A Saudi Arabian man has made headlines around the world for making a statement about how women are treated in the Islamic world.
The message was delivered at a gathering of Muslim women at the Saudi embassy in New York City on May 15.
The woman in question, who identified herself only as Abid, spoke to a group of women, women of color and people of faith, and asked them to take a stand against “hatred and discrimination against women.”
Abid went on to talk about the injustice of being a woman in the Muslim world, saying: “When we have a woman who wears the veil, she is seen as unclean.
She is viewed as a subhuman.
And I want you to understand this is the case in Saudi Arabia, and it is the situation everywhere in the world.”
The Saudi woman said she would never wear a burqa and would rather be referred to as “a girl.”
She continued, “But what we do not need is for women to be discriminated against.
We need equality, and if you think that you will be treated equally, then you are wrong.”
She concluded, “We will not let you be discriminated, because we will not give you anything in return.”
Abdulrahman Al-Saud, the Saudi ambassador to the United States, called the woman’s message “outrageous” and said it “does not reflect the values of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.”
He said the message “does nothing to promote the ideals of the kingdom.”
Saud added, “I do not believe that the message that she presented is acceptable for anyone.”
The woman who delivered the message, who said she did not want to be identified, was not available for comment.
The Saudi embassy declined to comment to National Geographic on the issue.
But, according to the Saudi daily Al-Jazeera, the woman said, “My message was to encourage women to speak out against the injustice they face in the name of Islam.
If we speak out, we will show that the injustice against women is not acceptable.”
A woman walks past the embassy building in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
Photo: Reuters/Saud bin Mohammed Al-Nasser