Ensaf Haidar

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Ensaf Haidar
إنصاف حيدر
Ensaf Haidar.png
Ensaf Haidar in 2015
Born1985 (age 33–34)
ResidenceSherbrooke, Quebec, Canada
NationalitySaudi Arabia Saudi
Canada Canadian
OccupationHuman rights activist
Raif Badawi (m. 2002)
ChildrenNajwa bint Raif bin Muhammad Badawi

Doudi "Tirad" bin Raif bin Muhammad Badawi

Maryam bint Raif bin Muhammad Badawi
RelativesSamar Badawi (Sister in Law) Waleed Abulkhair (Brother in Law)

Ensaf Haidar (Arabic: إنصاف حيدر‎; born 1985) is a Saudi Arabia-born Canadian human rights activist. Born in Jizan, Saudi Arabia, Haidar is the wife of Raif Badawi,[1] and actively campaigns for his freedom. Haidaris the President of the Raif Badawi Foundation for Freedom, that actively campaigns for freedom of speech and human rights awareness in the Arab World.[2]

Personal life[edit]

Haidar married Badawi in Saudi Arabia in 2002 and became active on his case this after directing harsh criticism against the religious establishment through articles and media interviews, which angered radical Saudi clerics, including Abdul-Rahman al-Barrak, Saudi religious scholar, and former member of the teaching body of Imam Muhammad ibn Saud Islamic University.

After a fatwa was issued against her husband, Haidar fled with her children to Egypt, living with an acquaintance of her husband, with assistance from his colleague Souad al Shammari. Haidar then moved to Lebanon and lived in a predominantly Christian neighborhood. Following her husband's arrest, Haidar filed for asylum and was accepted by Canada to avoid her father-in-law claiming custody of their children. Haidar and her children subsequently moved to Canada and settled in Sherbrooke, Quebec. Haidar disagrees with her husband about Saudi Arabia, especially regarding patriotism, as Haidar stated that Badawi could not and will not move overseas because he loves and has remained patriotic to Saudi Arabia despite her husband's arrest, and Haidar stated that the only thing Haidar misses from Saudi Arabia is her husband and Haidar and her children became Canadian citizens in 2018.

Haidar's native language is Arabic, her preferred language of public speaking, but Haidar is additionally conversational in English and French. Haidar uses the former as her primary language in social media with the latter as a secondary language for communication with the Québécois and for occasional speeches in France, Belgium, Luxembourg, and Switzerland.

Arrest of Raif Badawi[edit]

"The Saudi people rejected their liberal ideas and they were agents of the embassies. Then the voices calling for Raif's arrest and trial escalated, and the Saudi authorities arrested him on the order of the investigative body on June 12, 2012."[citation needed]

Haidar noted that Saudi cleric Abdul-Rahman al-Barrak issued a fatwa against Badawi, accusing him of apostasy and incited the population to kill him. However, Badawi was confirmed to be a Muslim after reciting the Shahada. He was arrested on June 12, 2012. Haidar left Saudi Arabia with her children as soon as the fatwa was issued for her husband, months before his arrest. Badawi stayed behind, according to Haidar because he loved and was patriotic to Saudi Arabia. Immediately after his arrest, Haidar traveled to Sherbrooke, Canada, where Haidar lives with her children to this very day. Haidar stated, "I was afraid for my life and the lives of my children, We moved to Lebanon, and then we moved to Canada immediately after his arrest, where we got a permit to establish a temporary residence".[3]


Haidar agrees with her husband about the need to abolish the Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice, commonly known as the Mutawwa. International bodies and human rights organizations demanded the release of Raif Badawi immediately out of respect for freedom of opinion. According to Haidar, Muhammad Badawi, Raif's father, said in a number of media interviews that "his son is an atheist, demanding that he be punished on the air", although Raif recited the Shahada in court to disprove any claims of himself being an atheist and prior to this he has made Umrah with their three children.

In 2015, Haidar accepted, on her husband's behalf, the Sakharov Prize for human rights awarded by the European Parliament.[4]

In 2016 Haidar asked the Canadian government under Justin Trudeau to grant Canadian citizenship to her husband, but Trudeau rejected the suggestion, on the grounds that dual nationality is not recognized by Saudi Arabia, albeit Trudeau called for the release of her husband at the 2018 G20 Summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina.[5]

Haidar holds a protest every Friday during Jumu'ah in front of Sherbrooke City Hall.

Awards and Honors[edit]


Haidar and her three children with Badawi became Canadian citizens on Canada Day, 2018.[12] On the same day Haidar called for the niqab to be banned.[12][13]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Jailed Saudi blogger Raif Badawi wins Pen Pinter prize". 6 October 2015. Retrieved 5 May 2016.
  2. ^ "The Raif Badawi Foundation for Freedom". The Raif Badawi Foundation. Retrieved 2016-03-31.
  3. ^ "Raif Badawi : Dreaming of freedom. A documentary graphic novel". ici.radio-canada.ca (in French). Retrieved 2018-11-15.
  4. ^ "Sakharov Prize award ceremony: 'Raif Badawi was brave enough to say no to their barbarity'". 16 December 2015. Retrieved 10 February 2019.
  5. ^ Nadeau, Jacynthe (22 January 2016). "Pas de citoyenneté canadienne pour Raif Badawi". La Tribune. Retrieved 10 February 2019.
  6. ^ "Ensaf Haidar, Raif Badawi and Waleed Abulkhair awarded Freethinker Prize 2015". Freethinkers Association of Switzerland. 15 October 2015. Retrieved March 27, 2018.
  7. ^ "À LA DÉFENSE DE LA LIBERTÉ D'EXPRESSION". 14 March 2016. Retrieved March 27, 2018.
  8. ^ "Raif Badawi and Ensaf Haidar receive the Deschner Prize". 14 March 2016. Retrieved March 27, 2018.
  9. ^ "Goldene Victoria: Rede von Ensaf Haidar bei der Publishers' Night". 10 November 2017. Retrieved March 27, 2018.
  10. ^ "Henry Zumach Freedom From Religious Fundamentalism Award". 2 November 2018. Retrieved November 1, 2018.
  11. ^ "Remise des Prix de la Laïcité le 6 novembre 2018". laicite. 6 November 2018.
  12. ^ a b "Wife of jailed Saudi blogger Raif Badawi calls for burqa ban in Ontario". July 2018.
  13. ^ "Ensaf Haidar: Ban The Burqa - The Post Millennial". www.thepostmillennial.com.