16 December 2017

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06/02/2017 SAUDI ARABIA

Saudi Prince (and former Minister) opens up to women driving: unavoidable changes

Faisal Bin Abdullah, Minister for Education from 2009 to 2013, hypothesizes a future for women driving the society. The change must start "from within", it is up to them to demonstrate "their skill". Woman is "the foundation of society" and has a "significant role" in Islam.

Riyadh (AsiaNews) - Allowing women to drive is an inevitable step that the Saudi monarchy will have to concede in the near future, because soon women will be at the head of not just a car but all of whole society.

This is according to Prince and former Minister Faisal Bin Abdullah who added that some changes become "inevitable" even if there are unsettle or frighten people. "The ban on women driving - he said - is an imposition, but in the past women were usually driven by their camels. Women are more accountable because they represent more than half of society and are very trustworthy. "

Speaking on a Rotana Khaleejia TV talk show, the former Saudi Education Minister from 2009 to 2013 added: "I am proud of women being mothers, wives, or daughters and proudly claiming their faith, their belief and engagement in these modern times. " They are "the foundations of society" in Saudi Arabia and play "a significant role" in the context of Islamic civilization. If they are given the opportunity, they are able to reach great goals.

Prince Faisal is the latest in the ranks of prominent personalities in Saudi Arabia to support driving licenses for women. Prior to him, in 2013, Prince Billionaire Al Waleed Bin Talal had come to the fore, speaking of the "benefits" for the national economy in the event of change.

In Saudi Arabia, a Sunni Wahhabite kingdom, religious freedom is not allowed and the apostate is condemned to death under Sharia. But there are no passages of the Koran, sacred texts, or jurisprudence that prohibit women from driving. The ban is rooted in social traditions and in the submission of women to male protection. In October 2013, at least 150 Islamic personalities, including imams and Koranic doctors, organized protests to stop the Saudi women's campaign on the right to drive.

If a woman is caught while driving, she is sentenced to 10 lashes. A few women challenged this with the courageous freedom to drive campaign launched in 2008 by Saudi activist  Wajiha Huwaidar who posted a video on YouTube while driving. The images went global, but nothing has changed in the ultraconservative kingdom.

The situation is very different situation in the "enemy" of the region, the Shi'ite Islamic Republic of Iran, where women can even participate in motocross races.

See also

03/09/2016 10:24:00 IRAN - SAUDI ARABIA
Iran, says yes to "female motorcyclists"

The Islamic Republic’s Automobile and Motorcycling Federation opens competitions to women. The hope is to see women in the world championship. The first competition widely covered by the national media. In contrast with Saudi Arabia, where women are even forbidden to drive.

28/09/2011 SAUDI ARABIA
Woman sentenced to 10 lashes for driving through the streets of Jeddah:
Only men are allowed behind the wheel in Saudi Arabia. This is the first sentence imposed by a judge, in the past women were arrested for few days, then released. Women's rights movement announces an appeal. For activists, the sentence shows the gap between promises and reality of openness of an ultra-conservative society.

04/09/2009 SAUDI ARABIA
Shiites in Saudi Arabia discriminated against as "non-believers"
A report by HRW traces the marginalization of Shias in schools, courts, mosques, military, government, labour. Similarly (and perhaps worse) Christians, Hindus, Buddhists, etc are discriminated against.

05/12/2013 SAUDI ARABIA
The Saudi monarch opens to women at the wheel
King Abdullah orders authorities to examine the 72 reforms proposed by the Commission for Human Rights ( HRC ) . Among these, the opportunities for women to drive to and from work : greater protection from family violence . Under examination the right to citizenship for children born in mixed marriages , in which the mother is Saudi Arabian.

30/10/2017 10:22:00 SAUDI ARABIA
Riyadh, stadium doors open to Saudi women

The prince's gentle revolution continues. After permission to drive, women will now be able to attend sports events as well. In vigour from 2018 will include stadiums in Riyadh, Jeddah and Dammam. Restaurants, cafes and monitors will be set up in spaces reserved for men only.

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