Saturday, May 28, 2011

How Weird?

The arrest of Manal Sharif has been an issue over the past week, featuring in international papers, on blogs and on the local news.

Following her arrest, there are claims that another group was created on Facebook by an anonymous person, to beat up all males and females who support the fight for women to drive. According to reports, the creator of this facebook page is calling on all men to beat their wives and who would dare take to the roads in the name of "the campaign for women to drive." The "Iqal Campaign: June 17 for preventing women from driving," as it is called, encourages males to use their iqal (the black cord that they use to hold their white-red chekered scarf) to beat women who attempt to drive on that day.

There are claims that this page was created, yet no blogger or journalist is putting up a link to this page (See here, here and here). I thought I couldn't find the page on Facebook because it was probably in Arabic, but my Arabic-speaking friends couldn't find it either. How weird? Either they do not know how to use Facebook or this page is written in some coded language. If you find it, please let me know.

News always creates news. Is someone trying to attract attention here? Or is it really true that men and women would be beaten by people who do not support the need for females to drive?

Come to think of it, everything surrounding this issue is weird.

#1 Women should not drive because they will mix with mechanics (males).

Women are already mixing with men. I went to a cafe with my girlfriend only a couple of weeks ago, and I was shocked by what I saw. A cafe in the heart of Jeddah! I heard there was even worse than what I had witnessed.

In addition, women stay with their drivers in the same car. Mind you, the family driver is not a relative. Isn't it forbidden for 2 unrelated people of the opposite sex to sit in the same car?

#2 If women drive, this will promote "fitnah" because they will buy a new car, which is new model just because they want to be the first to drive it.

Oh yeah! You need to sit with the ladies in a social gathering. Women compare jewellery, or the furniture in their homes, or the latest phone or technology on the market...and you name it. Is this not promoting "fitnah." Better still is to ban women from having any of these luxuries, if they do not want to promote "fitnah."

#3 If women drive, it will lead to overcrowding of the streets.

Waoh! I guess other countries that allow women to drive would learn from this; the ultimate solution to traffic congestion! Well-said.

And more...I wish I had the time. For a country that bans women from driving, but lets women drive in the rural areas in the cities and in special areas that have immunity, that is pretty weird. Saudi Arabia, in my opinion has a long way to go.

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