After committing a horrible series of crimes against a teenager from Indonesia, Saudi national Homaidan Al-Turki was sentenced to 28 years in prison.
He has been in custody since 2006 and has come up for parole. Members of the Muslim community have rallied behind Al-Turki to push for his release.
They ignore the mistreatment and sexual assault of the woman he held captive for many years because Al-Turki is a family man.
The Muslim community is attempting to normalize the long term hostage situation as a part of their culture and a man’s right within their households.
Many of the followers from Colorado where this occurred have taken to social media to flood Twitter and other sites with postings that include pictures of the “family man” with his kids and the hashtag #AlTurkiParole.
Social media is overwhelmed with people asking for Al-Turki to be reunited with family.
Many posted to make it appear that he is the victim in this case and make no mention of the actual victim of his long-term sexual abuse.
Some examples include:
#AlTurkiParole O Allah!Lord of Power (And Rule),Thou givest power to whom Thou pleasest,and Thou strippest off power from whom Thou pleasest
— 永久 (@Bls_tring) May 16, 2017
While others point to a more realistic view of the case:
One of the scariest parts of the idea behind Al-Turki being seen as the victim, in this case, it was used by his defense team at one point.
As he faced a variety of charges tied to the mistreatment of a domestic housekeeper, Al-Turki did not let up on his idea that he did not commit a crime.
He based his defense on the fact that in his culture he had the right to take control of this woman and it should not be a criminal charge.
Some of the more extreme charges against Al-Turki included holding this young lady hostage and raping her many times over the course of her employment.
According to Al-Turki:
“The restrictions placed on her contact with non-relative males were also the same as those applicable to my daughters and other Muslim women in our community. You cannot ask somebody from a different religion to be American to the fullest. You cannot ask them to go dancing, go to the bars. We are Muslim. We are different. The state has criminalized these basic Muslim behaviors. Attacking traditional Muslim behaviors is a focal point of the prosecution.”
When one listens to the Al-Turki defense team and their supporters talk about the case, it seems like it is a cut and dry example of a misunderstanding.
This family man was not breaking the law, and he was following a devoted religious life.
Instead of being a case of a horrific crime, it was the local authorities using this man’s faith against him.
Turning Al-Turki into the victim of an overzealous American system leaves out some key details to what happened.
He was not merely protecting a female family member from outside influences to keep her pure in the eyes of his religion.
The victim, who the court called “Z.A”, was brought to America by Al-Turki as a young teen to work for his family.
Z.A. was held against her will. She was forced to work 12 plus hours a day for his family without pay. They later said it was a traditional Muslim action to “hold” her earnings for her over the entire course of her employment. She was to be paid out a lump sum when she left.
She was never allowed to leave though; she was locked in a basement. The only time she was allowed even to go outside was to do yard work, take out the trash, or collect the mail.
She was also raped repeatedly in the basement where she was being held. Z.A. worked seven days a week for three years and was paid a total of $1,500.
Beyond the lack of payment and not being able to go outside, the young lady was also forced to turn over her passport. She was left without any way to even attempt to get help.
While privacy laws protected her identity, the family of Al-Turki argued Z.A. was overstating the problems in their home and was lying to secure citizenship in the United States.
According to a recent write-up about the case:
“…the fate of Z.A. remains unknown, but she was paid some compensation money by Al-Turki’s family in exchange for some of the charge’s against him being dropped. The defense had argued that she had fabricated her accusations in an attempt to be able to stay in America, but she left for Indonesia immediately following the trial and never returned, despite having the legal right to stay in the country under the 2000 Trafficking and Violence Protection Act.”
As many within the Muslim community point to a rapist and a kidnapper as the victim, in this case, the issue with their cultural beliefs enabling them to abuse household staff like this young woman is sadly not anything new.
In 2015, the abuses were so bad that Indonesia banned sending female domestic workers to 21 Muslim countries. The ban is still in effect and keeps women like Z.A from being sent by families to work for this type of household.
That, unfortunately, didn’t protect this poor young woman from Al-Turki.