Monday, May 24, 2010

Nazia Quazi Released from Saudi Arabia

A Canadian student held captive for three years in Saudi Arabia under the kingdom's controversial ''guardianship'' laws has been allowed to leave and marry her fiance after she issued a desperate online plea for help.

In a story that gripped newspaper readers on two continents, Nazia Quazi - a Canadian of Indian Muslim origin - fell in love with a fellow student, Bjorn Singhal, who was born to a partly Hindu family.

To prevent them marrying, her father used his power under the Saudi legal code to stop her leaving the country after she went on a visit. But following a campaign by supporters in Canada that was taken up by the media there and even in Saudi newspapers, he has now relented. He allowed the marriage to take place in Dubai last Tuesday.

''I still can't believe it,'' Ms Quazi, 24, told reporters after the wedding. ''I keep pinching myself and I keep pinching him.''

Despite attempts to reform the system by the current monarch, King Abdullah, Saudi Arabia still has the most conservative attitudes towards women of any country in the world.

All women, even the growing number of high-powered business executives, must conform to the wishes of their nearest male relative, usually a husband, father or brother, for all practical aspects of life. Read More.

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