What Saudi Arabia's Stand Against Domestic Violence Means for the Muslim World

Writing for Aquila Style, columnist Fatimah Jackson-Best discusses the implications of Saudi Arabia’s recent ban on domestic violence which includes all forms of violence against women. Jackson-Best explores what this means for Muslim women in Saudi Arabia and the greater implications for Muslim women throughout the world. Check out an excerpt from the article, “Taking a Stand Against Domestic Violence” below:

“The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s cabinet recently passed a ban on domestic violence which encompasses all forms of violence against women. Under this new law, physical violence against women is a punishable crime and penalties for those convicted include a maximum 12 month jail sentence and/or fines of up to USD13,000. The law also gives women who leave violent domestic situations the right to receive shelter and treatment. Police and law enforcement agencies are also implicated as they are given the responsibility for investigating and prosecuting claims of abuse.

This legislation is groundbreaking especially since Saudi Arabia has previously regarded domestic violence as a private matter: instances of violence against women were considered to be a family issue or one between husband and wife. This stance allowed the courts to distance itself from bringing abusers to justice.

When I heard this news, I immediately thought about other Muslim countries and what this legislation would and could mean for them. Saudi Arabia has for generations held power over Islamic decision-making, affecting Muslims around the world. From fatwa (opinions on Islamic law) to when Ramadan begins, many of us are implicated in the decisions made by a country hundreds and thousands of miles away. So what does it mean when this hub of Islamic law and practice now recognises that when women are abused by men, it is a crime deserving of justice?”

Read this entire article at Aquila-Style.com.

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