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Islam, Women and Feminism ( 23 Apr 2016, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Have Homes Become Windowless Prisons For Saudi Women?

By Muhammad Al-Osaimi

Apr 23, 2016

According to international human rights, all prisons should have windows to let air in and allow inmates to breath fresh air. In some advanced countries, prisons are open institutions where prisoners can do sports and develop new skills that will help them integrate into society when they are set free.

Okaz daily recently published a story about some private windowless houses where no air or light can get in. The owners of the houses said they built them this way to protect their privacy. How can someone turn his house into a dark prison and then claim he has done so to protect his privacy? Have these house been built for aliens or human beings?

I am quite certain that the owners have some severe psychological problems that made them decide to build windowless houses. Our religion, social norms and traditions have nothing to do with this. These problems are a natural result of the past decades that have seen a lot of restrictions on the movement of women, even inside their own homes.

If we want to fathom the reasons why homeowners decide to put their women in such prisons, we should read about the awakening period in our history.

We have countless books and tapes issued by sheikhs who warn against the severe consequences to society because of women’s faces, voices, hands, feet, hair, perfume, and manner of walking and talking.

They depict women as dangerous to society. They talk about the dangers of the intermingling of genders and women’s participation in the decision-making process on national and social issues.

When we read about the awakening period, we find that the owners of windowless houses cannot be blamed for putting their women inside prisons on the pretext of religion or defending women’s privacy. It is logical that some members of society developed psychological complexes following the awakening period that demonized women just because of their bodies and behaviour. At the time, most scholars called on men to be strict and violent with their wives and daughters as a way of protecting women from going astray. Some men were strongly influenced by these ideas and some even had the audacity to order their mothers to wear certain clothes.

This kind of mentality needs to be fought by the government, human rights organizations and civil institutions so that we do not see more windowless houses in the future. If no action is taken, we might see a day when fathers bury their daughters alive in the name of protecting women’s privacy.