Sunday, February 3, 2013

Reprint From Blue Abaya: Saudi Arabia: Haven for Child Molesters, Wife Beaters and Child Killers?

Perhaps nothing in recent memory has provoked such an outcry of injustice from Saudi Arabia as this story.  I talked about it a little bit in my last post and posted links from SaudiWoman and Omaima, who both wrote about this outrageous and unjust story.  

The following is reprinted from BLUE ABAYA's recent post about Little Lama.  

Maybe you have heard the story of Lama, a five year old girl tortured to death by her own father, a so called religious "sheikh" Fayhan Al Ghamdi. 

She was beaten with electric cables, her back broken and half of her head smashed in. She was raped "everywhere" and her anal canal torn open which the beast also tried to burn closed. She was brought to the hospital where she remained in ICU for 10 months and then died last October.

To make matters worse, this criminal is now going to be let off with just a four months jail sentence and by paying blood money to the victims family. In other words, himself. This could only happen in Saudi-Arabia, where crimes against women and children go mostly unpunished.

Yes there is actually a judge in this day and age who made such a ruling, as ridiculous, horrific and unbelievable this may sound. And this is the image these sick men are giving to the world about Islam. No wonder people think it's an evil religion.
The full story can be read on Saudi Woman's blog:
Omaima Al Najjar also wrote about the background of this case:

I would call Faihan Al Ghamdi an animal, but even animals have more integrity and wouldn't do this to their offspring.

Sick bastards like this exist everywhere in the world but in Saudi-Arabia they can actually get away with their actions. In this so called model state of Islam, men can get away with murdering their children (especially daughters), raping their wives and beating the shit out of their daughters with only minor inconvenience. The courts will always side with the man. After all he is the head of the family and he has the right to treat his "property" as he wishes.

Abuse of women and children are always treated as minor offenses in the Sharia courts. Blood money paid for the heirs of a female victim is half the amount of a male victims. See from the below blood money chart how the life of a woman in Saudi-Arabia is valued always half less that of a male:

  • 300,000 riyals if the victim is a Muslim man
  • 150,000 riyals if a Muslim woman
  • 150,000 riyals if a Christian or Jewish man
  • 75,000 riyals if a Christian or Jewish woman
  • 6,666 riyals if a man of any other religion
  • 3,333 riyals if a woman of any other religion

Truly sickening.

Quran does not mention the amount of money to be paid or any differentiation between the sexes.
"We ordained therein for them: "Life for life, eye for eye, nose or nose, ear for ear, tooth for tooth, and wounds equal for equal." But if any one remits the retaliation by way of charity, it is an act of atonement for himself. And if any fail to judge by (the light of) what Allah hath revealed, they are (No better than) wrong-doers."
This misogynist attitude and rulings come solely from a patriarchal society, not religion, although some of these clerics do try to justify their verdicts based on weak Hadith. Compare this child rapist-killers 4 month sentence to the recent case of the Sri Lankan maid that was executed without fair trial for killing a baby placed in her inexperienced care.

Abusive Saudi men know that they can beat, rape and abuse their women and children without any harsh punishments. Saudi-Arabia's judicial system doesn't help the abused women and always backs up the abusive men. The law serves as a haven for these kind of men.

According to Saudi Woman's article, if the woman reports the abuse to the police, the Hai'a (religious police) and her guardian (her abuser) are called to harass the victim out of reporting it for up to four hours before the social services are called. How many women in that situation are actually strong enough to face these bullies and end up going back home to her abuser?

A while ago I was faced with the difficult situation of my friend here suffering physical abuse from her husband. She's a foreign wife with a Saudi husband. Her husband has abused her for years even before they moved to Saudi-Arabia. They have one child and he had even beaten her while she was pregnant. Now I'm sure that any woman who has been in that situation knows how difficult it is to leave and how there always seems to be a time of calm and the abuse ends. The husband becomes an "angel", only for the abuse to start up again.

Word of warning to any woman outside Saudi-Arabia currently dating, engaged to or married to a Saudi man with an abusive history: DO NOT under ANY circumstances move to Saudi-Arabia with him, EVER. He WILL continue the abuse here. He might tell you he promises to change. He will, but for the WORSE. Even if he promises to go to a psychologist to get treatment, he won't change his ways. Even if he cries, begs you to come, promises you the world..It simply won't work like that. Don't be naive and trust these men. Instead my advice to you is run the other direction and never look back.

If you end up in KSA with him, he will most likely keep you as a prisoner and limit your life and all the contact you have to the outer world. I have personally seen and heard of women like this. He will not give you a phone or maybe even let you use the internet. If he hits you, no one will or can help you. No laws will protect you. Your life will become hell. His family will not help you, they will protect him. I am not exaggerating. Saudi-Arabia is the worst place in the world to be with an abusive, controlling husband, period.

So on to the case of the woman I mentioned. Her husband had beaten her so bad she broke some bones. She didn't have a cell phone because her husband had not given her one, and since they'd recently moved, she didn't even know where she lived. Her only way to contact anyone was through Facebook. The husband had locked her up in a room without windows and left the house with the child. Since she doesn't know anyone in Riyadh, she asked me for help. Together with another friend we were trying to help her to find out where the apartment was located so that we could go and take her to the hospital since she was in severe pain.

We couldn't figure out where she was and since she couldn't even see outside to give some landmarks, she remained in her agony alone in the apartment and there was nothing anyone could do about it. She asked me the number to the police, she wanted to call them from the husbands phone when he came back. In any other country I would've encouraged her to call the police and report him. In Saudi-Arabia however it's not a good idea, especially if you're a foreign woman.

Will the police believe her or the husband? What if he tells them she fell? The woman is not Muslim, most likely they will believe the husband over her. What if she makes the report in any case, who will protect her from the husbands rage afterwards? There are no shelters for her to go to. No relatives to help. Her husband's family would most likely say it's normal and nothing that can be done about it. Us friends could take her in, but would the husband allow that? Of course not, at least not with the child. He might get upset at her making the report and send her back to her home country. He has the power to do so, and to keep their daughter in Saudi-Arabia and the woman would never see her again. If the case ever were to go forward, the judge would just brush it off by saying she deserved it by disobeying the husband and that he had the right to beat her.

So I told my friend, don't call the police. You will just get yourself into more trouble. What I did advise her is to get out of the country with her child and never come back. She's going for vacation to her home country and I sincerely hope she finds the strength to leave him and never returns to Saudi-Arabia.

Back to the story of Lama. There's still a little hope for the verdict to change but her mother is from a very poor family and they haven't been able to get a lawyer yet. There is going to be another hearing this Sunday. Hopefully the family would be able to get a good lawyer for her and they can appeal the sentence to get this monster locked up. He deserves the same fate as he inflicted upon his daughter.

What is important now is to get her story out there. Spread the word, tell the world about this little angel and her monster father and the cowardly misogynist men who stand behind him. The verdict these judges came to is a disgrace and crime toward all children and women in the world.  He deserves the death penalty for his atrocious crime. This man is sick and will most likely commit such horrendous acts again. Help Lama's mother get justice by forwarding her story.

I hope there is a very very special place waiting for Fayhan Al Ghamdi in hell.
 May the little angel rest in peace.    - Layla

People question me all the time about my motives in moving to a place like Saudi Arabia, where women are seen to be second class citizens with no rights.  I usually don't have difficulty explaining that my life is actually pretty good here.  I feel safe - and my husband and I have been together for 35 years, so where else should I live?  But I cannot stand idly by and watch this injustice being done to poor little Lama without voicing my objections and abhorrence for a misogynistic country that would let this type of thing happen to one of its most precious citizens and not punish her abuser, rapist, torturer, and murderer accordingly.   The world should be outraged.  Saudi Arabia should be outraged.

Susie of Arabia


  1. This is an absolutely horrendous story and I am completely outraged too. How can such horrible people live with themselves? And why on earth isn't he in jail for the rest of his life?!? Isn't there any justice at all in Saudi Arabia?? This is really a shocking story. I just read an article on the BBC website about this least it's attracting worldwide attention but it won't help this poor little girl :'(

    1. The more attention and outrage that this case garners, hopefully the more rational and fair the outcome will be. We must keep the world focused on this horrendous crime against an innocent child, who was tortured and killed by the man she loved - her father.

  2. The only way for this kind of evil can be stopped is for Saudis themselves to accept that it comes from their society and that they must change it themselves. I don't mean that all Saudis are personally responsible but simply that they are the only ones who can fix it.

    In the US the problem of racism was only attacked once all Americans felt it was their job to fix it. It took a lot of ugly news reports of people being beaten protesting to awaken interest in the country as a whole. I won't say racism was eliminated but some of the worst abuses were.

    1. Hi Jerry - I know that there are problems and sickos in every country of the world, and that justice isn't necessarily doled out in other countries either. We as citizens of the world need to speak up and be heard so the madness will stop - and the perpetrators must be punished fairly.

  3. I feel so angry and sad... disappointed. I expected this will happen..she was "only " a girl... a little helpless inocent child. very frightening laws. you can be beheaded for "witchcraft" ( even everybody hnows it doesnt exist) but for rape, torture and murder you just get you pay money is more than a life ????? greetings ange

    1. Hi Ange - Hopefully at the end of this case, justice will prevail - and the punishment will fit the crime.

  4. I am appalled that this man only had to serve 4 months!!!! Islamically, the perpetrator would get the death penalty. However, we are talking about Saudi Arabia here and unfortunately they could care less about Islam. The rulers of Saudi Arabia are driven by greed and power. They have resorted to pre-islamic ways where men killed their daughters and beat their wives and treated them worse than animals. Saudi Arabia has a narcissistic complex. They continually mix culture and tradition with islam. I find it so difficult to read anything about saudi arabia anymore because of their unislamic ways. For now, all the women can do is continue to speak out about the injustice that goes on until their voices are heard. The men who are against the system also need to voice their opinion for change to happen!

    1. Hi Rene - There are now reports that Al Ghamdi is still in jail and has been incarcerated for 8 months. It's hard to get full and truthful accounts here. Also, it seems as though the judge acknowledged that paying blood money might be an option that would be considered and didn't actually rule on it yet. Outrage in KSA is necessary to ensure that payment of blood money in this case would not serve as justice for Lama.

  5. I have no words for such evil horror.....

    1. I know, I know. I feel like I'm taking it out on my poor keyboard...

  6. Susie,

    We love your posts. Bold and honest. Dunno if you'v enotice, but we've been featruing some of your entries in our Blog Roundup at Al Bawaba. This one we made the headliner since it needs to world's attention.

    In the future, is posting on your comment wall the best way to let you know we've featured a story?


    1. Hi Brett - Thank you very much. And thank you for helping get the word out about this tragic story. Leaving a comment is great or you can email me at :

  7. I read an article about this crime but cannot remember in what newspaper, maybe Herald Tribune. I posted your post on Facebook and also "Transcend politics, embrace humanity" posted it on their page too.

    1. Thank you, Nadege - The whole world needs to know about this case and be equally horrified as we are.

  8. My heart is broken. These stories are horrible.
    Thank you for posting them. Thank you for being so courageous and speaking for those who are locked in a cell. Im thinking of Lama, and your friend. May Lama's soul rest in peace. May your friend find the strength to escape her abuser. Please keep your voice loud.

    Debi from Canada

    1. Hi Debi - Thanks so much for your concern and compassion.

  9. Hi susie,

    I am Prasad, originally from India but currently working in UK. This reminds me of the young girl in India who was brutally raped in December and later succumbed to her injuries. But atleast in that case the perpetrators have been booked and being tried. But what's happening here is very crude. Blood money.............. how is that ever going to justify his punishment.

    Regarding the foreign wife who was being abused by her husband, if she would have come to KSA some 20-30 years before the advent of internet not knowing whta she was comiti ng hjerself into its understandble. But in this age of internet and easy access to internet how could she blindly follow a man who has a history of domestic violence is above my understanding.

    1. Hi Prasad - Thanks for your comment. When a woman falls in love with a man, she believes she will be happy no matter where in the world they live. I know - because I was one of those women. Being young and in love, one thinks that all love will conquer all their problems. It's a simple way of thinking and certainly not very realistic. But the heart wants what the heart wants. And nothing else seems to matter. I hope this helps to explain why women like me have come to live in a place like Saudi Arabia, despite knowing what could happen once we get here.

    2. So susie this post makes me wonder if you are about ready to come back to the States and call it on Saudi as well as other things.

      There are times that I can tell you are both frustrated as well as exhausted with the level of human atrocities and yet complete stupidity(such as no mixing but it is okay to have a male driver/male salesman, female live in maid, you an experienced driver can't drive but the eight year old boy can and the list of idiocy continues) of many of the Saudi practices.

      I would have left a long time ago. Life is just to damn short to stifle oneself to such a degree and forced to endure religious quackery.

    3. While these atrocities have to be fought,
      people are tired of western world's Holier -than-thou attitude.

      Everyone knows about Nazi (or German Christians) atrocities,
      less is known about British concentration camps in 1960's in Africa.

      Read/view more about Harvard Professor Carole Elkin's
      Also find out how French wanted to occupy Vietnam AFTER second world war, for their colonial exploitation.

      All these are within living memories.
      People are still alive who went through all this suffering.
      Western media will never tell you about this.

      West is under its own delusion of being good guys and defenders of freedom, when their goal is to occupy, exploit and loot so-called Third world countries...

    4. Anon:

      How does any of that change the situation currently in Saudi? There is more freedom currently here in the west and far more human rights. Past events will not correct the current atrocities. The issue is today as that is what people can change and every day people have to assess just exactly what they are willing to put up with today. The nice thing is that many can change locations to better their life and treatment and many can voice their opinion in opposition to atrocities particular in the west where laws do not impede freedom of speech at least not to the degree that is being implemented in the middle east. So all you have provided is a deflection from today which can be changed to the past which cannot. We can learn from the past and apply what we learned to today. Failure to do this is just damn stupid.

      Next, there is history that actually shows that the west have help other societies far more than you give them credit for as they help build societies in infrastructure and schooling. Also I think one could stated that the Middle East is equally culapble for their own aggression/atrocities of the past which lead to their defeat(ottomon empire) Now how does this help the situation of today? Maybe if some of the third world countries would take a little more ownership of their problems and stop playing the blame game they might find that they can overcome great odds. The first step though is to stop blaming everything on something else and take some ownership in how the countries policies impede progress. First example: It has been known for some time that when you empower women that you also empower a country. Women assist in bring the country into modernality and they also assist in reducing human atrocity levels within the country.

      Oh, there is also a reason why insurance companies provide women with lower insurance rates......they tend to be safer and more responsible drivers.

    5. bigstick1,
      You have many valid points and your opinions are well taken.
      At the same time, you also have many fallacies in your writings.

      The goal is not to blame anyone and certainly learn from past and better.

      What I am saying is, Holier-than-thou attitude of West will not be well received in the rest of the world. The west had barely any scruples, running concentration camps even in 60's and looting practically every so-called third world countries well into 1990's.

      Most of the countries, the issue of woman's rights and other valid things were pushed to background (unfortunately)
      as they were more focused on their very existence and survival.

      Most westerners will never understand how hard and how long it takes to fix any of these issues.
      All the pent up social issues for the last 2-3 centuries are not going to be fixed right away.

      Westerners and their opinions will not be taken seriously
      (however well intentioned) and it could hurt the normal evolution in these countries by their advice/speakout/involvement.

      So if you want to help, learn how to do it quietly or effectively in each countries.

      >Past events will not correct the current atrocities.
      Why not ?
      Do you know UK was paid World War One reparations from Germany until 2010 ?
      So Why not west pay reparations for all the countries they looted until 1960's/70's ?

      They want to wiggle out of that, while keeping the loot.

    6. Anon:

      Okay peaked my curiousity. I would like some background. Where are you from? Next, what countries do you think should pay and why. Be specific. Why can't most westerners understand fixing problems? In addition you stated that speaking out by providing these countries advise would hurt there normal evolution. So I am wonder, are these countries wanting to become isolated from the world? If not then they are world playesr and as such they will just have to deal with people from all factions including the west.

      Now explain to me what any country's normal evolution would be as we are all humans and evolution is based upon external factors which are always being introduced in differenting ways. There is nothing on this planet that does not have an external factor having influence upon it. So, please explain how you intend on working this?

      I have other questions but for now this will do. I will see how long Susie puts up with this before telling us to stop. :)

    7. bigstick1,
      Lost a detailed response to you earlier.
      I will not be able to type it again.
      Typing again, with short answers.

      >In addition you stated that speaking out by providing these countries advise would hurt there normal evolution.
      > So I am wonder, are these countries wanting to become isolated from the world?

      There are different styles and different approaches.
      Imagine you are sent back to 18/19th century and fighting against slavery or for woman's suffrage.
      Will you use today's techniques, even if it same country ?

      Different societies, countries have different ways.
      So to be effective, some places you should do it quietly
      or in some places do it very publicly.
      Do not automatically assume speaking out is the most effective strategy.

      On top of it, most Westerners do not have any credibility.
      They come with lot of baggage.
      People may be willing to put up politely for various reasons.

      Sorry I will not respond further.

    8. Anon:

      Too bad. I agree that everyone should deal with things inside their country in a manner that is suitable to a point. I can however, equally state that the Middle Eastern/Asia/African countries have their baggage and have no credibility as well. So that statement is fodder.

      Should you ever like to discuss issues further but not on this blog just hit my moniker (name) and it will take you to my site. Probably would not want to continue this discussion here.

      Susie will tire of it at some point. :)

      I have enjoy it though. :)

    9. oh dear cant help but jump in a year later.

      thing is western values aside their is a set political western agenda. Exploiting wealth of poorer nations, incredible influence on wto, imf and so on. Hard to believe that these countries will ever and i do mean EVER , will get any help from west. I am from pakistan, america provides funds, supports a vile corrupt political liberal front, heaps wars, agencies, drones and a vice like grip on our foreign policy. I simply hope muslims get under the banner of faith.lesser rights for women is one thing and constantly being defrauded is another. If this man has sickened u can u imagine how a foreign influence can sicken that
      imposes a war on us just do they loot resources of nations and create a political hegmony.why people like donot think much of western system is because west is simply accumulating wealth and this cost is paid be feeble nations. Thats like west is endorsing a whole race of whyo can be the best pirate. No decent person can espouse democracy and current western model of world governance for it come at a huge human cost. America has biggest portion of word's wealth. Its not been obtained humanely. Read chomsky. If saudi arabia must change why on earth should they jump from the frying pan into the fire.

  10. > 300,000 riyals if the victim is a Muslim man
    > 3,333 riyals if a woman of any other religion

    In the original US constitution a slave was considered 3/5 of a white person.

    That is way better than 1/90th for Muslim man vs a Hindu woman (for example).

    Feel so sad that some of the most peaceful religion (Hindu) is the most abused group by Muslims.

  11. This case about the poor child who was raped and is absolutely disgusting and unacceptable. What kind of a society can support criminals by letting them get away with it? When will enough be enough? There was a similar awful story here in the Emirates. An Emirati man and his girlfriend tortured his girls. They buried one in the desert after she died. The UAE government responded very quickly and even made a new law called Wadima's law. See the story here it really shows what a contrast of response to child abuse unlike the current state of Saudi Arabia. Here is the link.

  12. Okay peaked my curiousity. I would like some background. Where are you from? Next, what countries do you think should pay and why. Be specific. Why can't most westerners understand fixing problems? In addition you stated that speaking out by providing these countries advise would hurt there normal evolution. So I am wonder, are these countries wanting to become isolated from the world? If not then they are world playesr and as such they will just have to deal with people from all factions including the west.

    1. Do you have a question or are you performing a child's game of repeating a parent's words?