Lighting a candle

Saudi Arabia’s ‘Rosa Parks’ faces torrent of abuse over Twitter

Nawal al-Hawsawi

Nawal al-Hawsawi, a black Saudi Arabian marriage therapist with a pilot’s license and a white husband, has been facing a deluge of racist abuse and harassment from internet trolls in response to her efforts to promote racial diversity and marriage equality over Twitter. Al-Hawsawi became famous in the country after she was verbally attacked by another woman who called her the A-word, an Arabic racial slur with the meaning of “slave.” Al-Hawsawi took the woman to court before receiving an apology and dropping the case. The story made national headlines, and al-Hawsawi was dubbed the “Rosa Parks” of Saudi Arabia by the country’s media. She used the coverage to begin an anti-racism campaign on her Twitter, amassing almost 50,000 followers. But she also drew the ire of internet trolls, whom she believes are mostly far-right conservatives based in Saudi Arabia.

“I represent everything that they hate, everything that they stand against. I’m a Saudi woman who married a foreigner. They’re anti-American. My husband is white, I’m black. They condemn interracial marriages. They say women shouldn’t have jobs, so to see a woman who can’t just drive a car but has a pilot’s licence is unacceptable,” says al-Hawsawi. She has sent a collection of the abusive messages to the ministry of the interior, but attempts to track down the abusers have thus far proved fruitless.

Read the full story at BBC News.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *