Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Unending Fight for Women to Drive in Saudi Arabia

Many of us know her name; Ms. Manal Sharif. The 32-year old Saudi has stirred up the media these past days, raising eyebrows worldwide. On Saturday, she was arrested by the religious police after she filmed herself driving a car and posted it online. She was released a few hours later, but the local police returned to her home after midnight and arrested her again, so it is reported.

Apparently, Ms. Manal was arrested for breaking the general rules by inciting other women to drive and stirring public opinion. Since her arrest, hundreds of people, men and women alike, signed a petition addressed to King Abdullah to release her and grant women the right to drive in the Kingdom.

Will Ms. Manal's arrest serve as example to stop women from taking to the streets on the 17th of June? I doubt it. There are other activists such as Wajiha Al Huwaider, who will not stop their fight for Saudi women's rights. And it doesn't end there...There are many more people, of both sexes, who are supporting the campaign to let women drive.

It is still hard to believe that in an era like this, a woman gets caught for driving. Come to think of it, it is not un-islamic for a woman to drive a car. Is it mostly about having total control over women and fearing that they will mix with men. Oh no! Look closely, and you will see that what opponents of female driving want to avoid, is already happening.

Links to Manal's story:
The New York Times
Arab News
Saudi Women Driving

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