(MENAFN - Arab News) Every country adopts a particular ideology to guide its political, social and economic policies as well as relationships between citizens, which ultimately serves as a guide to the direction of the entire country. Without an ideology, a country has no direction.
Ideology varies from one country to another. There is capitalism, communism, nationalism or Islamic ideology. Saudi Arabia has chosen Islam as its collective ideology that makes the basis of its domestic and international policies
. The participation of Wojdan Ali Seraj Shaherkani and Sarah Attar in the London Olympics as the first Saudi female athletes to take part in this international event is newsworthy. International media, especially Western outlets covered their participation in the event. Reports and analyses in the international press and television channels put Saudi Arabia's society under scrutiny with respect to Saudis' understanding of Islam and their practices.
The international media coverage of the Saudi female athletes, specifically Wojdan, reflected the West's dreadful and negative perception about our thinking, practices and worldview and their consequences on the future of Saudi Arabia.
The international press reported that most Saudis are against Saudi females' participation in the Olympics on two grounds: Their participation defies Islamic teachings, and it is against cultural traditions. However, there is a minority view that neither sees women participation as being against Islam or traditions. Those views are healthy in normal societies.
However, the majority's arguments that support their views were not in line with Islamic and social values. Though the majority's views can be defended without offending anyone, which I did in a previous article, some chose to engage in accusations and slanders both of which are un-Islamic. It shows the religious and moral bankruptcy of those who use religion for argument's sake.
In fact, usage of such indecent words may show our degree of adherence to Islamic teachings and the social values of the Saudi society. While Islam considers all humans to be brothers and calls for equality among all people without any discrimination on the basis on ethnicity, color or religion, the actual practices of some Saudis are not consistent with Islamic teachings.
Moreover, the views held by the minority who did not object to women's participation in the Olympics, shows they have an entirely different interpretation and understanding of Islam, and consequently this points to a totally different lifestyle led by some Saudis.
Furthermore, the use of offensive words in the arguments have shown that Saudi society is somewhat based on ethnicity, dividing it into two groups - Saudis and not-too-Saudis.
Saudi society comprises hundreds of tribes. Each has its own understanding and social positioning in relation to other tribes, which is the characteristic that gives each tribe a unique ethnicity, distinctly different from another.
Also, there are Saudis who don't belong to any specific tribe. As a result, the arguments on the issue might construe that Saudi society is not united, and this very idea of an ethnic-based society can be disastrous.
Additionally, the type of relationship each one of us has with another fellow Saudi speaks about our civility and especially so when it is toward women. Those words used to attack Saudi female athletes, particularly Wojdan, are reprehensible by any standard and will be condemned by any society. Females are sensitive and the use of awful words against a 16-year-old girl is psychologically devastating.
Islam is a great religion and the improper use of its teachings in arguments and practices results in a negative perception about it and can threaten the unity of the Saudi society. Ultimately, those who defame Islam through words and deeds and threaten the harmony of the society must be punished according to Islamic laws.
n This is the first article of a two-part series. It is exclusive to Arab News. Dr. Abdulrahman Al-Zuhayyan is a Saudi