Writing in the Arabic daily Eqtisadiah, here translated by Arab News, Turki Al-Dakheel notes with dismay how badly many Saudis treat their housemaids. Rather than a functional part of the household, he argues, too many see them as mere accessories, things to which women can point to show that they’re up there somewhere on the social scale. Their treatment is utterly improper, against human rights, and against Islamic norms he says. The way they are treated isn’t even in line with Bedouin ethics.
He point out, too, that many Saudis are confused about what is traditional practice and what is called for by Islam. He’d like to see the cruelty stopped.
Turki Al-Dakheel — Eqtisadiah
DO we consider the housemaid to be a human being? Or is she just a machine like a washing machine and a refrigerator? Some of us, because of excessive laziness and a disdain of doing what we consider easy jobs, cannot do without a housemaid even if there are no children in the house.
The housemaid in this case will be used as something to brag about. She will drag herself behind the husband and wife carrying the shopping bags. This has become the typical picture of a Saudi family, whether large or small. Ostentatiousness is a disease eating away at our society. The main purpose of hiring a housemaid is so the wife can boast of having a servant who blindly obeys her orders.
The poor housemaid may not be paid her salary for months. Her passport will be locked away from her. She will be forced to sleep in a room even dogs would shy from. She may constantly lose her precious things.
Is this not a frightening brutality? The bad treatment of housemaids is totally against human rights and international norms.