. “for woman”!?. .[fe’laaAA] the silly slogan. Yen of the excellences is work “[ymh] his mothers your vinegar [wyaanaa]” otherwise “[ybaa] the frankness. .[wjwdk] comfort ” and yen of work [aalmlaaqt] allyl our habituation on him. Yen “except prayers”? What to strengthens except “for woman”. .[fshl] big [‘ie’laamy].

    If daughter-in-law of backward [lsaae’dthm] in last choice of slogan.
    For example.
    For fungible. For foundlings. For woman
    In Kuwait. The woman in the house
    Saadiya nor landmark. Truths of the woman is disgrace of disgrace”

    Stupid machine translations…
    And can anyone explain what’s going on in the March 3rd post?

    Reply
  6. And Far Away... March 6, 2005 at 6:05 pm

    Women and Voting

    I found the issue regarding womens right to vote in Kuwait very disturbing, so I will share. The first picture showing a bumper sticker with a ballot box and written above is the message “no to women”. The second shows banner tha

    Reply
  7. Wardatkhaleej March 7, 2005 at 3:01 am

    Its disheartening to see the struggle women have to make in this day and age where ignorance for women rights has practically disappeared in alot of regions.

    Reply
  8. metalordie March 7, 2005 at 9:51 am

    LISTEN. There is no escaping this: The development of the Middle East and Africa is deeply rooted in the development of women. As in emancipation. Access of women to health care, schools, the work force and representative government are pivotal in the development of a nation.
    No such development, then forget it. No matter what car you drive or how much money you have or how well your beard is trimmed you are still an unsavory, uncultured cad.
    Some argue that there is culture everywhere. There is a name for a culture that oppresses, suppresses and debilitates women: Tyranny.
    If someone wants to see the role of women in Islam they need only look at the first convert in Islam: Khadija the Prophet’s wife, a successful businesswoman in Mecca.
    If someone wants to see the role of women in Islam they need only look at the first witness to the revelations envisited on the Prophet: Khadija.
    And who was the first martyr of Islam? A woman by the name of Sumaya bint Khubat.
    Did all these women not have minds of their own?
    From Sura 33:35 Al-Ahzab – The Confederates:
    Inna almuslimeena waalmuslimati waalmumineena waalmuminati waalqaniteena waalqanitati waalssadiqeena waalssadiqati waalssabireena waalssabirati waalkhashiAAeena waalkhashiAAati waalmutasaddiqeena waalmutasaddiqati waalssaimeena waalssaimati waalhafitheena furoojahum waalhafithati waalththakireena Allaha katheeran waalththakirati aAAadda Allahu lahum maghfiratan waajran AAatheeman.
    This translates to:
    “For Muslim men and women, for believing men and women, for devout men and women, for true men and women, for men and women who are patient and constant, for men and women who humble themselves, for men and women who give in charity, for men and women who fast (and deny themselves), for men and women who guard their chastity, and for men and women who engage much in Allah’s praise, for them has Allah prepared forgiveness and great reward.”
    Why would God subhanawatala mention women if they had no minds of their own?
    Why would God reveal an entire chapter entitled Mariam about the Virgin Mary and her immaculate conception if women had no minds of their own?
    Unfortunately, the purity of the Quran has been erased and supplemented with so-called hadith, oral tradition, claimed to have been uttered by the Prophet.
    Because many in the Muslim world are uneducated, the lessons of the Quran are lost on them – it is too difficult for them to comprehend. Consequently, they turn to the hadith which is robbed of the eloquence and logic of the Quran.
    Then perversions are entered into the Islamic faith. For example, such oral traditions claiming hell is mostly full of women who are disobedient to their husbands? Which disgruntled, sexually-frustrated husband came up with that one?
    In fact, the disobedience of wives to their husband is contextualised in Sura Al-Tahrim and refers to Lot’s wife, not how women should be regarded.
    The Bible opens with Genesis. If we take Genesis as the starting point of creation, procreation and the spreading of Man, then the story of Adam and Eve is poignant in Islam.
    In Sura al-Najm, 53:45 “He has created the two kinds, male and female”. Add to that “O mankind, We have created you a male and female, and appointed you races and tribes, that you may know one another” (Sura al-Hujurat 49:13). God reveals his testaent, commands, interdictions and statutes to both men and women.
    Would a God do that if He were to say that women have no minds of their own?
    This can go on forever…
    But kid yourself not, the oppression of women does not exist in Islam or Arab culture alone.
    Western civilization is equally guilty:
    “As regards the individual nature, woman is defective and misbegotten, for the active power of the male seed tends to the production of a perfect likeness in the masculine sex while the production of a woman comes from a defect in the active power.”- Thomas Aquinas
    “Women are vessels of excrement”- St. Augustine
    “The sentence of God on this sex of yours lives in this age, the guilt must of necessity live too. You are the devil’s gateway. You are the unsealer of that forbidden tree, you are the first deserter of the divine law. You destroyed so easily God’s image, man on account of your desert- that is death, even the son of God had to die.”- Tertullian
    Alright, I am tired…to conclude: The so-called prosperous nations of the Arab world have some way to go until they understand basic freedoms.
    Startling that these are America’s staunchest allies. Last year, Bush called Kuwait America’s greatest ally outside Nato.
    Congrats, Kuwaiti women. I bet you’re overjoyed.

    Reply
  9. onzlo March 7, 2005 at 7:52 pm

    Arash, hahaha That post is written in Kuwaiti vernacular so it wont be machine translateble i can hardly understand it. But basically hes just saying that the slogans are really dumb and then hes jokingly offering some alternative slogans.

    Reply
  10. Arash March 7, 2005 at 10:45 pm

    Thanks Onzlo, but I was also curious about this post. What’s the deal with the booth?

    Reply
  11. natasha March 8, 2005 at 4:00 am

    I’m not sure Arash, but what I understood is that these are some sort of Islamic charitable kiosks that promote protecting Kuwait heritage. Don’t know what’s the significance of this move but the Kuwaiti bloggers seem to be happy about it.

    Reply
  12. Arash March 8, 2005 at 7:26 am

    Oh, like a morality police kind of booth I guess.

    Reply
  13. Edward Carter March 9, 2005 at 5:09 pm

    Arash,
    Which verse says that women may not be granted voting rights?

    Reply

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