That a nine year old girl could be brutally murdered by a parent, (regardless of how sick and disturbing it is) cannot be considered a new phenomenon. The fact that it took place in Saudi Arabia is also of little significance as well, since Filicide (the murder of one’s own children, in this case by her father) takes place all over the world and for a number of different reasons.
The reason I draw attention to this case, is that the laws of Saudi Arabia (guided by Islamic law) demands that the mother relinquish custody of the child to the father after the seventh birthday. Regardless of the fact that the father’s physically violent behavior towards his former wife resulted in their divorce, he was given custody of their child. According to the article the mother was denied visiting rights by her former husband “with impunity”.
The most telling aspect of the whole article is this ” Reports of child abuse cases have been increasing in the media during the past few years, revealing the shortage or even outright lack of laws and procedures that protect children from their abusers.” “A major problem is that the rights of the parents are granted priority over the rights of the child. The father, who is more often the perpetrator of domestic abuse, is also favored under the current system in accordance with social norms. Intervention by authorities is virtually nonexistent. Police do not have the authority to enter homes and bring abused children under public protection. A legal guardian’s permission is required to medically treat children, and, according to law, wives cannot report domestic abuse by husbands to the police.” Read more.
All of this leads of course to the next obvious observation. If the male head of the household is afforded the ultimate consideration and supreme status under Islamic Saudi law, (based on the Quran) and there needs to be a change in Saudi state laws that would safeguard children from violent parents, then there needs to be change in the interpretation of the Quran itself. No better place to start than in the ‘Kingdom’, the seat of Islam. KGS