Will Women be Allowed to Drive in Saudi Arabia?

By:  Bruce Walker
09/30/2011
       
Will Women be Allowed to Drive in Saudi Arabia?

Not every nation and not every culture grants women the rights that they enjoy in America or those nations we usually call “Western” nations. Consider Najalaa Harriri of Saudi Arabia. She and other Saudi women began a campaign to be allowed to drive cars in June. The religiously orthodox kingdom observes closely the precepts of Islam, and the interpretation given to the Moslem rulers of Saudi Arabia is that activities like driving cars is restricted by Islam to males.

Not only is it forbidden for Saudi women to drive cars, but other restrictions of Saudi-stye Islam (sometimes called Wahhabism) would make women driving cars actually dangerous. Women in public, according to the strict reading of Islam given by the Saudi government, must be fully clothed. That means dress that restricts vision and may inhibit the free movement of women’s arms and legs while driving.

The ban has become increasingly questioned among Saudi leaders.  In March, Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, a nephew of Saudi King Abdullah, suggested lifting the ban:

Not every nation and not every culture grants women the rights that they enjoy in America or those nations we usually call “Western” nations. Consider Najalaa Harriri of Saudi Arabia. She and other Saudi women began a campaign to be allowed to drive cars in June. The religiously orthodox kingdom observes closely the precepts of Islam, and the interpretation given to the Moslem rulers of Saudi Arabia is that activities like driving cars is restricted by Islam to males.

Not only is it forbidden for Saudi women to drive cars, but other restrictions of Saudi-stye Islam (sometimes called Wahhabism) would make women driving cars actually dangerous. Women in public, according to the strict reading of Islam given by the Saudi government, must be fully clothed. That means dress that restricts vision and may inhibit the free movement of women’s arms and legs while driving.

The ban has become increasingly questioned among Saudi leaders.  In March, Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, a nephew of Saudi King Abdullah, suggested lifting the ban:

Click here to read the entire article.

Photo: Azza Al-Shamasi drives a car as part of a campaign to defy Saudi Arabia's ban on women driving, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, June 22, 2011: AP Images

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