After Dina Lasloom was kidnapped and put on a flight to Saudi Arabia, she hasn’t been heard from since
A deeply chilling story from the Philippines involving a Saudi women has cast light on the horrendous treatment of women in the gulf state.
Dina Ali Lasloom – a 24-year-old Saudi woman who feared that she would be killed if she return to Saudi Arabia – was recently abducted at Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila.
She was attempting to flee a forced marriage, and feared that her uncles were coming to kill her.
At the airport, she met Meagan Khan – who witnessed part of what happened.
Lasloom explained to Khan that she was trying to get to Australia because she wanted to be in a country where women have rights. She had a boarding pass, and a flight scheduled for boarding at 10:30 am.
As she attempted to board however, airport authorities took her passport. Then, a man saying he was from the Saudi embassy came by and grabbed Lasloom by the arm, but left after she made a scene.
After being told her flight was delayed, Lasloom tried getting help at the front desk, but nobody would help or listen to her.
Lasloom told Khan she was a teacher, and had secretly planned to get all the paperwork together to flee the oppressive conditions in Saudi Arabia. Lasloom explained that her life was in danger, and used Khan’s phone to call as many people as she could.
What happened next is chilling.
Abducted, bound, and put on a Saudi plane
As she feared, Lasloom’s uncles did come for her.
According to a Filipino airport official, around 5:15 pm, two airline officials from Saudi Arabia, and three men described as “apparently Middle Eastern,” entered the airport hotel, and abducted Lasloom.
Her hands and feet were duct-taped together, and her mouth was taped as well.
She was put in a wheelchair, and rolled onto a Saudia Airlines flight headed to Riyadh.
As reported by Reuters, passengers on the flight could hear Lasloom screaming for help from the front of the plane.
When Lasloom’s flight landed, a few female activists gathered at Riyadh airport, but could not see Lasloom. One of those activists has already been arrested and sent to prison.
Nobody has heard from Lasloom since.
A week later, Saudi Arabia joins the Commission on the Status of Women at the United Nations
Just a week after this horrific incident, the UN made the horrendous decision to put Saudi Arabia on the Status of Women Commission.
The decision caused worldwide anger and outrage towards the oppression of women in the country.
Disturbingly, Lasloom’s kidnapping was not illegal under Saudi law.
As Newsweek wrote, “The theocratic rationale for restricting women’s movement relates to a verse in the Koran that says men are the protectors and maintainers of women. Saudi Arabia’s Wahhabi-Salafi cult religion interprets that to mean women are literally captives of their men, and thus the country’s laws allow for forced marriages and even child marriages to older men.”
Also, “According to an explainer on the English-language Arab website AI Monitor, the religious cult’s 18th-century founder, Sheik Mohammed bin Abdul Wahhab (1703–1791), has been interpreted on the topic as literally denying women their personhood.”
And according to activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the Saudi government tacitly endorses “honour” killings and violence in instances such as Lasloom’s.
Clearly, her fear for her life was well-founded.
Global silence from world “leaders”
Our so-called “leaders” have been silent on Lasloom’s kidnapping, as they almost always are when Saudi Arabia’s horrible mistreatment of women gets brought up. And yet, those same leaders hypocritically think they can lecture their own populations about how we are supposed to act. Their silence robs them of any moral high-ground or credibility.
While those in power are being silent, many people around the world are speaking up.
The hashtag #SaveDinaAli has been spreading, and people are urged to share her story to spread the word. As long as our leaders take the path of cowardice, it is up to grassroots people who believe in freedom to speak out against barbarism.