Mohammed bin Salman, Saudi Arabia’s crown prince, is in the United Kingdom this week to meet two female leaders: Queen Elizabeth II and Prime Minister Theresa May. He will see for himself that women have as much to contribute to public life as men.
In Saudi Arabia, governed by Shariah (Islamic law), a woman must live under the authority of a male guardian, her wali al-amr. The Quran (4:34) says, “Men are the protectors and maintainers of women, because Allah has given the one more [strength] than the other, and because they support them from their means.” The General Presidency for Scholarly Research, an official body in charge of Islamic legal opinion, has issued a fatwa construing the verse strictly: “A woman should not leave her house, except with her husband’s permission.”
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