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

On Everest, Helicopters Rescue Stranded Climbers

Choppers transport some of more than 100 mountaineers trapped after deadly quake, avalanches More

Video Ten Years After Riots, France Searches for Answers to Neglected Suburbs

In 2005, a Paris suburb exploded into violence after two teenagers were electrocuted as they hid from police; since then, somethings have changed, others not More

US, Japan Announce Historic Revision of Defense Cooperation Guidelines

Nations say new guidelines will be 'cornerstone for peace and security' in Asia-Pacific region while also serving as 'platform for a more stable international security environment' More

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.
‘Angel of the Migrants’ Helps Desperate Syrians Arriving in Europei
X
Henry Ridgwell
April 26, 2015 10:36 PM
Waves of migrants are continuing to arrive on the shores of southern Italy from North Africa. After their dangerous journey across the Mediterranean, they face an unknown future in Europe. In the Sicilian city of Catania there is an activist dedicated to helping the refugees on their journey.
Video

Video ‘Angel of the Migrants’ Helps Desperate Syrians Arriving in Europe

Waves of migrants are continuing to arrive on the shores of southern Italy from North Africa. After their dangerous journey across the Mediterranean, they face an unknown future in Europe. In the Sicilian city of Catania there is an activist dedicated to helping the refugees on their journey.
Video

Video Ten Years After Riots, France Searches for Answers to Neglected Suburbs

January’s terrorist attacks and fears of more to come are casting a spotlight on France’s neglected suburbs. Home to many immigrants, and sometimes hubs of crime, they were rocked by rioting a decade ago. Lisa Bryant visited the Paris suburb of Clichy-sous-Bois, where the 2005 violence first broke out, and has this report about what has changed and what has not.
Video

Video Gay Marriage Goes Before US Supreme Court

This week, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments on whether gay people have a constitutional right to marriage. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the case could lead to the nationwide legalization of same-sex marriage, or a continuation of the status quo in which individual states decide whether to recognize gay unions.
Video

Video Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populations

A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Data Servers Could Heat Private Homes

As every computer owner knows, when their machines run a complex program they get pretty hot. In fact, cooling the processors can be expensive, especially when you're dealing with huge banks of computer servers. But what if that energy could heat private homes? VOA’s George Putic reports that a Dutch energy firm aims to do just that.
Video

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.
Video

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.
Video

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.
Video

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.
Video

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.
Video

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.
Video

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.

VOA Blogs