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MP’s outburst towards female deputy ‘needs to be addressed’, activists say

By Rana Husseini - Mar 19,2019 - Last updated at Mar 19,2019

AMMAN — Social media users and women’s rights activists on Tuesday voiced their outrage over what they described as “insulting and stereotypical” actions by a male MP against a female colleague during Monday’s Lower House session.

Social media users exchanged a video clip showing MP Yahya Saud (Amman, Second District) screaming and yelling at Tafileh MP Insaf Khawaldeh and finally dragging her by her arm and forcing her to sit down.

The video clip also showed several MPs trying to pull him away, but he pushed them and kept yelling at Khawaldeh during an emergency session on the Israeli assaults on Al Aqsa Mosque.

“What happened at the Lower House with MP Khawaldeh does not reflect the true manners of dealing with women under the Dome, and it needs to be addressed by the MPs themselves,” Jordanian National Commission for Women Salma Nims wrote on her Facebook page.

Meanwhile, Young Females Organisation to Empower Women Politically condemned “the physical violence that MP Saud exercised against MP Khawaldeh and we demand that he be referred to a disciplinary committee to be punished for his actions”.

However, MP Khawaldeh said she “did not feel insulted, since Deputy Saud is a dear colleague and we are in the same Lower House Palestine Committee”.

“MP Saud was only trying to convince me to stop arguing so that the session about the assault on Al Aqsa by Israel would continue without any interruptions,” Khawaldeh told The Jordan Times.

Khawaldeh added that Saud’s actions towards her stemmed from the fact that “they are united on many topics and he felt that he could come and ask me to stop talking and allow the session to continue so that he could also deliver his speech about this important topic related to Al Aqsa Mosque”.

The Tafileh MP concluded by saying that what happened was a misunderstanding because “MP Saud made similar gestures and actions with other male MPs during the session to ensure its continuity so that he could also state his opinion about the assault on Al Aqsa”.

Nevertheless, hundreds of people posted the video on their Facebook pages or retweeted it, with many voicing dismay and anger over Saud’s actions and describing it as an insult towards Khawaldeh and women in Jordan.

“The attack against MP Insaf Khawaldeh by MP Saud is a shameful act that is recorded in the history of this Lower House,” Rakan Khawaldeh Tweeted.

Haya Ahour wrote on her Facebook page: “MP Insaf how do you allow a male deputy to insult you in this ugly manner by dragging you and forcing you to be quite? Your passiveness about this situation is incomprehensible.” 

Sahar Aloul also criticised the incident on her Facebook page stating that this is a reminder that “we still live in a patriarchal society that oppresses the marginalised in our society, including women”.

“Regardless of the stories that appeared in media that he sat her down to keep her quite or to calm her down, no one has the right to force any woman to sit and be quite,” Aloul wrote.

Saud’s actions against female MPs are not new. In the previous Lower House, several media outlets carried a video clip that showed MP Saud shouting at MP Hind Al Fayez (Central Badia) who was addressing another deputy during a session.

“Sit down Hind, sit down... May God inflict revenge on whoever approved the [women’s] quota,” Saud shouted, as previously reported by The Jordan Times.

Fayez, who won her seat through the women’s quota, continued to defend Arab nationalist parties while ignoring Saud’s pleas to allow him to speak.

Saud used religious quotes that suggested women should pray at home instead of the mosque, which many activists said was meant to insinuate “that women should stay at home and take care of children”.

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