Saudi Arabia, an ally of the U.S., is staunchly guided by Islamic Sharia law.
Last week, President Barack Obama, while speaking at a mosque, praised Islam, encouraged Hollywood to use Muslim actors and lauded the supposed contributions of Islam to this country’s history. But in Saudi Arabia, women know all too well how Islam makes their lives rather difficult (to put it mildly), even when simply getting a cup of Starbucks coffee.
In one Starbucks coffee shop in Saudi Arabia, women are no longer allowed to enter. That’s because the partition separating women from men fell down. According to one source, all the Starbucks outlets in Saudi Arabia must create separate entrances and sitting areas by gender.
The Saudi Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice banned women from entering a Starbucks location in Riyadh. A note was reportedly placed on the entrance for females; it reads, “Please no entry for Ladies. Only send your driver to order. Thank you.”
The note incensed some Saudi women, with many taking their complaints to social media. One Twitter user tweeted, “#Starbucks store in Riyadh refused 2 serve me just because I’m a WOMAN & asked me 2 send a man instead@Starbucks.”
A man named Mohammed tweeted, “Unreal. Starbucks in Saudi Arabia refused to serve women. Note on their door…”
— Manar N (@manarn8) February 1, 2016
Another user tweeted calling for a boycott of Starbucks: “If Starbucks bend over the non-respect of women’s rights, I will not be a customer! #BoycottStarbucks.”
Saudi Arabia is notorious for controlling and dominating women. They cannot go anywhere by themselves. They cannot drive. They cannot try on clothes while shopping. They cannot open their own bank account. They’re not allowed to go for a swim. They’re not allowed to have a male doctor without another male guardian present.
Human Rights Watch has documented Saudi Arabia’s violations against free speech, rights of women, and rights of protest.