Refleksi: Kalau ditanah Suci wanita sibuk dengan hal-hal
demokratisasi, tetapi wanita Indonesia kelihatannya mundur berpenglihatan
"menerimo saja". Benarkah observasi saya?
Thursday, 14, April, 2005 (05, Rabi` al-Awwal, 1426)
Saudi Women Are Making Strides: Crown Prince
Raid Qusti, Arab News
RIYADH, 14 April 2005 - Crown Prince Abdullah said that Saudi
women have started entering the mainstream of national life and hoped that
social attitudes toward them would change for the better in less than five
He also said Saudi Arabia is working on achieving true
democracy - democracy that we want and aspire for - in the next 20 years.
Asked by a French female journalist from Le Monde newspaper
when a Saudi woman would be able to meet him and conduct an interview with him,
the crown prince replied: "In a period less than what you have to go through
here. Saudi women have entered the mainstream. They now work in banks and in
the public sector. With time, their attitudes and those of their husbands will
develop and that could take less than five years." Asked by Le Monde how Saudi
women complete their higher studies, become academics, doctors, and scientists,
and yet have to be under male guardianship, Prince Abdullah said: "Guardianship
reflects our concern for protecting women's rights and their dignity. At the
end of the day, woman is the sister, mother, and wife."
Crown prince's comments were welcomed by citizens.
In the interview, the crown prince described the National
Dialogue Forum as a "great achievement" saying that it brought the different
social segments of Saudi Arabia together.
"We have benefited greatly from these forums. They have
brought together the different segments of Saudi society that were not used to
meeting one another. Saudis have now become brothers. And that itself is a
great achievement," he said.
The crown prince described terrorists in Saudi Arabia as "the
enemies of Islam, humanity, and the human race," stressing that the Kingdom is
determined to eradicate terrorism even if it has to combat it for the next ten,
twenty or thirty years if necessary. He also said that fighting terrorism also
entailed fighting its financial roots.
"We first asked them to return to logic and sanity but they
refused and continued to wreak havoc. That is why we needed to fight terrorism
by means of force.
"But at the same time, we stress the importance of
eradicating what terrorism feeds on - money laundering, smuggling, and drug
trafficking - as we have mentioned in the Global Anti-Terror Conference," said
the crown prince.
Commenting on the UN report issued by some Arab academics on
the status of democracy in the Middle East, he said: "Democracy is part of our
Islamic faith. Let me ask you a question: 'How old is democracy in your
country? And how long did it take to reach its present stage?' We too will get
there by the grace of God."
"What is important is justice, equality, and respect of human
rights. All of these elements are endorsed by our religion. Not just our
religion, but all heavenly religions, whether it is mentioned in the Quran, the
Bible, or the Torah," he added.
On where he thinks Saudi Arabia will be after 20 years,
Prince Abdullah said: "Only God knows. We are working on implementing true
democracy, the democracy we want and wish for. I hope that can be achieved in
the next 20 years."
Commenting on the measures taken by the Kingdom to fight
joblessness and poverty, he said the number of jobless people reported by the
press was an exaggeration.
"The papers have inflated the number of jobless Saudis to one
million. However, after investigation, it was revealed that the number was
between 200,000 and 300,000. Half of them have already found jobs, and the
other half consist of a segment that is not competent and has refused the jobs
"We are not diminishing the role of the media. Its role is
not just to criticize for the sake of criticism, but to push for reforms and
help the unemployed find jobs," he added.
About his expectations of his current visit to France the
crown prince said that he was looking forward to meeting his friends in France,
the people and President Chirac, who he described as "a dear friend".
He commended the French leader saying he is known "for his
integrity, moral values, humaneness, candidness, and warm feelings for others".
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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