Raped, Jailed, Fired, Released: the Ordeal of a Norwegian Woman in Dubai


Dubai police asked rape victim “Are you sure you called the police because you just didn’t like it?” — then jailed her (JW)

The recent report about  Norwegian woman in Dubai Marte Dalelv (24),  who was convicted for “having sex outside of marriage” after reporting being raped has gained international attention. The fact that she was subsequently fired by her employer has served to add fuel to the outrage.

Fjordman has just posted a survey of material on “Sharia and Rape”, placing the incident in Dubai in its larger context of sexual predation by Muslims against non-Muslims, which is condoned by Islamic tradition and law.

Vlad Tepes has augmented the news segment with some commentary of his own, drawing on the Koran and Reliance of the Traveller to make his points.

Fictional and Dangerous Propaganda (from the Gates of Vienna)

The woman, in her mid-20s, was convicted of having sex outside of marriage and drinking alcohol. She says she was raped.–This is from the Muslim Issue:
1356623090_janet-jackson-wissam-al-mana-articleA comment on Janet Jackson’s marriage to her new Arab husband Wissam al Mana here.

A court in Dubai has sentenced a young Norwegian woman, Marte Deborah Dalelv, to 16 months in jail after she brought charges of rape against a colleague. Dismissing her allegations, the court saw fit instead to find her guilty of drinking alcohol and wanting the sex that she alleged was forced upon her. Meanwhile she was let go by her Qatar-born employer, the interior designer Wissam al Mana, who is otherwise known as Janet Jackson’s latest husband. (See postscript below for a statement from al Mana’s company.)


The circumstances are complicated but, after listening to an interview Dalelv has given to Ritula Shah of the BBC’s World Service, it seems very likely that she is the victim of a grotesque miscarriage of justice. As for her colleague, he is probably a local man though he seems not to have been named in English-language accounts. You can listen to the podcast here (the interview is about 9 minutes into the program). Here and here are some other useful links.

Dalelv is currently staying at the Norwegian Seamen’s Center in Dubai while appealing the verdict.

Why would the victim of a terrible crime receive a jail sentence? Asia is not America, let alone Norway. For me, as someone who has spent 27 years watching the world from a vantage point in East Asia, the episode illustrates in microcosm an obvious and profoundly troubling fact: globalism is a one-word  oxymoron. It has never made sense and probably never will. Cultures are different and, in their attitude to truth and human rights, the many brands of Asian culture are particularly remote from Western expectations.

Certainly, all American wishful thinking to the contrary, the world is NOT converging to American values. Yes, of course, more and more consumers around the world are drinking Coca-Cola KO +0.69%and eating Big Macs. But this is a superficial observation that says nothing about any values worth the name.

Of course, Dubai, which is the most populous constituent of the United Arab Emirates, seems on a superficial view to be highly Westernized. A more accurate description is that Dubai is highlyeconomically advanced. It is home, for instance, to major regional operations of such U.S. corporations asHewlett-Packard HPQ -4.52%, EMC EMC -0.35%, Oracle ORCL -1.91%, Microsoft MSFT -11.37%, and IBM. It also boasts the world’s tallest building, the 163-floor Burj Khalifa. Meanwhile the Emirates airline, which is based in Dubai, counts, on some measures, not only as the world’s largest international carrierbut the world’s best (it was so designated a few months ago by the British consultancy, Skytrax).

But Dubai’s official religion is Islam — and not a particularly liberal brand. This can make for problems for Westerners. Western women in particular are not always welcome. This despite the fact that Dubai features one of the most disturbingly imbalanced male-female ratios in world history: in the overall population, males outnumber females more than three to one. The ratio for adults is probably even more imbalanced. Foreign prostitutes, particularly Russian and Indian ones, seem to be welcome. For other foreign women, it is legal to take a job, drive and own property, and a good number of wives of Western businessmen and singles live and work there. But it is not uncommon for foreigners to fall afoul of crackdowns on behavior that authorities consider offensive, ranging from kissing in public to wearing revealing clothing to adultery. The status of ordinary decent local women in Dubai is powerfully symbolized by the fact that wives can be beaten with impunity so long as no marks are left.

Justice in an American sense does not exist. For me the characteristically Asian aspect of Marte Deborah Dalelv’s fate is that she has been indicted on a “crime” – drinking alcohol – that is widely tolerated among other foreign residents of Dubai. Basically she is a victim of a principle I call “selective enforcement.” It is a principle that is observable in many parts of Asia (see my books on Japan and China for a fuller account). The idea is that though a lot of things are nominally illegal, they are widely tolerated – provided only you don’t rock the boat on issues that matter more to the authorities. The tax system in many East Asian nations provides an example. Although taxes are ostensibly high, the authorities turn a blind eye to some types of evasion – provided only taxpayers show “discretion” on what really matters. One example that can be succinctly described is the South Korean government’s policy (one learned from Japan in a previous era) on foreign cars. There are no import barriers – absolutely none, except that the tax authorities make a policy of auditing  anyone who buys a foreign car. In a nation where much of the tax code is considerable “optional,” this elegantly end-runs American pressure to open the market.

The larger point here is that Eastern and Western cultures are in many ways incompatible. Rudyard Kipling made the point more than a century ago: “Oh, East is East, and West is West, and never the twain shall meet.”

My bet is that, on appeal, Marte Deborah Dalelv will be shown some leniency. But for globalism, the Asians will never cut much slack. This applies in spades to the naïve American view that globalization and Americanization are somehow the same thing (thank you George H. W. Bush, William Jefferson Clinton, and, of course, Thomas L. Friedman). Asians are incandescent with rage at such casual cultural imperialsm but, being Asians, rarely give any explicit indication of their anger. They expect people to read between the lines.

Postscript 1:

As this blog has already drawn  a remarkable number of comments, many of them accusing me of “racism” or at least of political incorrectness, I will post again tomorrow offering replies to the main criticisms. Although I don’t want to spoil the plot, I should make clear here that Asia is a very big place and that many, perhaps most, nations there would handle a rape allegation in much the same way as in the West. What I am saying is that Asian legal systems for the most operate quite differently from anything Americans are used to and that can lead to unpleasant surprises.

Postscript 2:

I have now received an official statement from Al Mana’s company. See below.

(July 20, 2013) – “We are sympathetic to Marte Dalelv during this very difficult situation. Al Mana Interiors has repeatedly offered Marte support and company representatives were by her side throughout the initial investigation and police interviews, and spent days at both the police station and the prosecutor’s office to help win her release.

“Company representatives have been supportive and in communication with Marte throughout her ordeal. Only when Ms. Dalelv declined to have positive and constructive discussions about her employment status, and ceased communication with her employer, was the company forced to end our relationship with her. The decision had nothing to do with the rape allegation, and unfortunately neither Ms. Dalelv nor her attorneys have chosen to contact the company to discuss her employment status.

“We continue to be open to helping Ms. Dalelv and extending her resources during the Dubai legal process. We are hopeful that we can resume a positive discussion about the assistance she needs during this difficult time.”

4 thoughts on “Raped, Jailed, Fired, Released: the Ordeal of a Norwegian Woman in Dubai”

  1. Marte Deborah Dalelv’s rape case in Dubai is unfortunate. I used to live in the Middle East and can understand the Western outcry from those who do not understand Islamic Law. The pardon sounds like a great outcome for her under the circumstances. Everyone should use this example to learn about the consequences of remaining ignorant of local norms.

    Some additional thoughts:

  2. Dubai has gone soft on Sharia

    The powers that be in Dubai have “pardoned” a Norwegian woman for the “crime” of being raped. Whatever next? From the BBC:

    A Norwegian woman at the centre of a Dubai rape case dispute has been pardoned and is free to leave Dubai, she has said.

    Interior designer Marte Deborah Dalelv was on a business trip in Dubai when she says she was raped in March.

    She reported the attack to the police, but found herself charged with having extramarital sex, drinking alcohol, and perjury.

    The case has angered rights groups and the authorities in Norway.

    Norway’s Foreign Minister Espen Barth Eide tweeted: “Marte is released! Thanks to everyone who signed up to help.”

    Ms Dalelv says she had been on a night out with colleagues on 6 March when the rape took place.

    She reported it to the police, who proceeded to confiscate her passport and seize her money. She was charged four days later on three counts, including having sex outside marriage.

    Her alleged attacker, she said, received a 13-month sentence for extramarital sex and alcohol consumption.

  3. Brad Bernard,

    Do not use the “ignorance of local customs” argument here – the arabs behaved like thugs and NOTHING excuses that!!!!! Nothing!!!

    SO STOP MAKING THIS EXCUSE for these parasitic space wasters who are pretending to be human!!!!!!!!

  4. I agree with Kaw: Brad, when “local customs” involve victim-blaming CRIMES, the objective facts are universally held true, and it doesn’t matter if or how many “locals” pretend that in their case, this specific crime is always allowed in their designated area; ALL muslims are criminals, as they all belong to an ancient, ongoing extortion racket CRIME-SYNDICATE where the only ‘religious’ part to be found is when they say:

    “God told us to commit these crimes!”



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