Friday, March 26, 2010

Saudi Arabian Female Poet Criticizes Hardline Clerics

Saudi Arabian female poet Hissa Hilal describes the country's hardline Muslim clerics as "vicious in voice, barbaric, angry and blind." She told the BBC's World Service, " '...Arab society [is] becoming more and more kept to itself, not like before--loving and caring and sharing and open and welcoming everyone.' "Hissa Hilal is competing for the title of best poet on a reality television show called Poet of Millions, which is broadcast across the Arab world from the capital of UAE, Abu Dhabi. Hilal's poetry has sparked death threats on Arab websites, with some outraged commentators claiming she is acting shamefully. But many more have expressed support for her poems, she says. 'Most of the people loved what I said, from their hearts. They think I am very brave--and that I said what they feel in their hearts.'"

Creating Shamsiyah - Empowering the Saudi Feminist MovementDesert Voices: Bedouin Women's Poetry in Saudi Arabia (Library of Modern Middle East Studies)

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