Rape of Saudi Arabian girl instigates outrage

It is difficult to imagine a father hurting one of his own. It is even more difficult to imagine someone   who has abused his family member getting off lightly. The behavior of Saudi Arabian preacher Fayhan al-Ghamdi does not reflect the actions of a good father, nor any respectable man, for that matter: al-Ghamdi raped, beat and tortured his own 5-year-old daughter, Lama, to death. But his punishment? Just eight years in prison and 800 lashes.

Though many have cried out against the leniency of his consequences, which the Court of Riyadh levied on Oct. 8, few have questioned the Saudi Arabian law that allows al-Ghamdi to go scot-free. This law, according to the Agence France Presse, asserts that “a father cannot be executed for murdering his children, nor can husbands be executed for murdering their wives” even though other acts of rape and murder can be punished by death.

This policy proves that the Saudi Arabian government does not recognize women as human beings — wives and children are seen as the property of a man, as dispensable as material goods.

This mentality is ludicrous. Some actions are simply immoral, regardless of who they are carried out by. It is inexcusable for a country to impose the death penalty upon robbers and adulterers but not upon rapists and murderers for the sole reason that the perpetrator is related to his victims. The enforcement of this policy entitles all married men in Saudi Arabia to carry out senseless murders without serious enough ramifications.

Just this year, human rights activists celebrated a ban on domestic violence as a “landmark decision in Saudi Arabia,” according to CNN. A Washington Post headline read, “Saudi Arabia launches powerful ad campaign against domestic violence.”

And Bandar al-Aiban, president of Saudi Arabia’s Human Rights Commission, told CNN, “this shows the kingdom is really moving forward with enacting laws that protect its citizens and residents and to make sure the kingdom is now in accordance with international obligations and international standards regarding human rights.”

But Lama’s death demonstrates that the international community has fallen prey to Saudi Arabia’s smoke and mirrors. These campaigns do not rectify the true problem, which is a blatant disregard for the rights of all women in Saudi Arabia. And these newly created domestic violence laws, though hailed as a step in the right direction, are a minuscule step in the big picture.

The Saudi Arabian government might appear sympathetic to the needs of women, but do not be fooled — these statements and laws only mask the presence of more complex human rights problems.  Saudi Arabia is still mired in issues relating to the mistreatment of women and the global society cannot consent to the irrationality of Sharia law.

For one, women in Saudi Arabia cannot drive without a male companion. They cannot travel alone, participate in athletic activities or work in some industries. Though the international community is obligated to pressure Saudi Arabia to implement harsher domestic violence laws, until the misogynistic culture changes within the country, it is difficult to expect progress.

Cases of rape against daughters or sons are not unique to Saudi Arabia. Most recently, the Jersey Journal reported how a New Jersey man “faces multiple counts of child abuse, endangering the welfare of a child, aggravated sexual assault and sexual assault by contact” for the raping his two daughters.

Evidently, the fundamental difference between the United States and Saudi Arabia is the concept of justice. American citizens can depend on their judicial system to act fairly, handing down appropriate punishments. But in the case of Lama, whose life was stolen by the man who gave it to her, justice was not served.


Rini Sampath is a sophomore majoring in international relations (global business). She is also the Editorial Director of the Daily Trojan

Follow Rini on Twitter @RiniSampath 

7 replies
  1. Sameer
    Sameer says:

    Social and economic Conditions of Woman & Girls are very bad therefore, taking blood maney is good. Many state like Saudi failed to protect woment and child rights. They always protects their kindom and not citizen. They use Islam just a tool to rule.

    • Arafat
      Arafat says:


      You see things accurately. Just as Muslims are using Islam throughout the Hindu world to destroy the Hindu culture and people so are they doing elsewhere.

  2. Bypasser
    Bypasser says:

    I hope you will also inform the user that the same applies if it was a mother who killed a son. A mother cannot be killed for killing her son either. The reason is not that it is ok to kill them, but that the family has already lost one member, so it shouldn’t be forced to lose another. Will you want your government to kill your mother, because she killed your father?

  3. rack mohammud
    rack mohammud says:

    So much for the “Religion of Peace”.
    And watch another human get his head sawed off on YouTube.

    • Ray
      Ray says:

      Dont confuse a religion with a country that is acting strange. If a pope or cardinal is caught sexually assaulting a little boy, will you blame Christianity ? Of course not. Be fair in your judgement and leave your personal grunge aside. This is a serious matter that demands serious thoughts, not below-the-belt attacks against a religion that has nothing to do with such crime!

      • Arafat
        Arafat says:


        You have no idea what you are talking about. The Quran makes clear that women are men’s property. This message is conveyed throughout the Quran. Furthermore Islam’s prophet, Mohammed, raped women slaves and married 11 different women.

        But here is what says it all: Mohammed’s last wife, Aisha, was only six years old when he married her. He consummated that marriage when she was nine and he was 54 thereby setting a standard which many Muslims follow to this day.

        Ray, your a typical moral relativist; believing all religions are more or less the same and that people are not influenced, socialized or morally sculpted by their religion. This is pretty funny when considering a high percentage of Muslims are forced to memorize the Quran and are thoroughly brainwashed by an Islamic society which permits no free thought.

        You have a lot to learn Ray.

  4. Ras
    Ras says:

    I applaud the writer in coming out and saying what is obvious. I get angry thinking we live in a world where sanctimonious feminists, liberals and any other spineless mouthpiece displays anger at an off color remarks a drunken Mel Gibson makes towards a female police officer, but then remain silent or “tolerant” on issues of blatant criminal abuse if the abuse is being committed in a non Western culture. This senseless rape as well as atrocities such as female genitalia mutilation need to be called out as the barbaric thinking of a bronze age culture and have no place in the modern world. Yet you will seldom hear many people, let alone feminists talk about this. Those mealy-mouthed cowards primarily save their vitriol for middle aged white men who do not conform to the strict guidelines in our ultra politically correct society.

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