Sunday, May 22, 2011

Driving while female in Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia, like Iran is a sharia-compliant country, and as such there are many restrictions which Muslims must abide by.  Women, under sharia law are not allowed to drive, period.  They must rely on their husband, father, brother or hired driver to get around.  When Manal al-Sherif decided to drive herself, and then post her drive on Facebook and Youtube. She knew the fallout that would occur.  She did this deliberately, to force changes by the government regarding women's rights. 

Shall we wait for Western feminists and the left to join her Facebook page and demand the Saudi's change the laws?  OK.....


From YNet News May 22

Saudi woman detained for defying driving ban   

Authorities detained a Saudi woman on Saturday after she launched a campaign against the driving ban for women in the ultraconservative kingdom and posted a video of herself behind the wheel on Facebook and YouTube to encourage others to copy her.

Manal al-Sherif and a group of other women started a Facebook page called "Teach me how to drive so I can protect myself," which urges authorities to lift the driving ban. She went on a test drive in the eastern city of Khobar and later posted a video of the experience.

"This is a volunteer campaign to help the girls of this country" learn to drive, al-Sherif says in the video. "At least for times of emergency, God forbid. What if whoever is driving them gets a heart attack?"

Human rights activist Walid Abou el-Kheir said al-Sherif was detained by the country's religious police, who are charged with ensuring the kingdom's rigid interpretation of Islamic teachings are observed.

Saudi Arabia is the only country in the world to ban women - both Saudi and foreign - from driving. The prohibition forces families to hire live-in drivers, and those who cannot afford the $300 to $400 a month for a driver must rely on male relatives to drive them to work, school, shopping or the doctor.

Women are also barred from voting, except for chamber of commerce elections in two cities in recent years, and no woman can sit on the kingdom's Cabinet. Women also cannot travel without permission from a male guardian and shouldn't mingle with males who are not their husbands or brothers.

The campaigners have focused on the importance of women driving in times of emergencies and in the case of low-income families. Al-Sherif said unlike the traditional argument in Saudi Arabia that driving exposes women to sinful temptations by allowing them to mingle with policemen and mechanics, women who drive can avoid sexual harassment from their drivers and protect their "dignity."

'We want to live as complete citizens' 

Through Facebook, the campaigners are calling for a mass drive on June 17 and more than 11,000 people viewing the page have indicated they support the call. To encourage women to get behind the wheel, al-Sherif went for a drive on Friday as another activist filmed her...

Read it all  


Zener said...

According to main stream news outlets, the Facebook and Twitter accounts have been closed. But there does seem to be a Facebook page for/supporting Manal al-Sherif and one titled "Teach me how to drive so I can protect myself" and plenty of buzz on Twitter.

A Christian Woman Who Has Lived Under Shariah said...

Whenever I hear about women's issues in the Middle East or recall my time living there, I can't help but think of the book, "The Stepford Wives". In both examples the results are the same: women are stripped of their personality, individuality, vibrancy, humor and sexuality. Women have no intrinsic worth in Islam, other than being a convenient and religiously sanctioned orifice, and a housekeeping and baby making automaton. They are to be subservient, compliant, silent and ready at a moment's notice to fulfill their husbands every whim. Failure to do so can bring about a beating, as allowed by Mohammed and the Quran. What should be done out of love, caring, tenderness, devotion and affection is done out of fear.