Saturday, January 9, 2010

Tourist in Dubai reports rape to police; instead is arrested for "illegal sex" with her fiance

What.

A British woman who alleged that she was raped in Dubai on New Year’s Eve has had her passport confiscated and may face a jail sentence after she was charged with having sex outside marriage with her fiancĂ©.

The 23-year-old woman, a Muslim from London, of Pakistani origin, said that she was attacked by a man who is understood to be a worker in the hotel where she had been drinking with her fiancé to celebrate their engagement during a three-day holiday in Dubai.

When she reported to the police that she had been raped, she and her partner, 44, were themselves jailed for sex outside marriage, which is illegal under the emirate’s laws. Unmarried couples are not allowed to share hotel rooms or live together, although many establishments turn a blind eye. The couple were also charged with being drunk outside licensed premises.

...Let me play the devil's advocate before anyone else does: Yes, Dubai has the right to come up with their own laws, and as a tourist you should know what's illegal before you go there, yadda yadda. That being said...

Never fucking go to Dubai.

The fact that this sort of misogynistic horseshit exists in the 21st century nauseates me. A woman is raped (and yes, it was raped - no level of inebriation equals consent) and when trying to get help from the police, gets sent to jail for a completely unrelated "crime" that would never have been discovered otherwise. Rape victims are often traumatized by the attack - and then she faces badgering questions about sex with her fiance? Is the law and purity of women so much more important than human compassion?

Apparently it is when you're dealing with backwards sharia law in a predominantly Muslim country. Only religion, and the misogynist culture generated by said religion, can make consenting sex a criminal offense. You can bet if this woman wasn't Muslim that they'd have a lot less interest in her personal life. Isn't it lovely when honor and the rules of an Invisible Sky Daddy are more important than human rights?

This isn't going to exactly help Dubai boost their tourism like they so hope. I'm damned sure I''ll never step foot in a country with such archaic laws - I'm not inclined to go to jail or fund their ignorance.

34 comments:

  1. That is just disgusting. I never had any interest in travelling to Dubai due to their rules about homosexuals, but this just make the place even more unpleasant.

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  2. We should all mail dubai embassy and tell them they can go f**k themselves and they have lost one more visitor to their oppressive country.

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  3. I was just there a couple of months ago, and there is plenty of drunken debauchery and sex outside of marriage going on!

    I was hanging out with the Emirates flight attendants though, so maybe this is just a Muslim thing reported in this case.

    Anyway, people have been arrested for having poppy seeds on them there. It is still an inredible place to visit.

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  4. Colin Murphy: There is no such thing as a Dubai embassay. *facepalm* It's one of seven states in a country known as the United Arab Emirates.

    I used to live there and my family still lives there. This is really nothing new, it's a default point to do to Muslim women all around the Islamic world. It's just very sad and highly restricting. I think the good thing here was, in the black humour that comes from living in that part of the world for too long, as least she wasn't in Iran or Saudi...

    It's simultaneously a very fucked up, complex place but not considered it any worse than some of the bible belt most of the time. And when I say most of the time I refer to attitudes and the way that religion is viewed. I encountered a lot of racism and bigotry, but as an atheist liberal expatriate I've seen that in many different forms in many different places. Most of the bigotry comes in small doeses that grind away your personality. It's just to the extent people go to and in this case it's gone to the Saudi/Sharjah way of inquire and lock up, never ask questions later. (I'm referring here to the practice of not being able to be around a male who isn't related to you. Most of the populace doesn't care about it, but some elements of the police do). Her case is the male-female double standard of sexuality taken to its extreme conclusion and I wish there was some way I could help her.

    We shouldn't forget however, that many people in a supposedly civilized western world still spout things that sometimes aren't too far off this (Stupack, laws governing contraception and discrimination).

    I'm just so annoyed that this has become fucking typical; this smacks of trying to set an example. It's bigoted in all forms. Hopefully, the publicity of this case will change the outcome, as unlike the majority of the region, the UAE (and to more of an extent Dubai) does care about the image it projects. There have been cases in the past that have been changed by publicity in the local papers; provided they aren't silenced...

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  5. I heard of a guy who stepped on a joint in Amsterdam (easy to do!) and then flew to Dubai. Customs found microscopic quantities of weed trodden into the cleats of his trainers, so he went to jail for possession. Those who think "zero tolerance" in the "war on drugs" is a good idea should reflect that this is what the doctrine seriously means. Take sensible human judgment calls out of the loop and that's how it goes.

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  6. Wow - what an article to wake up to. This is why one should make coffee prior to checking the blogroll and news feeds.

    @ Comrade Stokesi

    Thank you for your comments and p.o.v. Well written, and its good to be reminded that that things aren't all hunky dory on this side of the Atlantic either.

    It's good that they've achieved bail, but I hope that this couple has access to some sort of legal defense.

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  7. Joel Klinepeter - There are good and bad points in most places. I've met the bad ones in the gulf fairly hard and personally, and the great ones in amazing ways as well.

    Hugo Grinebiter - Eh, the guy you're talking about sounds like a bit of a fool. I wouldn't do that regardless of where I'm flying to (not a day before, surely?) nor would I get so drunk that I couldn't get on the flight. (I speak as someone who has a stash and a wine crate). There's international laws on drugs regardless of what airport you're in; if you think Dubai is bad for that stuff go to Singapore or Thailand. The test is for minute amounts because mules tend to hide it inside their body. It's a very knee jerk reaction to try and stop the UAE/Oman/Yemen having a huge drug trafficking problem from Afghanistan. It doesn't always work; it sometimes fails stupidly when the region is trying to prevent a huge drug based economy: http://www.canada.com/vancouversun/story.html?id=758d63f9-039d-4e9a-aa32-393082c6d56d&k=44804

    biodork: They probably won't get a decent legal defense within the country. If they're being tried on sharia based laws for Muslims (hugely discriminatory in a sense that there's cross over laws and some laws for them that only apply, they get completely fucked) they'll be tried in a sharia court or deported. If they're tried in an normal court, there's more chance the rapist will get convicted.

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  8. This is supposed to be one of the 'advanced' places over there. I forget which book I read it in, but...they have two dining areas. One is for 'families' and if you are a single woman, unaccompanied, then you are supposed to dine in that area because you are being indecent in some way. I can't believe that there are places so backwards in 2010, but there are. Have a nice weekend.

    Kriss

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  9. kriss the sexy atheist : Wut? O_o Could you cite that for me? Speaking as someone who lived there for nine years: I never encountered that. I could sit with whoever I wanted, regardless of gender/sex/race in restaurants or malls or in public. You get assholes occasionally that don't like it, but you get that anywhere. That sounds like Saudi or Sharjah, which is not the same place as Dubai. Think you may have the wrong country there. The municipality have a problem with 'bachelors', because there's so many single men on contract there. It's not such a problem now though.

    It is indeed backward, but for many different reasons. It's also trying to move forward, in the wrong ways in my opinion (which occasionally move it backward).

    (Considering this is a skeptical blog, I'm surprised about the lack of fact checking in these comments).

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  10. BBC World's Doha Debate tonight is on the motion, "This House believes that Dubai is a bad idea". One of the speakers for the motion, a woman, mentioned Jen's news item in passing. Then I turned off the TV and came to my iMac, because I cannot abide the BBC's Tim Sebastian.

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  11. @Comrade Skokesi: Don't quite understand your take, that it something the guy did deliberately ("a fool", you "wouldn't do that"); and where did the boarding-drunk bit come from? How well do you scrutinise the undersides of your shoes while flying. These days, start fiddling with the soles and someone will open fire....... If I'd trodden in someone's joint on the pavement, and they sniffed me and pulled me over, I would quite understand them searching me inside and out for the real stash. But then, having found nothing, they should let me go. I don't like an extension of "possession" to cover stuff I unknowingly stepped in. They say a lot of dollar bills have traces of cocaine on them; should you then go to jail for unknowingly possessing one? I bet the President, as we speak, has a banknote in his wallet with traces of cocaine on it. Someone snorted through it, and then it passed through several hands in change until it reached him. The Supremes likewise, and whoever keeps the Pope's money. There's no mens rea there.

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  12. This is simply horrifying, and I honestly don't know how to respond to it. As I was reading your post, just about the only thing to go through my mind was "oh, bugger".

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  13. Hugo Grinebiter: I've just seen you wrote 'stepped' and not smoked. Sorry, I'm a bit word blind.

    I think they profile people from certain countries as they go through for what they may consider 'suspects'. Did you read the article I linked to? If they did tread on a joint, it is unlucky, but they are completely hostile to anyone trafficking anything. I'd say it links about to the idea that ingesting anything harmful to your body as haraam more than 'War on Drugs'. I'm not trying to defend their methods, I've been worried I might be profiled. It's trying to set an example and security gone on a power trip.

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  14. Correction to Jen ... "never fucking go to Dubai unless you are white AND have a us/EU passport". The place effectively has a government mandated caste system.

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  15. Nah, Jen was right the first time, selfification. Never fucking go to Dubai, because tourist money funds this asshattery.

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  16. Perhaps "Never go fucking to Dubai" is more to the point. heh.
    This is why I'm not a fan of those Islamic states -- it's not Disney World out there, kids.

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  17. In re: "never fucking go to Dubai unless you are white AND have a us/EU passport"
    They'll frack you up no matter what your color or country of origin -- it's likely more a class thing where leniency is concerned, same as everywhere else, just less so. An American passport won't stop them.

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  18. There has been a new development on this case. The woman in question has been advised to drop the rape charges and marry her fiance immediately if she wishes to get out of jail - http://www.smh.com.au/world/woman-arrested-for-sex-outside-marriage-after-rape-complaint-hopes-on-hasty-wedding-20100111-m14y.html

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  19. its sad because you are too ignorant blaming this on Islam. Islam and Arab Culture are not the same thing. I think you should do some research to help you understand it more dont let your hate towards religion make you ignorant. that makes you the same as religous people who refuse to learn about atheism because of their hate towards it. There are half a billion muslim women out there do you really think they all will let themselves be subject to a religion that is so mysogonistic? Like most established religions Islam had been dominated by men who used relgion as an exucse to make their lives easier at the expense of womens rights. Only recently have women become more vocal towards their rights all over the world. However rape has always been a detested and unforgiveable crime in Islam. I feel sorry for the poor lady but think the ruling has very little do with Islam which doesnt condone rape. The woman was of British Pakistani origin. Dubai is notorious for treating its Pakistani and Filipino population as second class citizens. This may be the simple case of a racist law enforcement that didnt want the Arab waiter be jailed because of raping a Pakistani tourist and took advantage of loopholes to imprison the poor woman and prevent the real criminal of being charged.

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  20. Xena - don't blame it on the "Arabs". Perhaps you did not read about the New Year's police raids on hotels in Malasia - the sole reason was to arrest, charge, and convict unmarried couples celebrating New Years together. The arrested over 50 couples. And only Islamic couples because the raids were conducted under Sharia law.

    That's the so-called law of Islam - not Arabic law.

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  21. no i did not read about it. however I didnt say it was Arabic law. i was just trying to prove a point that law enforcement or any person of power often use religion as an excuse to maintain power and status quo in their favor. Realise that Dubai is fairly new, it was still a desert just over 50 years ago and still has built in traditions that the people arent willing to let go of easily. premarital sex is still frowned upon however the Quran doesnt prescribe the imprisonment of unmarried couples despite having 80% legalist content. the situation in Malaysia just proves my point. people use religon to maintain power in their favor. its harder to understand in the West as we just church and state have been seperate for a few centuries. Look at the witch hunts in previous centuries, religon was used as a way to oppress so called witches, even though there was no biblical punishment for sorcerers to be burned. but these witch hunters would take the biblical stance of religion (which doesnt approve of witchcraft) and turn into something bigger and worse. Religion isnt oppressive its people who make it that way. The simple act of believing or not believing in God is in no way oppressive. its just that when Church and State are intertwined the State will always use organised religion to oppress people and gain more power. Im sorry if I didnt come across clearly but I hope my gist of the argument is evident. Despite the hell and heaven afterlife the Abrahamic religions are quite peaceful and passive in their nature. but what about terrorists I hear you say? Well terrorists come in all forms and shapes. theres always a percentage of assholes everywhere. Modern terrorists often dont hold any allegiance to any country,but must belong to some group which is where religon comes in even though said religion despises hate and is openly against killing. for example In Islam there are specific rules against suicide yet there are many suicide bombers. Timoth McVeigh was a Christian. Christianity is against the killing of children yet he went and bombed a bunch of kindergardeners. Colonialists used the bible to justify their actions in taking over so called savage countries. The truth is when people dont have an excuse to justify bad things they are doing, deliberate misinterpretation of religious texts becomes a an answer especially when religion is a visible force within the politicial and social sphere.

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  22. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  23. Jt- by the way shariah law which is the culmination of mainly Arab Islamic Scholars from the 5th to 9th century. the laws are a reflection of Quranic Texts, Bedouin tribal traditions and the culture and society of the time it was written. The doors to itijihad which is independent judicial reasoning was closed in 9th century by some Islamic Scholars which is why many of the laws are outdated and irrelevant to modern culture. It is only recently that Islamic Scholars have allowed themselves to reinterpret Islamic texts for what they are. The main Islamic text the Quran can be seen as like a constitution. it can be interpreted in many ways whether you look at in a literal, legalist or activist point of view. Some people are opposed to any reinterpretation of Shariah law like the Malaysian people you mentioned. some are die hard fanatics who are more strict and conservative than even the founder Muhammad e.g the Saudi Arabian govt not allowing women to drive cars even though their own female ancestors in early Islam used horses and camels. Most muslims regardless of their race or color ( the ones we hardly hear about in the media but encounter day to day) are nice people who are just like you and me... normal and just want to live their lives out in peace with family and friends and are genuinely ashamed and embarrassed to share a religion with bigots like the ones mentioned in the posts.

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  24. It was either Dubai or the UAE where being in debt was illegal. As in "thrown in jail where you can't pay off your debts" illegal. Weird countries.

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  25. @CJ: Well, that was standard practice in Britain too. They had special prisons called "sponging-houses", from which you appealed to your friends and relations to come and extract you by paying said debts. Characters in "Vanity Fair" find themselves there.

    @Xena: I don't want to be a spelling nazi, but it's "ijtihad" not "itijihad". This is important because people might get the impression that it has something to do with "jihad". Etymologically, indeed, it shares the root, but that's all.

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  26. Xena does make very very sound observations on this matter.

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  27. We have all heard the stories about Arab men taking advantage of foreign men or women in their land. These are true stories of sexual assaults. So if you're planning to go to the middle east any time soon, it is best if you follow their dress code to prevent this kind of problem.

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