|Hatoon Ajwad al-Fassi
هتون أجواد الفاسي
Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
Dr. Hatoon Ajwad al-Fassi (هتون أجواد الفاسي) is a women's rights activist and an assistant professor of women's history at King Saud University in Saudi Arabia, where she has been employed since 1989. At the university, al-Fassi carries out historical research. Al-Fassi claims from her research into the pre-Islamic Arabian kingdom of Nabataea that women in the kingdom had more independence than women in modern Saudi Arabia. Al-Fassi was active in women's right to vote campaigns for the 2005 Saudi Arabian municipal elections and is active in a similar campaign for the 2011 municipal elections.
- 1 Family origin
- 2 Education and academic career
- 3 Women's rights activities
- 4 Media
- 5 References
- 6 External links
Hatoon al-Fassi is a member of the traditional Sufi Al-Fassi family from Makkah, that descends from the Sharifi house of Muhammad that belongs to the Hassani Idrissi branch of this line. Through her father Sheikh Ajwad al-Fassi and his father Sheikh Abdullah al-Fassi, she is a great-great-grand-daughter of Qutbul Ujood Hazrat Muhammad al-Fassi (Imam Fassi), the founder and spiritual head of the Fassiyah branch of the Shadhiliyya Sufi order, the twenty-first Khalifa (representative) of Imam Shadhili. She is thus a direct descendant of the Islamic prophet Muhammad. Her mother is Sheikha Samira Hamed Dakheel, who belongs to the branch of the Hijazi tribe of Harb that resided in Jeddah. She has a brother, Sheikh Muhammad Ajwad al-Fassi, a lawyer and a sister, Hawazan Ajwad al-Fassi, a poet.
Education and academic career
Al-Fassi was raised in a family that encouraged her to think independently of school and media ideas about women's rights. She obtained undergraduate degrees in history in 1986 and 1992 from King Saud University (KSU) and a PhD in ancient women's history from the University of Manchester in 2000.
Al-Fassi has been employed at KSU since 1989, with lecturer status as a KSU faculty member since 1992, carrying out historical research into women's history. She has not been allowed to teach at KSU since 2001. Since 2008, she has had the status of an assistant professor of women's history at KSU.
Women in Pre-Islamic Arabia: Nabataea
In 2007, al-Fassi published her research into the status of women in the pre-Islamic Arabian kingdom of Nabataea as the book Women in Pre-Islamic Arabia: Nabataea. Some of the evidence she used included coins and inscriptions on tombs and monuments written in ancient Greek and Semitic. She found that women were independent legal persons able to sign contracts in their own name, in contrast to women in modern Saudi Arabia, who require male guardians to sign contracts. Al-Fassi says that ancient Greek and Roman law gave less rights to women than they had in Nabataea, that "an adaptation of Greek and Roman laws was inserted in Islamic law", and that "it's an ancient adaptation, that [Islamic] scholar are not aware of, and they would be really shocked."
Al-Fassi also argues that Nabataea "has weakened the idea that Arabians were merely or essentially nomads, by having an Arabian urbanized state".
Women's rights activities
2005 municipal elections
Al-Fassi was active in organising would-be women candidates for the 2005 municipal elections. Election organisers did not allow women to participate, citing practical reasons. Al-Fassi felt that authorities giving a practical reason for non-participation of women rather than a religious reason constituted a success for women's campaigning, since arguing against practical objections is easier than arguing against religious objections.
Women's rights at mosques
2011 municipal elections
Since early 2011, al-Fassi has participated in the "Baladi" women's rights campaign, which called for women to be allowed to participate in the September 2011 municipal elections. She stated that women's participation in the 2011 election "would show that Saudi Arabia is serious about its claims of reform". She described the authorities' decision not to accept women's participation in the election was "an outrageous mistake that the kingdom is committing".
Al-Fassi stated that women had decided to create their own municipal councils in parallel to the men-only elections and that women creating their own municipal councils or participating in "real elections" were both legal under Saudi law. Electoral commission head al-Dahmash agreed.
In April, al-Fassi said that there was still time before the September election for women to be allowed to take part. She stated, "We are putting all the pressure that is in our power, bearing in mind that it is not that easy in a country such as Saudi Arabia where freedom of assembly is not allowed and civil society is not yet fully-fledged."
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Al-Fassi is a columnist for the Arabic language newspaper al-Riyadh. She has been featured and interviewed in many documentaries in major national, regional and international media on issues including Saudi women, history, archaeology, municipal elections. She was interviewed by local, Arab and International media, TV, Newspapers, News Agencies, Radio and Documentaries.
Al-Fassi has been interviewed on the following television stations.
- VPRO (Dutch)
- CNN Turk
- ERT (Greek)
- Saudi 1st Ch, 2nd Ch
- AlJazeera Arabic
- AlJazeera International
- Rotana Khalijiyah
- AlWatan (Kuwait)
- al-Thaqafia (Saudi Arabia)
Print media news papers
Al-Fassi has been interviewed in the following print media.
- New York Times
- Washington Post
- Los Angeles Times
- Christian Science Monitor
- Le Monde
- Le Monde Diplomatique
- Le Figaro
- Le Point
- The Guardian
- Financial Times
- Der Spiegel
- Ashahi Shimbun of Japan
- il manifesto
- el Periodico
- Corriere della Sera
- Afternposten (Norwegian)
- Arabian Business
- The National
- The Star (Malaysia)
- al-Ahram International
- Kul an-Naas
Al-Fassi has been interviewed by the following news agences.
- RTL have published her in various occasions.
Al-Fassi has been interviewed by the following radio networks.
- Radio de France
- France Inter
- BBC World Service
- BBC Arabic
- CNN National and International
- Irish Radio
- Canadian National Radio
- Monte Carlo
- Sawt al Arab from Cairo
- MBC FM
- Saudi Radio Arabic-English-French, Riyadh and Jeddah.
- al-Fassi, Hatoon Ajwad (October 2009). "Dr Hatoon Ajwad al-Fassi's CV - October 2009". King Saud University. Archived from the original on 2011-05-29. Retrieved 2011-05-29.
- al-Fassi, Hatoon Ajwad (2011). "Dr Hatoon Ajwad al-Fassi هتون أجواد الفاسي". King Saud University. Archived from the original on 2011-05-29. Retrieved 2011-05-29.
- "Interview Dr. Hatoon al-Fassi". PBS. 2004-12-10. Archived from the original on 2011-05-29. Retrieved 2011-05-29.
- Hammond, Andrew; Sara Ledwith (2008-04-30). "Saudi scholar finds ancient women's rights". Thomson Reuters. Archived from the original on 2011-05-29. Retrieved 2011-05-29.
- Abou-Alsamh, Rasheed (2004-12-02). "Saudi women cast a long shadow". Al Ahram. Archived from the original on 2011-05-29. Retrieved 2011-05-29.
- Abu-Nasr, Donna (2011-03-28). "Saudi Women Inspired by Fall of Mubarak Step Up Equality Demand". Bloomberg L.P. Archived from the original on 2011-04-02. Retrieved 2011-04-02.
- "Vote ban angers Saudi women in era of change". Al Arabiya. 2011-03-29. Archived from the original on 2011-05-29. Retrieved 2011-05-29.
- "In aim to start casting their votes Saudi women aim to create their own municipal council". Al Arabiya. March 2011. Archived from the original on 2011-04-02. Retrieved 2011-04-02.
- "Muslim dignitary to visit Sri Lanka". Daily News (Sri Lanka). 2004-01-03. Archived from the original on 2011-06-02. Retrieved 2011-06-02.
- al-Fassi, Hatoon Ajwad (2004-01-03). "The history of Al Fassiyyah and Shazuliya Tariqah". Daily News (Sri Lanka). Archived from the original on 2011-06-02. Retrieved 2011-06-02.
- "Fassy - The II Shazuli". Fassiyathush Shazuliya. 2011-06-02. Archived from the original on 2011-06-02. Retrieved 2011-06-02.
- Aboulola, Maha Sami (2010-02-28). "Story of Success - History inspires her to work for change". Saudi Gazette. Archived from the original on 2011-05-29. Retrieved 2011-05-29.
- al-Fassi, Hatoon (2007-07-15). Women in Pre-Islamic Arabia: Nabataea. British Archaeological Reports International Series. British Archaeological Reports. p. 129. ISBN 978-1-4073-0095-5.
- al-Fassi, Hatoon (2006-08-30). "The Rights of Women in the Grand Mosque". Arab News. Archived from the original on 2011-05-29. Retrieved 2011-05-29.
- "Voters register for Saudi municipal elections". Al Jazeera English. 2011-04-23. Archived from the original on 2011-04-25. Retrieved 2011-04-25.