Saudi Arabian women's rights activist Wajeeha Alhuwaider has called for the political leadership in the country to abolish rules granting male authority over women, said Al Jazeera's website, which stressed the controversy that the request has created. Alhuwaider's requests were directed to the Saudi leaders, with a comments made in an American newspaper. Another request by the same activist, directed at American President Barak Obama, before meeting with the Saudi monarch in June, contributed to firing up the debate. In the most recent request, the Saudi activist described women in her country who are forced to cover their body as birds covered by the oil in the Gulf of Mexico. These birds can barely walk and consequently, continued Alhuwaider, they do not have control over their lives. A different stance was taken by Islamic activist and journalist Amira Salem, who believes that Alhuwaider's and America's requests are two sides of the same coin. Speaking with Al Jazeera, Amira Salem said that ''the requests are an extension of the American strategy that is focussed on the rights of Saudi women. Riyadh is under constant pressure from the Americans,'' continued Salem, ''to implement reforms starting with women''. ''There is an enormous project of Westernisation, based on the issue of Saudi women,'' commented Islamic writer Ibraheem Assakran, who added that they are strongly insisting to put an end to Sharia law regarding women, which are in conflict with the West. ''They want,'' added Assakran, ''women and men to see each other and become friends like in the West.'' (ANSAmed).

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