Saudi Women Will be Allowed to Drive

Saudi Arabia is to lift its ban on women drivers in an attempt to stem a rising suffragette-style movement in the deeply conservative state. Government officials have confirmed the landmark decision and plan to issue a decree by the end of the year. The move is designed to forestall campaigns for greater freedom by women, which have recently included protesters driving cars through the Islamic state in defiance of a threat of detention and loss of livelihoods.

The royal family has previously balked at granting women driving permits, claiming the step did not have full public support.
The driving ban dates back to the establishment of the state in 1932, although recently the government line has weakened.

……If the ban on women driving is lifted, it could be years before the full impact is seen. Practical hurdles stopping women obtaining licences and insurance must be overcome.

Oh yeah, they’ll be able to drive, but Allah help them if they get caught without a license….

Mohammad al-Zulfa, a reformist member of the Saudi consultative Shura Council, which scrutinises official policies in the oil-rich state, said reversing the ban was part of King Abdullah’s “clever” strategy of incremental reform.
“When it was first raised, the extremists were really mad,” he said. “Now they just complain. It is diminishing into a form of consent.

To bad oppressive bullshit like this hasn’t ‘diminished’:

Saudi Arabia maintains a strict segregation of the sexes outside the family home.
An unaccompanied woman must shop behind curtains and cannot hail a taxi.

Other female-specific ‘laws’: Divorced women are denied custody of their children. Marital rape and assault by male family members are not considered crimes. Women are forbidden to practice law, therefore their testimony is only worth “half” that of a man’s. Women are denied all legal recourse in Saudi society. They are prosecuted and stoned to death for ‘violating’ the Koran’s ‘rules’ for women. Women are segregated in every aspect of public access. They are forbidden to eat, drink, or shop except in prescribed areas. They are also restricted in education.

But they’re gonna be allowed to drive…whoop-dee-fucking-do.

……Saudi women have mounted growing protests. Fouzia al-Ayouni, the country’s most prominent women’s rights campaigner, has risked arrest by leading convoys of women drivers. “We have broken the barrier of fear,” she said. “We want the authorities to know that we’re here, that we want to drive, and that many people feel the way we do.”

Link: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2008/01/21/wsaudi121.xml

Okay al-Ayouni, after you’re finished driving, maybe you can work on changing the rest of the sexist shari’ah laws.

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