Saudi women drag racing video becomes YouTube hit

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A controversial music video by popstar M.I.A. has attracted more than 3.7m views since Friday on YouTube after it featured scenes of what were thought to be Saudi women driving.

The movie clip for the hit single ‘Bad Girls’ was set in Morocco, but shows footage of what appears to be Saudi women engaged in drag racing, being watched and cheered on by Saudi men.

Commentators say the video by the Sri Lankan-British singer is taking a stand against the Kingdom’s laws which ban women from using cars by preventing them from obtaining locally-issued licenses.

One fan, ‘reemqa1’ said: “She has a political statement to say in this video, she is talking here about Saudi Arabia laws against women driving, in addition [to] the crazy men driving their cars so fast which became very popular in the GCC countries.”

Another, ‘MrQuizmasterchris’, said: “Thanks for supporting women in Saudi.”

Others said she was “pushing the boundaries” and they were thankful to “finally” see a female artist doing something different.

The issue of Saudi Arabian women driving was pushed further into the limelight last year when members of the Saudi royal family tried to push through change.

In June, HH Princess Ameerah Al Taweel, wife of Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal, spoke out during her appearance on the Today Show, when she said that driving was “a social need” for women, and an important issue which needed to be addressed in the oil-rich Gulf state.

In September, Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah was also said to have overturned a court ruling sentencing a woman to ten lashes for breaking the ban.

Under Saudi Arabia's slaws, women require a male guardian's permission to work, travel abroad or undergo certain types of surgery.

Whilst there is no specific law which bans women from driving, rules require citizens to use locally issued licences while in the country, which are not available to women.

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