As Saudi Arabia curbs its vital but "illegal" migrant population violently this week to appease high unemployment, I cannot help but reflect on my moment with such destitute citizens a few years ago. Like almost all migrant workers everywhere including in North America, these people perform jobs that their own citizens would not dare touch.
I never have to think twice about getting behind the wheel whenever I need groceries, or pick up kids, or go to the bank. I do not wait for my husband, or father or brother to first give me permission to leave the house, or wait for his availability to attend to my needs. In Saudi Arabia, of course I would not have that luxury.
Last Friday Dr. Reza Aslan was interviewed by Fox News on his recent book, Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth. Bigotry reigned as Green repeatedly asked Aslan why as a "Muz-lim" he would write a book about Jesus. Meanwhile, halfway around the world, another secular Muslim sat in a Saudi prison, awaiting his sentence. His crime? Attempting to liberalize religion in Saudi Arabia and criticizing religious police.
John Baird, Canada's foreign minister, may be barking up the wrong tree. He has identified and targeted Iran as the threat to Canadians. However, it is the Saudi Arabia-based charities that pose the greatest threat. As long as the Saudi charities continue to fund militancy and chaos across the globe, Canadians must stand on guard.
In the last few months the world has witnessed, once again, atrocities planned and in two cases, carried out, disguised in the name of Islam. The debate among Muslims in the West is filled with tension. And as Muslims what more must we do to stop the chaos, in addition to demanding changes in our Western countries' foreign policies?
Our government may say that we're engaging the Saudis to foster reform in the kingdom. Apartheid South Africa's allies made similar arguments, calling for "constructive engagement" with the racist regime. Thankfully, Canada rejected that approach and led the world on sanctions, which hastened the end of apartheid.
It's been called the Games for everybody. But, this is not true. Women are not equal to men in the Olympics, and it needs to be fixed. It can't be lied about, or glorified for what it isn't. The Olympics are not equal, and to insist they are is insulting to equality and women. We've made strides, but not enough. If it's only a good start, then it should only be reported as a good start.
For the first time, two Saudi Arabian women have publicly stated their interest in participating in the Olympic movement. But the Middle Eastern nation has never sent a female to the Olympics and doesn't plan on it anytime soon. There are currently 153 youth leagues supported by the Saudi government, yet all blatantly exclude female participation. Is it time for the Olympic Committee to take a stand?
It is no secret that the idea of amalgamating into a single country, which was farthest away from the minds of the rulers of these countries, was only contemplated as a direct result of the Arab Spring which toppled several Arab dictators who were thought to be completely invincible, and left the rest of them asking "Who will be next?" Now more than ever, a union of the Arab Gulf states is possible.
Canada charged into a military mission with no guarantee about which of our enemies might ultimately run Libya as a base targeting Canadians. Muslim Brotherhood? Al-Qaeda? Iran? Sudan? Some combination? And to reinforce the risks, we supported international funding of Libya's new jumble of leadership, a leadership that is proving sympathetic to Sharia impositions.
She defends a country that she believes provides fair access to education but also concedes that many young women are still raised to become wives. Even her talented best friend will likely abandon her career aspirations to become a young wife and mother -- still the most coveted role for Saudi women.