Buried at the bottom of this Arab News article about the girls’ school fire in Mecca (which is mostly devoted to making a scapegoat of the Presidency of Girls’ Education) is an uncharacteristic bit of self-examination that somehow got past the censors: School tragedy should sound alarm bells.
Why does the presidency continue to issue orders that the male gatekeeper for girls’ schools be over 40 years of age? Most such male gatekeepers that I have seen are in their 50s or 60s and in most cases illiterate and unaware of emergency regulations. Of course, the usual answer is that if the male gatekeeper were younger, he might take a sexual interest in the girls or female teachers inside.
Isn’t it about time our society got over these silly hang-ups?
According to Al-Eqtisadiah, an investigation is being made by the police as to why members of the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice prevented fire-fighters from entering the building because some of the girls who were coming out of the building after the gate was finally opened were not wearing their abayas. The firefighters told police that they had seen these men, who claimed to be from the commission, beating the girls themselves with sticks.
If this proves to be true, then God have mercy on us!
In a life and death situation, can it really be true that the commission’s men were only concerned with the possibility of men seeing girls without abayas!