News / Middle East

    Saudi Government Tries to Thwart Women's Driving Campaign

    A woman drives a car in Saudi Arabia on October 22, 2013.  Saudi Arabia is the only country in the world where women are barred from driving, but debate about the ban is growing.
    A woman drives a car in Saudi Arabia on October 22, 2013. Saudi Arabia is the only country in the world where women are barred from driving, but debate about the ban is growing.
    Reuters
    Saudi Arabia's government sought to snuff out a campaign to end a ban on women driving, warning on Wednesday it would use force to stop any protest aimed at overturning the ban.
     
    Saudi women's rights activists posted online photographs and video clips of themselves defying the ban this month after some members of the Shoura Council, an influential body that advises the government, called for an end to the prohibition.
     
    Saudi Arabia is the only country in the world where women are barred from driving, but debate about the ban, once confined to the private sphere and social media, is spreading to public forums too.
     
    The Saudi Interior Ministry said calls on social media for “banned gatherings and marches” to encourage women to drive were illegal.
     
    “The Interior Ministry confirms to all that the concerned authorities will enforce the law against all the violators with firmness and force,” the ministry said in a statement carried by state news agency SPA.
     
    There is no specific law that prevents women from driving in the conservative kingdom, but they cannot apply for driving licenses and some have been arrested on charges relating to public order or political protest after getting behind the wheel.
     
    The “October 26 Driving” campaign has asked Saudis to put its logo on their cars and called upon women with international driving licenses to get behind the wheel that day, while urging other women to learn to drive.
     
    Conservative supporters of the ban, including members of Saudi Arabia's powerful clerical establishment, have said allowing women to drive will encourage the sexes to mix freely in public and thus threaten public morality.
     
    On Tuesday, Saudi news website www.sabq.org said that 200 Muslim clerics and preachers had visited the royal court in the Red Sea city of Jeddah to make a case against women driving.
     
    “We came to the guardian (King Abdullah) to clarify the seriousness of this period,” Sabq quoted Sheik Nasser bin Salman al-Omar, secretary-general of the League of Muslim Scholars, as saying.
     
    “If those behind the conspiracy of women driving approach the house from the back, the sheikhs wanted to come through the front doors,” he added.

    You May Like

    US-Russia Tensions Complicate Syria War

    With a shared enemy and opposing allies, Russia and the US are working to avoid confrontation

    Video Re-opening Old Wounds in Beirut's Bullet-riddled Yellow House

    Built in neo-Ottoman style in 1920s, it is set to be re-opened in Sept. as ‘memory museum’ - bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity

    Cambodian-Americans Lobby for Human Rights Resolution

    Resolution condemns all forms of political violence in Cambodia, urges Cambodian government to end human rights violations, calls for respect of press freedom

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: hi man from: nigeria
    October 24, 2013 8:58 AM
    i am fore seeing a revolution in saudi arabia, one day all the oppression against women in the country will stop.

    by: Hanoi girl from: Vietnam
    October 24, 2013 2:10 AM
    Saudi Arabia, an ally of the US, is an uncivilized country where women's rights are limited.

    by: hassan bala from: abeokuta nigeria
    October 23, 2013 6:20 PM
    just allow women, the advantages are plenty
    In Response

    by: Nafji Fatina from: Avondale AZ USA
    October 23, 2013 8:13 PM
    Please think simple way Mother will bring the child from school in case of emergency. School buses are there but think emergency if father is out of state for business. Child became sick , mother will take to hospital or bring the medicine. Child wants to participate after school activities like sports voluntary job. certain things are there , like ladies school, college, university, bank, but child's demand is important in 21 century. If mullas objection is young will meet very freely . How many % girls married out of family, they meet. Doha, Kuwait ,UAE, Muscat are not faraway for mingle . Plan ticket is $200.00 Think oppositely, please give the right to women to exist.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Uncharted Territoryi
    X
    June 24, 2016 9:38 PM
    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Uncharted Territory

    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Experts: Very Few Killed in US Gun Violence Are Victims of Mass Shootings

    The deadly shooting at a Florida nightclub has reignited the debate in the U.S. over gun control. Although Congress doesn't provide government health agencies funds to study gun violence, public health experts say private research has helped them learn some things about the issue. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
    Video

    Video Trump Unleashes Broadside Against Clinton to Try to Ease GOP Doubts

    Recent public opinion polls show Republican Donald Trump slipping behind Democrat Hillary Clinton in the presidential election matchup for November. Trump trails her both in fundraising and campaign organization, but he's intensifying his attacks on the former secretary of state. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapide’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.
    Video

    Video Florida Gets $1 Million in Emergency Government Funding for Orlando

    The U.S. government has granted $1 million in emergency funding to the state of Florida to cover the costs linked to the June 12 massacre in Orlando. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the grant Tuesday in Orlando, where she met with survivors of the shooting attack that killed 49 people. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video How to Print Impossible Shapes with Metal

    3-D printing with metals is rapidly becoming more advanced. As printers become more affordable, the industry is partnering with universities to refine processes for manufacturing previously impossible things. A new 3-D printing lab aims to bring the new technology closer to everyday use. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Big Somali Community in Minnesota Observes Muslim Religious Feast

    Ramadan is widely observed in the north central US state of Minnesota, which a large Muslim community calls home. VOA Somali service reporter Mohmud Masadde files this report from Minneapolis, the state's biggest city.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora