A Powerful Arab Man who’s a Feminist–Yay

I believe I have found a feminist Kuwaiti politician. He’s Ali Ahmed Al-Baghli, a former Member of Parliament and Minister of Oil. He wrote this opinion piece in the Kuwait online newspaper Arab Times Online.

This is the entire text:

OUR brothers in the Salafist Movement — in all their seven branches — stonewall the opinions of others and criticize their views, even though they are just ideas and opinions. They always admire their own ideology while at the same time do not respect the ideologies of others and their beliefs in Islam. Are our Salafist brothers the only ones who know the correct version of Islam? Do the rest follow heresy? They behave as if they are the only ones who belong to heaven and God. At a seminar attended by two Salafist activists and their supporters, after the failed grilling of Minister of Education and Minister of Higher Education Nuriya Al-Subaih by MP Dr Saad Ali Al-Shuraie, the public unveiled the enemies of women inside the Salafist Movement.

The minister was grilled in the name of reforms but actually it was an attack on the person of Al-Subaih because she is a woman, and the Salafists believe women are ‘incompetent and cannot lead’. They also believe if a woman leads a society it will not succeed. Such wrong beliefs have been shunned by many Muslim countries. We see women leading the Muslim world, we see Muslim women holding ministerial posts in several Muslim countries such as Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt, Lebanon, etc. Muslim states which have been led by women include Pakistan, Malaysia and Bangladesh. Can we say, these vast Muslim populations are wrong? Are the Salafists living in these countries wrong?

The Salafists tried their best to support the no-confidence motion against Al-Subaih in the Parliament and the sole reason is she is a woman and they simply don’t want her to play a the leadership role. Recently five women with the minimum of rank of minister visited Kuwait — two of these visitors are from Islamic countries. The five are US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Speaker of the Albanian Parliament — an European Muslim nation, the Malaysian Foreign Commercial Minister, the Cyprus Foreign Minister and the Tanzanian Minister of Parliamentary Affairs. These are all high-ranking female leaders from Muslim and non-Muslim countries. We ask those campaigning against women taking leadership posts in the Kuwait government to cut down on their attacks and look at the reality. They are an isolated group which cannot fight the world.

Seriously, that there are powerful men in Kuwait who think this way makes me very happy and optimistic.

Mr Al-Baghli doesn’t have a Wikipedia page, but this page here has a brief rundown of his career and credentials.

Assistant General Attorney in the Kuwait Judicial Courts.
Assistant Legal Advisor to the Kuwait National Petroleum Company.
Thereafter, he was elected Member of the Parliament of the Kuwait National Assembly. And it was in 1992 that Mr. Al-Baghli became the Minister of Oil of Kuwait.

And there’s more.

Also, what a nice online newspaper. It will be one of my favorites.

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Filed under arab, arabist, Salafism

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