Originally posted by Claire Zillman for Fortune on June 14, 2016—
“Nawal Alhawsawi is fighting racism, sexism, and discrimination against people with disabilities.
If you haven’t heard of Nawal Alhawsawi, perhaps you’ve heard of the title she was given about two years ago: “The Rosa Parks of Saudi Arabia.” She earned that accolade after she stood up to being called an Arabic racial slur in 2013.
Alhawsawi, born in Mecca, moved to the United States 12 years ago. “I went to school. I had a life. I married an American,” she told Fortune’s Most Powerful Women International Summit in London on Tuesday. She and her husband then returned to Saudi Arabia, in part, because he wanted to learn Arabic.
That’s when Alhawsawi’s troubles started.
At an event for Saudi’s National Day in 2013, another woman called Alhawsawi a derogatory Arabic term used against black people that translates to “slave.” Alhawsawi eventually took the woman to court since racism is a criminal offense in the kingdom. The woman eventually apologized and Alhawsawi dropped the suit.”
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