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Saudi Woman Killed by Her Father for Chatting Online

Posted April. 02, 2008 06:23,   


A debate is rising over “honor murder” following a case that belatedly revealed that a young Saudi Arabian woman was killed by her father for chatting on the Internet social network site, Facebook.

British daily Telegraph quoted Monday’s Middle East news sites including al-Arabiya as saying, “Social networking sites, like Facebook, are causing social strife in the Islamic nation and the incident is an example.”

According to the report by al-Arabiya, a Saudi woman was beaten and shot by her father after being caught while chatting with a man on Facebook.

This is a typical case of honor murder whereby a woman, discovered to associate with another man, is murdered by her family members as punishment for “denigrating the honor of family.” Punishable acts, once limited to offline relationships, such as having a kiss, sleeping together, and sharing a table, have now expanded to online relations.

The tragic incident, which had remained concealed for some time, was revealed to the media when Saudi preacher Ali al-Maliki began criticizing Facebook, claiming the network as a “door to lust.” Maliki said, “These days, young women and men are spending more on their mobile phones and the Internet than they do on food." He went on to argue that those sites that destroy Islamic culture should be shut down to stem social strife. He sternly warned women frequenting Facebook to stop visiting the site.

Facebook is now estimated to have more than 30,000 users in Saudi Arabia. A majority of them use nicknames and post drawings on their pages instead of photographs. Because of this, some have dubbed this the “Faceless” network.

Islam religious leaders blame social networking sites for becoming a hotbed for homosexuals and a place for obscene material. Following Syria’s lead, which banned access to Facebook last November, some Islamic countries have stepped up Internet censorship and are cracking down on those operating the sites.

Muslim women, however, are standing up against these harsh measures. One female journalist said, “The Internet is an outlet where women let out their pent-up emotions and an avenue where they can associate with youth around the world to learn diverse cultures.” She added, “Though authorities ban access to Facebook, we will continue to visit similar social network sites.”