Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The draft of my speech at Woman History Month Celebration

I had a wonderful time yesterday at the US Embassy in Cairo! Here is the draft of my speech at the US Embassy Celebration of Woman History Month. Unfortunately, I could not track the amazing comments and the inspiring questions of audience and the other panelists whom I shared the stage with. Yet, I am looking forward for your invaluable feedback on my own presentation:

First of all, I would like to thank Her Excellency Ambassador Scobey and the wonderful team of the American Embassy for organizing this event and giving me this opportunity to speak about the cyber movement of young women activists in the Middle East, which I am, proudly, part of. The topic of my speech shall focus on Young Arab women and the Internet World.

I was once asked: if you were given the choice, would you choose to be born now in the new millennium? I said definitely, yes! Not only because I was given the unique chance to witness the end of one millennium and the beginning of the other, but also because I was given free access to the whole universe from my small room via a lap top and an internet connection!

The information technology revolution has done much more than merely making the world a small village. For us, young women activists living in Egypt and the Middle East, the information technology revolution gave us the space we need to practice our lives the way we want; apart from the restrictions imposed on us by our patriarchal societies.

The life for us now is divided into two worlds, a real one (inside the real patriarchal society) and a virtual one (online)!

In the real world, we are still looked upon as a "beautiful body" while in the virtual world we are treated as an "intellectual mind."

In house, the young woman is the property which her parents are keeping "safe and sound" until the anonymous knight comes on his white horse and takes her to the golden cell of marriage! To keep her safe and sound, they might commit unlimited number of crimes against her body, mind, and spirit. These crimes might be as painful as circumcision in childhood, as artificial as covering her body with as much clothes as possible in teenage, as frustrating as preventing her from travel for study or work, preventing her from choosing her own career, blaming her for being ambitious, etc.

One of the most painful experiences in my life based on the fact that I am a female, took place while I was undergraduate student. In the year 2001, after winning three levels in the annual Students Chess Competition, I was prevented from competing on the title of University Master of Chess because I am a "girl" and the final level was made only for "boys/" male students.

I protested and proved to the organizers of the competition that the mind of the "girl" is hundred percent equal to the mind of the "boy" and the difference between the minds of each of them has nothing to do with their gender. But, the answer from organizers was a threat to remove my previous titles! Of course, I had to shut up!

Even in the street and work place, young women are always looked upon as the sexual objects that men always desire to verbally or physically harass! What doubles the misery is that the society holds women – the victim – accountable for what the man did and blames her for being a "woman" who dared to walk in the site of men, and have to bear the dire consequences of being professionally ambitious!!

But online, in the virtual world, on the World Wide Web, the story is completely different. Thanks to the internet young women in the Middle East proved to their patriarchal societies that they are equal active minds and not only beautiful bodies or passive properties of men.

Online, I am the woman I always wanted to be: I can "virtually" dress the way I want. I can "virtually" walk in the web-sites men walk at without fear from harassment. I can "virtually" challenge a "male" mind in an online chess game and win. I can "virtually" discuss critical, political, and social topics and my opinion is respected regardless of my gender. Online, I am enjoying the freedom I always wanted to have.

When someone opens my blog, they read my ideas and deal with my mind regardless of my gender. Online, I am not the beautiful body any more, I am the "active mind" that people respect and follow. Online, I am the FaceBook member who does not shy to write in her profile "I am in relationship with … whoever."

I am the blogger who expresses herself without fear, who shares her own personal problems with the universe and networks with young women in different places in the Middle East on launching campaigns and changing the painful negativities of the real world.

Recently, on the day of the Mawlid Elnaby celebration in Egypt – Prophet Muhammad Birthday Celebration – I wrote an article about the suppression I suffer as a young Muslim woman for not being able to do pilgrimage to Mecca, only because the Saudi law prevents young women access to the holy land of Mecca without a "mahram;" a relative male chaperon!

By the way, one of the funny Fatwas by a famous Saudi scholar that was released in the year 2006 said that young women may not use the internet alone! The young woman must have a "mahram" a male relative chaperon with her while navigating the internet!!

Well! I posted the article on my blog and footed it with blaming the Saudi government for practicing such discrimination against all Muslim young women in the world. On the same day, several international and local media outlets including Almasry Alyoum and Alyoum El-Sabe' dailies, BBC Radio and website, PBS TV, Global Voices Website, Topix News Website, and some other international blogs picked up the article and made news stories around its topic.

Then, I received tens of emails from young Muslim women from different places all over the world offering their unconditioned help and asking me to activate this campaign on a wider global scale.

Thanks to the internet, my very personal problem turned into a global one and I am gaining supporters from all over the globe.

Now, the campaign is already launched and I believe that sooner or later we will gain this simple right to practice our religion without restrictions from this government or that regime.

These were only few examples of the many benefits we – young Middle Eastern women – gained through the internet. I wish I had more time to tell you more.

But before I end my speech, I would like to call upon all of you to help us young women in the Middle East to transform the freedom we are enjoying in the virtual world to the real world. All it takes is only few steps. It is not about changing regimes or laws. It is about changing mentalities of both women and men.

The first but most important step is for both men and women to believe that they are two wings for the same bird, which is our common society. If one wing is forced to be inactive, our society will fail to fly as high as we aspire. It will fall down faster than we would expect.

I said it before: Empower woman; then you empower the whole society!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Dalia Ziada speaks at US Embassy Women History Month Celebration

دعوة لحضور احتفالية السفارة الأمريكية بالقاهرة، مصر بشهر المرأة، يوم الأثنين 30 مارس 2009 الساعة 4 مساءا والتي سأتشرف بأن أكون أحد المتحدثين فيها

الدعوة عامة ومفتوحة للجميع كل المطلوب من الذي يرغب في الحضور هو فقط إبلاغ السفارة بحضوره على الأيميل الوارد في الإعلان أدناه

The United States Embassy in Cairo

Is pleased to invite you to a panel discussion on

“Women Leaders and Social Development”

In Celebration of

Women History Month

The U.S. Embassy is sponsoring a Women’s History Month panel discussion on “Women Leaders and Social Development” featuring Egyptian women leaders on March 30th from 4-6 p.m. in the U.S. Embassy auditorium. Each of the below panelists will give a 5-minute presentation, followed by a question and answer session.


H.E. Ambassador Margaret Scobey, United States Ambassador to Egypt

Ms. Nagwa Shoeb, Director General, Suzanne Mubarak Women’s International Peace Movement

Dr. Nehad Aboul Komsan, Executive Director, Egyptian Center for Women’s Rights

Ms. Engy Haddad, President and Managing Director, Afro-Egyptian Human Rights Organization

Ms. Dalia Ziada, Regional Director, American Islamic Congress

Venue: U.S. Embassy, Auditorium, North Gate, 8 Kamal El Din Salah Street, Garden City, Cairo.

Time: Monday, March 30, 2009, 4:00 PM – 6:00 PM (Please be at the gate by 3:30 PM)

Please Note: Translation will be provided.

A RSVP is requested for attending the panel discussion. Please send your name, national ID or passport # to cairoculture@state.gov.

Please bring a photo ID to gain entrance. An identification is required.

Cell phones, cameras and computers are not allowed in the Embassy and must be checked at the gate. Thank you for your cooperation.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

I am Everything I am because of AIC!

I think there is something wrong with my stars these days. Luck is chasing me! The large number of good news that happens in my life every single day during the past couple of weeks made me feel like touching the sky. Success is a joy, which gets doubled when every body around you acknowledges it.

During the past two weeks, I was profiled by various big and reputable local and international media outlets including Dream TV, Global Voices, Almasry Alyoum, Time Magazine, BBC, CRIME Report, Get Religion Website, and many other weblogs and websites.

Click on the links above, read them and tell me what you think!

The funny (ironical) part is the weird comments I heard from people whom I once regarded as liberal thinkers. Most of these comments were revolving around the idea why I insist on continuing my work with the American Islamic Congress "despite the wild attacks we received when we opened the Cairo office two years ago!" Actually, there are many points that must be set clear here.

Probably, AIC is the best thing that happened to the Middle East in the new century! I am not exaggerating! Go to our website (www.aicongress.org) to see the many achievements implemented by the young motivated staff worldwide. Search Google to review the many wonderful achievements of AIC all over the Middle East! We successfully launched campaigns to release opinion and political prisoners, we launched the first Human Rights Film Festival in the history of the Middle East, we promoted religious tolerance; we successfully changed the world positively in a very short time. Every year, a large number of young talented activists are added to our network via our Essay Contest. We – AIC-ians – are successfully doing what people once thought "impossible" or at least "very difficult." I am so proud of being an AIC-ian.

I now remember the severe attacks which was launched against me and AIC by "jealous" bloggers, bitter feeling colleagues, and radical dishonest journalists when we first opened the Cairo office in 2007. Look at them now! Where are they, and where I am! History records the work of hard workers like me and my colleagues in AIC and forgets the awful time-wasting words of jealous malicious people.

Have you heard about the famous song "I am everything I am because you loved me?!" I can say out loud that "I am everything I am because of AIC." If Zainab Al-Suwaij (my sweet young boss), Jesse Sage (HAMSA Director and the first one I ever contact in AIC), and Nasser Weddady (Outreach Director and who was always supportive to me) did not believe in me and chose me to be the director of AIC office in Cairo, Egypt, I was never to accomplish what I have achieved so far. They made the best out of my potential. I am completely grateful to them. It is a great pleasure for any one on Earth to work with a group of young people who believe in their unlimited power to change the world. (read more about AIC staff of young inspiring activists HERE)

Saturday, March 14, 2009

مائة وخمسون شخصية عامة يُطالبون أوباما بإعطاء الأولوية للديمقراطية

بقلم د. سعد الدين إبراهيم ١٤/ ٣/ ٢٠٠٩

نقلا عن المصري اليوم

فى مؤتمر صحفى حافل بنادى الصحافة فى العاصمة الأمريكية، وجه مائة شخصية عامة، يوم الثلاثاء ١٠ مارس ٢٠٠٩، رسالة مفتوحة للرئيس الأمريكى باراك أوباما، يُطالبونه فيها بإعطاء الأولوية لدعم الديمقراطية فى العالمين العربى والإسلامى.

كان مركز دراسات الإسلام والديمقراطية (CSID)، الذى يديره الناشط الأمريكى التونسى د.رضوان مصمودى، هو الذى أخذ زمام المُبادرة فى تنظيم حملة أمريكية ـ عالمية، شارك فيها العديد من الشخصيات العامة ذات الاهتمام والخبرة بشؤون العالمين العربى والإسلامى. وشملت أقطاباً من الحزبين الديمقراطى (الحاكم حالياً) والجمهورى (الحاكم سابقاً)، ومن الدبلوماسيين الذين خدموا لسنوات طويلة فى عواصم عربية وإسلامية، وأساتذة جامعيين، وإعلاميين، وأعضاء سابقين وحاليين فى الكونجرس.

كذلك كان من الموقعين على الرسالة المفتوحة للرئيس الأمريكى العديد من الشخصيات العامة المسلمة، سواء تلك التى تعيش فى بُلدانها، أو فى المنفى، أو فى المهجر.

وكان ضمن من تحدث فى المؤتمر الصحفى كل من د. ميشيل جين، الدبلوماسية التى خدمت فى القاهرة، ثم فى مجلس الأمن القومى، وتعمل حالياً خبيرة فى مؤسسة كارنيجى للسلام، ود. لارى دياموند، أستاذ الاجتماع السياسى بجامعة ستانفورد، ورئيس تحرير مجلة الديمقراطية، ود. جنفيف عبده، الكاتبة المعروفة فى الإسلاميات، وكاتب هذه السطور.

فماذا تقول الرسالة للرئيس الأمريكى؟

بدأت الرسالة بتهنئة الرئيس أوباما على انتخابه، واحتفاء العالم كله بهذا الحدث غير المشهود، وما يعقده الناس عليه من آمال، فى إعادة قيادة أمريكا للعالم، لا بقوتها العسكرية وثرواتها الاقتصادية فحسب، ولكن بتأكيد القيم الأمريكية الرفيعة، فى الدفاع عن الحُريات والديمقراطية وحقوق الإنسان.

ثم دخلت الرسالة فوراً إلى قلب موضوعها، وهو دعم الديمقراطية فى العالم الإسلامى.

ولم تتردد الرسالة فى مصارحة أوباما بهواجسهم، والتى كان أولها، حرص الإدارة الجديدة على الابتعاد عن كل ما مثلته الإدارة السابقة لها فوراً، وهى إدارة الرئيس جورج دبليو بوش، سواء فى سياساتها أو شعاراتها أو مُمارساتها، والتى كان بينهما «أجندة الحُرية» (Freedom Agenda) ودعم الديمقراطية (Democracy Promotion). وشبّهت د. ميشيل جين الموقف، بأنه حتى إذا كان بوش قد أساء فى مُمارساته لمبادئ الحُرية والديمقراطية،

فلتتوقف هذه الممارسات الخاطئة، التى هى أشبه بالمياه الملوثة بعد حمّام الطفل، ولكن نكتفى برمى تلك المياه الملوثة، دون أن نرمى معها الطفل. وهو مثل أمريكى معروف: Throwing the bathe water without throwing the baby». والديمقراطية هى المقابل للطفل، فى هذا القول المأثور ومن ثم لا ينبغى التضحية بالديمقراطية نفسها، وإدارة أوباما فى معرض تخلصها من الممارسات الملوثة لإدارة الرئيس السابق بوش.

أما د. لارى دياموند فقد حرص على تذكير الإدارة الجديدة لأوباما بأن الدعوة لإعلاء قيم الحرية والديمقراطية وحقوق الإنسان تسبق إدارة بوش السابقة بثمانين عاماً على الأقل، حيث تعود إلى إدارة ودرو ويلسون، منذ الحرب العالمية الأولى، وضمن حق الشعوب فى تقرير المصير. وهو المبدأ الذى ألهم الثورات الوطنية فى مصر والعراق والهند. كما أن من جاءوا بعد ذلك من رؤساء أمريكيين ـ مثل روزفلت، وأيزنهاور، وكيندى، وكارتر، وكلينتون، فقد أكدوا نفس المبادئ. وأن ذلك هو ما ينبغى على أوباما أن يتذكره، ويقتدى به.

أما د. جنفيف عبده، فقد ذكّرت أوباما بالإرث الإسلامى فى خلفيته، من خلال أبيه الكينى المسلم حسين أوباما، ومن خلال نشأته فى صباه فى أكبر بلد مسلم، وهو إندونيسيا. وأن أضعف الإيمان هو الوفاء لهذا التراث بمساعدة المسلمين على تحرير أنفسهم من الطغاة الذين يُجثمون على صدورهم.

وأخيراً كان حديثى فى المؤتمر الصحفى هو أن يُركز أوباما فى تعامل بلاده مع البلدان الإسلامية على الشعوب، التى هى أكثر دواماً من الحكّام، وأن هذه الشعوب تنشد العدالة والحرية والعيش الكريم، وأن العدالة تتحقق بحكم القانون، واستقلال القضاء، والحرية تتحقق بإعلام حر، يُعبّر عن هموم الناس، والعيش الكريم يتحقق بتنمية حقيقية تشارك فيها الدولة مع القطاع الخاص والمجتمع المدنى. وحينما يتم ذلك فإن الديمقراطية ستأتى تلقائياً على أيدى أصحاب المصلحة فيها، وسيذكرون أوباما وأمريكا بالخير، عوضاً عن قذفهما بالأحذية واللعنات!

لماذا اختار المسلمون الأمريكيون هذه الوسيلة فى مُخاطبة أوباما؟

بداية، تمثل هذه المُبادرة تجسيداً لما أشرنا إليه فى الأسابيع الأخيرة من أن المسلمين والعرب والمصريين الذين يعيشون فى أمريكا، سواء فيها أو هاجروا واستقروا فيها، قد شبّوا عن الطوق، وتعلموا وسائل التنظيم ومهارات التأثير فى صناعة القرار، سواء فى الشؤون الأمريكية أو شؤون أوطانهم الأصلية. ويمكّنهم من ذلك أجواء الحرية والمجتمع المفتوح الذى يعيشون فيه ـ أى الولايات المتحدة. وأهم من ذلك فهم يتعلمون من جماعات الضغط الأخرى ـ مثل الأمريكيين اليهود، والأيرلنديين، والإيطاليين، والكوبيين.

فأمريكا فى البداية والنهاية هى مجتمع أقليات وافدة من كل الدنيا. وهم من يُسمون «أمريكيون بشرطة» بمعنى أن كل من هذه الأقليات يُطلق عليها «أمريكيون ـ «، يليها اسم البلد الذى أتت منه هذه الأقلية، كأن نقول «أمريكيون ـ بولنديون»، أو« أمريكيون ـ عرب»، أو «أمريكيون ـ مسلمون».

ويُعتبر العرب والمسلمون آخر الجماعات الوافدة التى تنظم صفوفها كجماعة ضغط فى الولايات المتحدة. وفى هذا السياق جاءت مُبادرة د. رضوان مصمودى باسم مركز دراسات الإسلام والديمقراطية، والتى تجاوزت «الأمريكيين ـ المسلمين»، إلى أصدقائهم وأصدقاء الديمقراطية من أمريكيين آخرين، ومن مسلمين خارج الولايات المتحدة.

أما السبب الثانى للمُبادرة فى هذا التوقيت فهو أنشطة مُمثلى الأنظمة الحاكمة المستبدة، خاصة العربية منها، فى واشنطن، والتى تروج مقولة إن الشعوب العربية والمسلمة ليست قادرة ولا راغبة فى الديمقراطية، وإن مُمارسة الديمقراطية، إما أنها تأتى بالفوضى والحرب الأهلية، كما يحدث فى العراق، أو تأتى بإسلاميين متطرفين كما حدث فى غزة (٢٠٠٦)، وقبلها فى مصر (انتخاب ٨٠ من الإخوان المسلمين) (٢٠٠٥).

وقد لا يعلم كثير من القرّاء أن الأنظمة المستبدة تتعاقد مع مؤسسات علاقات عامة فى واشنطن، وتدفع لها الملايين من الدولارات سنوياً، لإقناع أعضاء الكونجرس والقيادات التنفيذية والإعلامية بهذه المقولات. وكان لابد من الرد عليها، قبل أن يُصدقها أوباما، أو يُجابه بأغلبية فى الكونجرس تكون قد ابتلعت هذه الادعاءات.

ومصداقاً لهذين الهاجسين أن وزيرة الخارجية الأمريكية فى الإدارة الجديدة، وهى هيلارى كلينتون، حينما تحدثت عن أركان السياسة الخارجية فى عهدها وهى «الدبلوماسية»، و«التنمية»، و«الدفاع». وهذه الكلمات الثلاث تبدأ بحرف (D: Diplomacy، Defers، Development. وتغيب الديمقراطية، وهى تبدأ أيضاً بحرف (D). وقد انتقدتها افتتاحية واشنطن بوست يوم (١٠/٣/٢٠٠٩) بسبب ذلك،

خاصة على تعليقاتها أثناء زيارتها للعاصمة الصينية بكين، حيث قالت ما معناه إن الولايات المتحدة لن تجعل الدعوة للديمقراطية وحقوق الإنسان تكون عقبة فى تطوير العلاقات الاقتصادية بين البلدين. وطالبت الصحيفة، ذات التأثير الواسع فى دوائر صناعة القرار، الرئيس أوباما شخصياً بأن يُعيد مسألتى الديمقراطية وحقوق الإنسان إلى مكانهما فى صدارة أجندة سياسة أمريكا الخارجية.

وقد تزامنت افتتاحية واشنطن بوست مع الرسالة المفتوحة من مسلمى أمريكا إلى أوباما، فلعل وعسى أن يسمع هو ورؤساء دولنا الإسلامية «نداء المعذبين فى الأرض» آمين.

لقراءة خطاب النشطاء إلى أوباما، برجاء الضغط هنا

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Open Letter to Obama to Make Demcoracy in the Middle East a Top Priority!


March 6, 2009


Radwan Masmoudi, 202-251-3036, masmoudi@islam-democracy.org
Shadi Hamid, 202-470-2509, shadi.hamid@pomed.org

Bi-Partisan Group of Prominent Scholars and Experts Urge President Obama to Make Democracy in the Middle East a Top Priority

Washington, DC - March 6, 2009 - More than 80 scholars and experts-including Egyptian democracy activist Saad Eddin Ibrahim and former deputy prime minister of Malaysia Anwar Ibrahim -are urging President Obama to adopt a consistent and credible policy that supports democracy in the Arab and Muslim world. The group will formally issue an open letter to the president at a news conference Tuesday, March 10, at 2:30 p.m. at the National Press Club in Washington.

"For decades, the
United States and Europe have been coddling and supporting dictators in the Arab world, and this has been disastrous for the region and for U.S.-Islamic relations," said Radwan Masmoudi, president of the Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy and a co-convener of the letter. The letter states that for decades the United States has "supported repressive regimes that routinely violate human rights, and that torture and imprison those who dare criticize them."

The signatories call on the administration to make supporting democracy and its proponents in the
Middle East a top foreign policy priority, even in countries that are U.S. allies such as Egypt, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia. The authors call on the United States to "use its considerable economic and diplomatic leverage to put pressure on its allies in the region when they fail to meet basic standards of human rights."

"Because of its association with the Bush administration, there is a temptation to move away from any discussion of democracy promotion in the
Middle East. That would be a mistake," said Shadi Hamid, director of research at the Project on Middle East Democracy and a letter co-convener. The letter lauds the President's initial efforts to reach out to the Arab and Muslim world, but cautions that the U.S. must demonstrate its commitment to democratic reform through actual policy changes.

The letter demonstrates strong support across the ideological spectrum for a renewed commitment to supporting democratic reform in the region, and for supporting the political inclusion of moderate Islamist groups. Among the more than 80 signatories are: Francis Fukuyama of Johns Hopkins University; Morton Halperin, former director of policy planning at the State Department; Jennifer Windsor, executive director of Freedom House; Peter Beinart, contributing editor at The New Republic; Georgetown Professor John L. Esposito, and democracy expert Larry Diamond of Stanford University; author and blogger Matt Yglesias, and Robert Kagan of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

Several of the co-signers will be available during the news conference to answer questions from the media about the policy recommendations included in the open letter, including Saad Eddin Ibrahim, Radwan Masmoudi, Jennifer Windsor, Larry Diamond, Geneive Abdo, and others.

To read the open letter CLICK HERE

Monday, March 09, 2009

Prophet's Birthday: A call for ending Saudi Arabia discrimination against Muslim young women worldwide!

Today, Egyptian Muslims celebrate Prophet Muhammad's birthday (PBUH); known in Egyptian colloquial as Mawlid Elnaby. On this day, Egyptian Muslims eat special desserts (halawet elmwalid), exchange visits with relatives and acquaintances, and hold religious sessions to remember Prophet Muhammad. It is an intensive spiritual course that gives power to Muslim's soul and heart.

This is my first time, in five years, to celebrate Mawlid Elnaby at home. This year, I insisted on seizing the opportunity to purify my soul away from the usual concerns of daily life. Early in the morning, I woke up on the beautiful lyrics of Mohamed Tharwat, singing for Prophet and praising Allah! His song was so touching. I had my breakfast with my sweet mother and three siblings. Then, we ate desserts, recited Qura'an and made wishes. I was extremely happy and I hoped if this hour of my life could last forever.

After performing noon prayers, the idea of making a religious trip to Mecca and visiting Prophet's tomb stroke my mind. My mother had been to Mecca and Medina, in 2007. She says it was the best experience she ever had. My mother told me she is planning to make another similar trip this year. Thus, I decided to do my best to join her.

I ran, immediately, to my lap top and searched Google for quotes and procedures required for making O'mra (minor pilgrimage) trip. There, I had a great shock, which spoiled my day: I am not allowed access to Saudi Arabia to do "O'mra!" Why? Because I am a young woman under the age of 45! The only solution for me to get to my beloved Prophet's land is to be accompanied by a male chaperon. My mother, 51, is not enough to get me there.

Do you know what a male chaperon is? A first-degree male relative: father, brother, husband, or son! I am in a big trouble. On one hand, my father is dead and my two brothers are not interested. Even if they are, I cannot afford their tickets. On the other hand, I do not have a husband; and of course I do not have a son!! What can I do, now?! I am terribly confused! I have already traveled to several places around the world. I was completely alone! I did not do something wrong, and nothing wrong was done to me!!

I was told that this unjust restriction on young Muslim women is the pure invention of Saudi Arabia. It has nothing to do with Islam! Saudi government entitled itself to block one-third of Muslims (i.e. Muslim young women) from fulfilling a religious order of Allah! Apparently, Saudi government's word is superior to the word of God! Who told them that Mecca and Prophet Muhammad is their own property? Who gave them the right to prevent me, among other young Muslim women, from visiting Prophet's land?!

Saudi Arabia has always been the biggest abuser of women rights. They deprive Saudi women from showing their faces, driving a car, or even working or socially mixing with men! Hilariously, Saudis commit these awful violations of women rights in the name of Islam. They distort the image of our tolerant religion. But, I am not Saudi Arabian; why should I comply with their naïve rules, then? This is not fair!

Nevertheless, Saudi Arabia does not celebrate Prophet's birthday! Historical facts state that: Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was born in Saudi Arabia and his mission to call for Islam started from there. Saudi government holds all property rights for Prophet's heritage. Still, they do not celebrate his birthday as we do in Egypt. Why? Because, according to Saudi scholars, remembering Prophet's birthday is a heresy (beda'a)!!!!

Thereupon, I call upon international feminists, moderate Muslims, and those who believe in women rights in the Muslim world to join my upcoming fight against the Saudi government for getting my right (as a woman) to practice my religion without the unreasonable and unjust restrictions imposed by extremists and patriarchal governments like that of Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia does not have the right to "monopolize" Islam!