After ‘racist’ slur, Saudi female pilot vows to fight back

The pilot is also launching a campaign to raise awareness on racism

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A Saudi female pilot has vowed to fight back after saying she was the victim of a racist attack, in which she was called a "slave" by another woman.

Nawal al-Husawi, a Saudi national, is now embroiled in a legal battle after the woman called her “abda,” a derogatory term meaning “slave” in Arabic, which traces back to the ancient slave trade which ran through the region.


Enraged, she registered her case in a police station, and hired lawyers to represent her in court.

“I have complete confidence in the judicial system and in fairness of the courts,” she told Al Arabiya News.

Racism is a criminal offense in Saudi Arabia.

Husawi has also started an anti-racist campaign on social media, using the word "abda" as a hashtag to raise awareness about alleged racism in the kingdom.

“I started a series of tweets to shed the light on racism,” said Husawi. “I wanted to make use of the incident by increasing awareness about the issue and turn the insult from a negative occurrence to a positive one,” she added.

A human problem

She is currently in the process of forming a non-profit organization called “Adam Foundation” to raise awareness against racisim.

“Racism is a human problem and not related to any nationality,” she said. “Saudi Arabia is like any other country; it is not free of people who are racist.”

She also blamed media outlets for fuelling racist sentiments, saying that they portray people of African descent negatively.

Hailing from the kingdom's western region of Hijaz, Husawi is married to a white American.

“Hijaz has many cultures and races, and marrying a non-Saudi is widespread, even preferred by some people.”


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