The traditional Islamic ninja costume is frequently compared to bank robber attire, and rightly so. Saudi Muslimah Ranya al-Huthaili, who was attending college in the US on the Saudi government’s dime, decided the comparison of garments was apt enough to actually try robbing a bank.
al-Huthaili held up a total of five banks. She had reportedly lived a “life of privilege” in her native Saudi Arabia, but apparently the criminal urge took over. After the fifth robbery, al-Huthaili was caught trying to buy herself a laptop with the stolen money and taken into custody.
What was her motivation? According to her family, she had been swept off her feet by a man who claimed to have been a mafia hitman who needed money to pay for cancer treatment. Sounds more like the pilot of some upcoming AMC drama than real life. However, al-Huthaili’s lover didn’t ask her to rob any banks – in fact, he said he had no knowledge of criminal conduct on her part. When the truth about her spending was made known, the judge threw away the notion of leniency despite the Muslimah’s guilty plea.
In court, al-Huthaili’s lawyer said she had been trained her whole life to be submissive due to her upbringing in Saudi Arabia. He attempted to blame her crime spree on this, kind of like a form of late-blooming adolescent rebellion. However, the judge didn’t buy it. al-Huthaili was sentenced to 3.5 years behind bars.
Many who wish for Islamic garments which partially or fully cover the face to be banned have already cited this case as an argument for their position. Meanwhile, supporters of allowing the burqa, niqab, and their ilk are hoping this story gets swept under the rug.