A court in Dubai has sentenced a young Norwegian woman, Marte Deborah Dalelv, to 16 months in jail after she brought charges of rape against a colleague. Dismissing her allegations, the court saw fit instead to find her guilty of drinking alcohol and wanting the sex that she alleged was forced upon her. Meanwhile she was fired by her Qatar-born employer, the interior designer Wissam al Mana, who is otherwise known as Janet Jackson’s latest husband. (See postscript below for a statement from al Mana’s company.)Interesting that they're willing to imply that Islam is "conservative", and if I know Forbes' potential stances right, they're the kind of leftists who'd otherwise consider other forms of conservatism filthy, with Islam being the sole exception. Just as interesting is the revelation that Dubai's got a gender imbalance to compete with China's.
The circumstances are complicated but, from listening to an interview Dalelv has given to Ritula Shah of the BBC’s World Service, I haven’t the slightest doubt she is the victim of a grotesque miscarriage of justice: not only is she telling the truth but the Dubai court knows it. Her colleague, probably a local man though he seems not to have been named in English-language accounts, is the real guilty party. I have so far failed to find a link to the BBC podcast but will update this commentary when I do. In the meantime this report at the BBC’s website will have to suffice. Here and here are some other useful links.
...Dubai’s official religion is Islam — and not a particularly liberal brand. This means that Westerners are tolerated only under sufferance. Western women in particular are not always welcome. This despite the fact that Dubai features one of the most disturbingly imbalanced male-female ratios in world history: in the overall population, males outnumber females more than three to one. The ratio for adults is probably even more imbalanced. The only foreign women who seem to be welcome are prostitutes, particularly Russian and Indian ones. Other foreign women enter Dubai at their own risk and woe betide them if they rock the boat. The status of ordinary decent local women in Dubai is powerfully symbolized by the fact that wives can be beaten with impunity so long as no marks are left.
It's atrocious that the woman was victimized further by the courts, and I get the feeling her own government in Europe will turn their backs on her. I'm also ashamed of Janet Jackson for pairing up with that man who employed the woman, and don't buy a word of his defense for dismissing her.
Update: News Australia provides some information making clear why people from civilized societies should steer clear of Dubai altogether.