Not all Saudi women are in favour of gaining the right to
drive, with a group of females arguing it would put the social fabric, family
values and security at risk, as well as increase traffic and crime.
In a letter drafted to the Royal Diwan, the women claim
that if they were allowed to drive it would violate the kingdom’s public order
and scholars’ fatwas and go against religious sentiments, Arab News reported.
Their arguments are in stark contrast to other women in
the kingdom whose public protests, including defying the religious police by
driving in Riyadh, have gained momentum.
There is no law banning women from driving but it has
long been engrained in the kingdom’s culture and is fiercely monitored by the
informal religious police.
Three female members of the Shoura Council, which advises
the Saudi government, have filed a recommendation urging the body to “recognise the rights of women to drive a car
in accordance with the principles of Shariah and traffic rules”.
A group of activists also is calling on women to defy the
ban and get behind the wheel in a day of protest on October 26. Their social
media campaign has reportedly attracted 15,000 supporters of both genders.
However, women opposed to lifting the ban say all they
need is public transport.
Activist Rawdah Yousef, who supports the letter, said in
a post on the internet that allowing women to drive would be “a disastrous
move” because it would take them away from their families.
Allowing more drivers on the road would increase traffic
accidents, change a woman’s role, threaten family stability, and affect
crime because men would have more opportunity to cover their faces with a veil
while fleeing from the scene, the letter reportedly says.
Yousef said the female Shoura Council members in favour
of women driving should focus on other issues such as the right to work,
housing and insurance.