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Arab Governments Attack Web Sites
Saudi Arabia: Threats against the Web site Modern Discussion
Egypt: Blocking

5 march 2006

Cairo, 5 March 2006 - The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information(HRinfo)announced today its concern and condemnation of attacks against freedom of expression committed by Arab governments by blocking Web sites calling for freedom of thought and expression.

In less than a week, the Egyptian Web site has been blocked in Egypt. In addition, the famous Web site of Modern Discussion,, has been facing threats of being sued by a Saudi businessman. The Saudi businessman has threatened to sue three Web sites, Modern Discussion, Elaph, and Dar Alnadwa, under claims that these Web sites write in an unacceptable manner on Muslims.

The threats come at a time when these Web sites are actually blocked in several countries. The Modern Discussion Web site, however, is the most blocked Web site, as it is blocked in Saudi Arabia, the Emirates, and Tunisia. This is because the Web site hosts the writings of many Arab writers and journalists who have found in it a space for freedom of expression, especially in defence of secularism, women's rights, campaigning against capital punishment, and defending other journalists and writers.

"Most Arab governments largely oppress freedom of press and expression," HRinfo Program Coordinator, Sally Sami, said. "Now that the Internet has provided a venue for liberties, Arab governments are seeking to restrict its space by blocking Web sites and terrorising Internet writers and users," she added.

It is worth noting that the Tunisian government, for example, was the fastest to block a Web site. The Tunisian government blocked 18 hours after it was launched. It should be noted that the Tunisian government is infamous for blocking many human rights and political Websites.

In Egypt, security authorities have recently been blocking Web sites calling for reform, such as the Save Egypt Front, and Masreyat, in addition to its continuous blocking of the Web sites of the Al-Shaab newspaper and the Al-Amal (labour) party.

The Saudi government, on the other hand, is not satisfied with daily blocking of nearly 200 Web sites. Religious scholars and businessmen affiliated to the Saudi government are starting to launch campaigns against the freedom to use the Internet and the freedom of information exchange.

Religious scholars have issued a fatwa prohibiting women from using the Internet without the presence of a mahram (a close relative they are prohibited to marry). This was followed by a call from Saudi businessmen to sue Web sites that call for freedom of thought and secularism, such as the aforementioned Web sites.

"Amongst the Arab governments violating freedom of expression and exchange of information, we find that the most aggressive are those of Tunisia, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt," Sami said. "Such behaviour breaches the right of citizens to acquire information and news and deprives them of a variety of sources of information," she added.


And please tell me that the part on banning women from surfing the net on their own is a sad sad joke please :(


Um Naief said...

I feel the same about the Saudi women and hope it's a joke. Unbelievable really. Can you imagine having to be supervised in such a way?! If this is true, I wonder if there's ever a time when these women feel like they have to 'break free'. I mean, in the States, the daughters of preachers are usually the wildest because they've been held back for so long and not allowed to do things so a lot of them will go a bit crazy when they get into high school or college... but these Saudi women aren't afforded that same freedom. I really hope that this is a lie/joke because the net is the only tool that many of them have to "go crazy", if they want, or to allow their spirits to break free.

SillyBahrainiGirl said...

Mike.. of course we have censorship issues.. Not as much as in the US.. but we still do!!

sume said...

SBG, they issued another fatwah or is this a repeat of the last one?

AbuRasool said...

SBG! This is just to tell you that this is not a tunnle. That is why!AbuRasool

SillyBahrainiGirl said...

No idea .. but the whole fatwa issue is anything but hilarious. I am sure it is a joke. Imagine having to take your father's or husband's permission everytime you surf the net!!

Dr Khalaf,
Yeah.. It isn't a tunnel.. Is an abyss a more befitting description?

Um Naief said...

Jack.alarmstrong said: "Question: What happens when a Shwilly Shawarma-lovin' Saudi Girl gets fast tracked a visa and ends up the roomate of the preachers' daughter at some university???"

My answer: You both prob become strippers! or folk singers who take off your clothes to gain worldwide recognition. Just like bin laden's niece.

Cerebralwaste said...


That sounds like the making of a great novel to be followed by a even better movie. Kind of a new twist on Thelma and Louise. The two go on a national "Strip Club" tour around the states playing to PACKED crowds of extra horny men! I say start writing NOW!

Cerebralwaste said...


If your looking for a novel to write this could be it!

Haitham Salman said...

I actually happen to read this Fatwa or more correctly "Faswa"

«أصدر الشيخان السعوديان عثمان الخميس وسعد الغامدي، فتوى تحرم الانترنت على المرأة،"

and to add insult to injury
«بسبب خبث طويتها». وأضافت الفتوى «لا يجوز للمرأة فتح الانترنت، إلا بحضور محرم مدرك لعهر المرأة ومكرها»!

So it is not enough to have "mohram" but it has to be a "mohram" who is an expert in the deceptive and sexually corrupt nature of the women!
I am just speachless!


Um Naief said...

Just read at that Dufour is going to star in her own reality TV series! It'll be based on her life. Aaaaahhhhh, that 5 mins. of fame is almost up... so now she's grabbing the horse by its saddles.... or maybe she already has! ;) Somebody please shoot me.

Bravecat said...

Overall, degrading and debilitating. Seek my husband's permission to use internet? Gosh luckily I am not a Saudi Muslim girl!!

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