The diary of a Saudi man, currently living in the United Kingdom, where the Religious Police no longer trouble him for the moment.
In Memory of the lives of 15 Makkah Schoolgirls, lost when their school burnt down on Monday, 11th March, 2002. The Religious Police would not allow them to leave the building, nor allow the Firemen to enter.
The Saudi Arabian authorities are refusing to reveal what action was taken against a diplomat suspected of sexually assaulting a child in London. The man was arrested at the end of July last year but was released after claiming diplomatic immunity. The Saudis say he will not be able to return to the UK, but have offered no information as to his fate. The Foreign Office has refused to hand over papers on the case, despite a BBC freedom of information request. The alleged assault against the 11-year-old girl generated anger in the newspapers when the Saudis refused a request by the British to waive the man's diplomatic immunity.
That just about sums up all I know about the case.
Obviously, had he been charged and convicted in the UK, he would have gone to prison for some length of time. He wouldn't have had his head shaven, but that would have been the least of his problems. British prisoners have a form of 'code of honor' which means that they attempt to kill child sex criminals if they get the chance. For that reason child sex criminals are segregated for their own protection. In the event he didn't get charged and he invoked diplomatic immunity, and the Saudi government, to nobody's surprise, has gone quiet on the case.
For what it's worth, because I have no special knowledge, this is how I believe the Saudi government will see the case. Please bear in mind that I am saying all this with a straight face. This is not one of those 'ironic posts'.
1. Saudi Law, based totally on Sharia Law, does not specify a minimum age for sexual relations. It does require that sex must take place within marriage. However there are no hard-and-fast rules for the minimum age of marriage; it depends upon what is seen as the 'best interests' of both parties.
2. Although there is some scolarly dispute, it is generally accepted that Mohammad married his wife Aisha, the daughter of Abu Bakr, when she was six, and consummated the marriage when she was nine. See here for various items of evidence, pro and con. Interestingly, whilst there has been some dispute, there has been virtually no condemnation within the religion.
3. More recently, the 'Saudi Gazette' trumpeted an article about a man of indeterminate old age, married to a girl of thirteen.
4. Given that Saudi attitudes to the age of consent are more 'relaxed' than those in most other places, the fact that the girl was eleven would not, per se, be a cause for censure of their diplomat, and certainly not if she had reached the age of puberty.
5. What would be a cause for censure would be the fact that the alleged events had taken place outside marriage. However it is sadly a matter of fact that the female is generally seen as the more guilty party on these occasions. I am assuming that she was not veiled or concealing her form in any way.
So, whilst I have no special knowledge, I suspect that the diplomat's fate, punishment or penalty will be...
P.S. For those tempted to go to the website of the Saudi Embassy in London, perhaps to check on recent departures, it seems to be offline. (16.09.05). What you might call a 'diplomatic silence'.