American Activist, Aishah Schwartz on Tunisia's Revolution

We must stand in solidarity with the Tunisian people, who, in choosing to rise above 23-years of repression, share a glorious victory in delivering their oppressor to Saudi Arabia; the cradle of the religion of the people he sought to stifle.
By: Aishah Schwartz
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Jan. 16, 2011 - PRLog -- WASHINGTON, D.C. – When 26-year-old Tunisian Mohamed Bouazizi lost hope in the future and set himself on fire on December 17, no one expected it would be the undoing of the 23-year-long rule of Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali, 74, but the world's attention is now riveted on a revolution renewing hope for the 10.4 million beleaguered citizens of Tunisia.

‎"I believe as Muslims we must stand in solidarity with the Tunisian people, who, in choosing to rise above 23-years of repression, share a glorious victory in delivering their oppressor to Saudi Arabia; the cradle of the religion of the people he sought to stifle," stated American Activist, Aishah Schwartz.

Schwartz added, "May Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali find in the Creator of the land into which he has sought refuge, the mercy he withheld from the citizens of Tunisia, and may Allah (swt) facilitate the country's recovery with ease, insha'Allah."

Regarding Saudi history of offering sanctuary to indisposed leaders, Schwartz continued: "As Muslims we believe Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala to be Most Gracious, Most Merciful and Oft-Forgiving, insha'Allah, and, that we should wish for others what we wish for ourselves. Therefore, if, insha'Allah, even one of those indisposed leaders were to repent and turn to Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala, perhaps it will also make a difference on the Day of Judgment for the harm Saudi leadership has also oft-times brought to the religion of Islam through its own errant leadership; or, at times, lack thereof. That said, I do, however, recognize that Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud has been diligent in striving to bring positive change and reform throughout his reign, and we must pray that his efforts continue to be facilitated, insha'Allah.

"Muslims, Saudi or otherwise, have a moral obligation and duty to stand in correction of themselves if they fear Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala and the Day of Judgment," concluded Schwartz.

Sunday's Washington Post reported that, as the ousted Ben Ali flew into exile in Saudi Arabia on Saturday, the Saudi government issued a statement seemingly designed to forestall unwelcome comparisons between the new guest and the ruling Saudi monarchy.

"The government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia announces that it stands fully behind the Tunisian people," it said.

A sentiment news reports indicate seems to be resonating across the Arab world and beyond, was offered by Rami Khouri of the American University of Beirut, "Tunis today may well go down in history as the Arab equivalent of the Solidarity movement in the Gdansk shipyard in Poland in 1980 that sparked wider protests that, a decade later, ultimately led to the collapse of the Soviet Union and its empire."

After toppling his predecessor, Habib Bourguiba, in November 1987, Ben Ali scrapped the former's title of "president for life", limiting the number of presidential terms to three, but later consolidated his rule by muzzling the opposition, keeping strong control of the media and armed forces and gradually re-extending the number of terms allowed to the presidency under the constitution.

Selim Ben Hassen, the Paris-based president of the Byrsa citizens movement credits Facebook for spreading word of the unrest and bolstering timid citizens to break their traditional code of silence, "The psychological barrier of fear has fallen," Ben Hassen said. "People now know it's possible to go into the streets, cry 'Freedom!' and say 'We don't want a president for life."'

Aishah on the women's rights movement in Saudi Arabia:
Aishah on Gaza:

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Established in 2006, MWA is an internationally-based collaboration of Muslim women writers and advocates working together to counter negative and inaccurate perceptions regarding members of the Muslim community and the Islamic faith.
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