Saudi White Ribbon Campaign Faces Conservative Backlash

Eman al-Nafjan writes about the religious conservatives’ backlash against a newly launched local White Ribbon campaign to end violence against women:

The most influential sheikh to lash out against the White Ribbon campaign is Sheikh Nasser Al Omar. In a video-taped sermon he instructs all Muslims to reject Abdullah Al Alami and Samar Fatani’s campaign. He refers to them collectively as advocates of immorality. He says that the White Ribbon campaign compromises the very foundation of the pact between the Saudi Royal family and Mohammad bin Abdul Wahab’s followers. He also mentions national security three times in the 24 minute long video.

Saudi religious conservatives have repeatedly stood against many initiative aiming to advance women’s rights in the country, especially when such initiatives are linked, even vaguely or remotely, to anything foreign. They have for years fought the adoption of the CEDAW agreement to end discrimination against women, even after the government signed it. Four female college students were arrested during the Riyadh book fair last March for distributing small papers tied to pieces of candy with statements warning Muslim women against the CEDAW agreement