Saudi Born Singer Shams Bandar Criticizes Arab World for Hypocrisy
Shams Bandar, better known as Shams to her fans in the Middle East and beyond, criticized Arab governments during a television interview about why she had decided to seek European citizenship.
"Are you trying to sell the notion that foreign citizenship is the paradise that will save you from the hell of the Arab world?" the TV host asked Bandar in Arabic, although the video has since been subtitled in English.
"Do you want me to be a hypocrite or not?" Bandar responded. "…The Syrians are scattered in the world's oceans, dying by the millions on a daily basis. Iraqis are dying by the millions. All the Arab countries have closed their borders to them…. How does a suffering Syrian benefit from his Arab citizenship, when his children and family have been killed and his life has been destroyed?"
Bandar then went on to criticize how fighters from the Islamic State group have used religion to perpetuate violence in the region.
"…In Britain or America — note that I am against the policies of their governments, I always say so — but show me where it says in their constitutions that you can chop people's hands off, stone people, execute them in the streets, or do all of the things done by ISIS and the Islamist movements, which are harmful to Islam," Bandar said. "Do you see in the American constitution or law any of the things perpetrated by our Muslims? Can we say that they do these things in the West, too?"
Bandar continued: "Can anyone convince me that in America or Europe, they do what ISIS is doing to the Syrians, to the Yazidis, or to the Iraqis? Why do we pin all our problems on the West? For 1,400 years, we have been slaughtering one another just because one of us prays one way, and another prays a different way."
This isn't the first time Bandar has made headlines. In 2013, she released a song called "It's Our Right to Drive" as part of the campaign by some in Saudi Arabia to lift the ban on women driving.