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Wed 9 Oct 2013 12:26 PM

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Saudi Shoura women join driving ban fight

Three members of influential council file motion urging authorities to repeal ban

Saudi Shoura women join driving ban fight
(Photo for illustrative purposes only)

Three female members of Saudi Arabia’s influential Shoura Council have thrown their weight behind a campaign to remove an informal ban on women driving in the kingdom.

Latifa Al Shaalan, Haya Al-Mani and Muna Al-Mashit reportedly filed a recommendation urging the consultative body to “recognise the rights of women to drive a car in accordance with the principles of Shariah and traffic rules”.

“There is no law that bans women from driving. It is only a matter of tradition,” Al Shaalan was quoted as saying by AFP. “[Saudi women have] made many achievements... and have acquired leading positions in the government and the UN, yet they are banned from driving. This creates a negative image [of Saudi] abroad.”

There was reportedly silence across the council as the recommendation was made, before president Abdullah Al Asheikh dismissed the motion as it “has nothing to do with the subject we are now discussing, which is the report drafted by the Ministry of Transport”.

No laws explicitly ban Saudi women from driving, but citizens must use locally issued licenses. These are not issued to women, making it in effect illegal for them to drive.

Women who have defied the rules in the past have also faced charges of organising political protests, which are also prohibited in the monarchy, where there are no political parties and the only elections are for city councils.

A group of Saudi activists last month called on women to get behind the wheel on October 26 to challenge the ban.

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Mustaafa Ahmad 6 years ago

MAY Allah be with Saudi Women. Things like these have put bad Image on other societies of Islam. Saudi Men should be barred from policy making.
Total Discrimination.... but then God made all Prophet as men.