Saturday, May 1, 2010

A Young Saudi Man Speaks About Women Driving in Saudi Arabia

This post is a paper written by a young Saudi man, age 23, who is currently a student in Texas. His compelling arguments are very timely in that there has been much talk lately about the possibility of the ban on women driving here in KSA being lifted.

The kingdom of Saudi Arabia is located in the Arabian Peninsula, the birthplace of Islam; the home of Mecca and Medina, the two holiest cities of Islam and the focus of the annual Islamic pilgrimage. In the late 1730s, Muhammad ibn Abd al Wahhab started a religious reform against Shiite and local paganism tribes in the peninsula and was later welcomed by Muhammad ibn Saud, head of the Saud family. They both swore a traditional Muslim oath promising to work together to establish a state based on Islamic principles. However, it was not until 1932 that the kingdom was founded in its modern form. King Abdul Aziz’s forces advanced westward to overthrow the Ottoman from the western region. He was proclaimed king in 1927 and the country was named the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in 1932. The kingdom’s political structure is an absolute monarchy with a constitution based on Quran and the teaching of the prophet’s interpretation of Muhammad ibn Abd al Wahhab, which is referred to nowadays as “Wahabi interpretation of Islam.”

During the 1930s, the ARAMCO consortium, including Standard Oil of California and other firms, began looking for oil in Saudi lands and discovered huge quantities. Saudi oil is close to the surface and therefore it is very cheap to extract. The discovery of oil gave the Kingdom its strategic importance in World War II and thereafter and contributed to its rapid economic development and rising prominence in world affairs. The kingdom’s large oil revenues contributed to the fortune of the Saudi Kingdom and did not produce a concomitant social revolution or modern civil development such as occurred in some of the Gulf countries.

Human rights in Saudi Arabia have been drawing much international attention lately; the country’s international democracy index ranking is 161 out of 167 according to the Economist. The press and the internet are both regulated and censored by the government, and freedom of speech does not exist. Women of Saudi Arabia live under a strict Islamic law in which they are treated like property. They are subservient to men in every way; they are segregated from males in society, not allowed to drive cars, may not travel in or out of Saudi Arabian cities without a designated male guardian or permission, are not allowed to vote, and are denied the ability to represent themselves in a court.

Many of these laws have no basis in Quran and are based on the "Wahabi interpretation of Islam” which stresses the regulation of social norms according to a mix of traditional Arab values and the Islam religion. Women’s main purpose in the society, according to this interpretation, is to provide for her husband and to be an obedient housewife -a very traditional role that has been challenged due to modernization and is being challenged nowadays as women are asking for less restriction to perform their daily modern life. Women’s right to drive is one of these challenging issues with two sides; the liberal Saudis that call for it and the traditional conservative Saudis that stress the traditional role of women and are against it. The current Saudi political system bans women drivers, but several recent legislative attempts have made it to “Majlis Ash-Shura,” the advisory council to the king in regard to the lifting of the ban. Saudi women should have the right to drive because the ban is unconstitutional, is against women’s rights, and is increasing the number of immigrant personal drivers.

The Saudi constitution is the Quran and the teachings of the prophet Muhammad. Much of the country’s legal and court system is based on the Wahabi interpretation of both texts. The kingdom also enforces a social code based on the same interpretation through the committee for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vices. The Saudi society is mainly a male dominant society; women are to stay home while men work and provide for their families. Women are not allowed to hold public office, be judges, or work without a male guardian’s permission. While legally women are allowed to pursue an education, hold jobs, and buy property, traditional conservatives still regard women as inferior and dependent on their male guardian. Women from liberal families are usually more independent. There are, however, legal limits to the freedom of women. These limits are set to promote the traditional society which regards women as dependent. Several laws are established only to women that restrict the freedom of travel, the freedom of seeking employment, and the freedom of pursuing higher education pursuant to the permission of a male guardian. Many of these regulations are claimed to be based on Islamic values from the traditional conservatives. While much of it has no roots in Islam, the concept of “prevention” is commonly used to back these regulations.

In the issue of women’s right to drive, Abdel-Mohsin al-Obaikan, a senior Saudi religious figure, has confirmed that Islamic law does not prevent women from driving. The same view is shared with another well-known cleric, Mohsin Awaji. “Majlis Ash-Shura,” the advisory council to the king, has ruled in 2010 that the ban is enforced for social reasons and has no religious backgrounds. This ruling has raised the question of whether constitutional limits do exist in the Saudi political system and to what extent Islamic based regulation is actually based on Islam.

Conservative Saudis argue that the ban is legitimate because of the concept of prevention. They argue that if women were allowed to drive, they will have to uncover their faces and interact with non-related males, which could lead to adultery. Islamic laws prohibit adultery and therefore to “prevent” people from committing this crime, regulations must be set. This argument is flawed, however, since Saudi women are legally allowed to uncover their faces and to interact with non-related males, which the current system is forcing them to do so. Women currently are forced to hire male immigrant drivers to drive them around, which contradicts the conservative argument of prevention of gender interaction.

Several factors have an impact on determining the state of women’s rights in Saudi Arabia. Dr. Saleh al-Sheikh, the minister for Islamic affairs in Saudi Arabia, states, “I believe in equal rights for everyone according to their circumstances… Women do have rights, but they are based on our view of their obligations in life.” Religion, society, culture, and the government all have an impact on women’s rights. While Quran calls for equalization between the genders’ rights, the Wahabi religious interpretation views women as second class citizens with limited roles in society and bases most of its regulations on the concept of prevention. Segregation between the genders is enforced in public places and schools; conservatives argue that such regulations are enforced to prevent “Khalwa” which leads adultery. In December 2009, Sheikh Ahmad Qassim Al-Ghamdi, chief of the Makkah region’s committee of the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vices, stated to Okaz Arabic-language daily newspaper that gender segregation has no basis in Islamic law, and has been incorrectly applied in the Saudi judicial system. Al-Ghamdi said that the teachings of the Prophet make no references to gender segregation and is therefore permitted under Islamic laws.

Social and cultural norms also play a key role in determining the state of women’s rights in Saudi Arabia. The male dominant society sometimes looks upon women as commodities to be sold. Marriage contracts are typically an agreement between the husband and the father of the bride, in which a certain amount of money is agreed upon “Mahar.” Forced marriages are quite common in Saudi society. The “Mahar” is paid to the father, who in return forces the girl to be married to the husband. The current legal system requires the bride to sign the marriage contract. However, the system also promotes the dependency of the woman on her male guardian, which makes it difficult for her to make independent choices, and therefore, is forced to submit to her guardian’s will. The “Mahar” is an Islamic principle meant to show the economic ability and the good will of the husband to provide for a family, has no restrictions, and should be given to the bride. Some conservative families take advantage of this principle and force their daughters to marry the highest bidder for economical gain. Liberal Saudi families tend to promote the independence and freedom of choices of their daughters and rarely ask for “Mahar.”

On the issue of women drivers, liberals argue that the ban is against women’s rights that are guaranteed by Islam. The legal ban is based on conservative social and cultural reasons according to “Majlis Ash-Shura.” They add that social and cultural norms of conservatives should not be enforced upon the society through governmental regulation but should instead be self-regulated because Saudi society is diverse. Traditional conservatives continue to use their interpretation of Islam as the basis of their position. They argue that liberals are trying to westernize Islamic traditions and that current traditional values are protecting women’s dignity. Women’s dignity, according to conservatives, is her dependency on men and only protected when she stays at home, provides for her husband and raises her children. This view, however, has been debated as the divorce rate in Saudi society is about 50%, and the number of unmarried women is very high, suggesting that the current traditional dependency trend would only work against women as the need for economical and social independency is increasing. To protect women’s dignity is to promote their independence and to lift the ban on women drivers.

The ban on women drivers led to the development of personal drivers hiring practices in Saudi society. A large number of Saudi families and women tend to hire a personal driver to ease their transportation needs. While Saudi Islamic law does not ban this practice, about 23% of the population is made up of migrant workers living in Saudi Arabia. Migrants come for a variety of labor jobs from construction to personal drivers. The average migrant personal driver salary ranges from $300-$600 a month, including room and board, and is mostly transferred to the migrant’s home country. Liberals argue that the increasing number of migrants is hurting the country’s economy, as most of the money is being spent elsewhere. The practice itself is against one of the most highly held Islamic principles in the society, “Khalwa”, which segregation laws are based upon. The “Khalwa” principle declares that it is forbidden for a man and a women who are not related to be alone together. Several conservatives would rather that women drive than to be alone with a strange driver, however, the majority would support the current flawed system as the best available alternative. They believe that the current system’s positive attributes outweigh the potential negative consequences of allowing women to drive. They stress that allowing women to drive would only increase the number of social crimes, and crimes of a more serious nature, like rape and kidnapping. Illegitimate relationships between the genders is considered to be a social crime punishable by law. While the Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vices’ main job is to enforce the social code, a notable percentage of the population participates in illegitimate relationship. The current system, which is based on the “prevention” principle, is not preventing Saudi society from engaging in these practices. Liberals argue that these practices should be regulated through personal self-discipline, which could be stressed and taught in the Saudi educational system instead of governmental regulations that only enforce a strict interpretation of Islamic social behavior which several liberals do not agree with.

In conclusion, Saudi Arabian society should be aware that its social and cultural values reflect the teachings of Islam. Saudi Arabia is the only country with Islam as its constitution and is the home of the religion. As the country moves toward development and with the increasing population, the society is bound to diversify. The society should understand and respect its diversity and should stress the principle of self-regulation. Liberals believe that “prevention-based” regulations, including the ban on women drivers, should be lifted because it is against the country’s Islamic constitution and women’s rights. They stress that the society should focus on promoting a positive image of Islam by enhancing freedom rights granted by the religion and focusing on developing their country socially and economically. Ideological enforcements and “prevention” regulations have no basis in Islamic teaching and only deprive women of their basic rights.

If you are on Facebook, please join this cause: Yes 2 Women Driving In Saudi Arabia!

38 comments:

  1. I know this is a real hardship for you personally as your husband heals from his surgery. I hope that change is on the horizon. Women are valuable members of society everywhere. umm Umar

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  2. Halleluia! I agree with this young writer 100%. Let women's rights prevail in KSA!

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  3. Hi Sussie, we sympathize with you. I pray your husband recovers soon. I've been following the live debates that appear on TV between the Liberals and the Conservatives on the strict separation of men and women. To some extent l am fascinated with the wealth of Islamic knowledge a few Conservatives are blessed with, however, the Flawed part of their argument is that they hold their views from Secondary Documents which oppress the Knowledge of Revelation (the Quran). It is sad to observe that today women are Banned from Driving while in the days of the Prophet Muhammad (s.a.a.w) women used to accompany him and his men to the battlefield. It may be affirmed that whenever a Muslim society oppresses the teachings of the Knowledge of Revelation, Divine Intervention becomes imminent and history is full of such examples. It is also remarkable the indoctrination some Conservatives are consumed with and that any free will is brat. From Muscat, Oman.

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  4. I do find it unusual that a woman is allowed to be driven by a strange man from another country but not allowed to drive herself.
    Even here in my country I would not like to be in a car driven by a man unknown to me by myself yet we have no bans on anything for women in our society.

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  5. Great post! So much insight and intellect. Wonderful arguments. I've learned so much!

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  6. This just might be THE best explanation and discussion of the issue I have ever come across. Thanks so much for sharing it. Can I repost?

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  7. Good post. I would add two things- that though many families hire private drivers, the MAJORITY of women/families do NOT have drivers.

    Also, they always say the Quran is the Constitution..FYI there is an actual written document that is the Constitution. I haven't read it- it's in Arabic, but I know law students study it.

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  9. Hi Anon/UmmUmar - It is a hardship for so many women (and men too) across KSA. Women here need to be recognized as valuable contributing members of this society and given the opportunities they deserve to prove that they are capable of succeeding. Thanks.

    Hi Gigi - I think he did an outstanding job in proving his points. And just the fact that he is a young Saudi man who sees the injustice speaks volumes itself. Now if only we can get more men to support his view...

    Hi Alhamask - Thanks so much for your comment. I would love to listen to those debates, but I wouldn't be able to understand anything... (sigh)

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  10. Hi Suzanne - Forcing women into the situation of Khulwa (being alone with an unrelated man) in a car is so totally contradictory to the gender segregation in this country. I just don't get it and it really bugs me.

    Hi Angel - Thanks. I'm so proud to publish such a thoughtful and compelling argument by this incredible young man.

    Hi SGIME - I agree! We'd be honored if you report - I have emailed you the document.

    Hi Sandy - I don't know that many people here, but most of the ones I know do have their own drivers, both Saudis and Western women. I feel like one of the only ones who doesn't...

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  11. Hi FreeSpirit - Always a pleasure to hear from you. You made a couple of really interesting points there. I agree that women driving isn't the biggest issue, but it would be a start. If KSA doesn't wake up and let women take a more active role in this society, a few yrs down the road this country will be unable to sustain itself. Too many foreign workers, too much money leaving the country, oil revenues won't last forever, and half the population rendered useless - it won't work long-term.

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  12. I'm so sorry for all you're having to go through. When we were in Jordan and Egypt, some men told us that the black color was great for women because it was opaque and therefore women were a lot cooler since they were able to wear a lighter material. They inferred that it wasn't such a hard thing to be covered up. However, when we tried the abaya on, we didn't find it at all comfortable.

    I sure hope life improves for women in Saudi Arabia soon. I hope Adnan heals quickly.

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  13. hi.. im a girl who lived most of my life in Saudi Arabia..
    and i need to say this:
    yes women wish to drive.. but i have to clear up the image.. you are not looking at thee whole image.. women there are not forced to stay home.. they fo have drivers and they can go anywhere they want..
    yes there is a percentage of opressed women.. but there is a bigger musch bigger percent of free women..
    they can work, meet friends, travel and everything normally..
    they shoulf ask their garduians..but not casue they are any less of them.. its just a way of protection.. a guardian is there to protect the woman and dupport her not to opress her!!
    people there are happy living the way they fo.. im not saying that they live perfect lives.. it can be improved.. but after all is there a perfect country?? where everything is correctly balanced???
    is there??

    don't reflect only this side of Saudi Arabia.. i'm personally not Sausi but i grew uo there and i dealt with all different types of women there.. and i do know they are looking forward for improvment but they are not opressed they are not disprate anf unhappy as the rest of the world think they are...

    and when people keep stressting this point, it only reflects the bad side of Saudi Arabia.. people think we still live in the desert in tents..
    i have faced situation where people were asking if i go to school on a camel!!!!

    so. im just asking everybody to take a step backwards and look at the subject form an inner view..
    women are not missing anything there!

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  15. The new Iraqi constitution states that no law can be passed that contradicts Islam, I say this because you stated that Saudi arabia is the only country with Islam as its constitution. I admit I am no expert but it seems to me that in a way Islam is Iraqs constitition. In the past women in Iraq enjoyed more rights than women in other Arab countries and even had the personal status law passed in 1959, I believe, that guaranteed women equal rights when it came to divorce, child custody etc. The problem with their constitution is that it leaves open enormous latitude for judges etc. Depending on how the judge interprets the Quran women may not have any rights! There is no set standard of interpretation and thats the problem! It leaves interpretation of the Quran wide open. To really understand and get the truth about womens rights in Iraq you can read the book "Sisters In War". A lot of what you here in the american media about womens rights in Iraq is not true and merely propaganda by our government to make the war look good to Americans! I believe that Egypt in North africa also has a law that states that no law shall be passed that contradicts Islam! This is why separation of church and state is so important! Even in the U.S. interpretation of the bible varies greatly!

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  16. The new Iraqi constitution states that no law can be passed that contradicts Islam, I say this because you stated that Saudi arabia is the only country with Islam as its constitution. I admit I am no expert but it seems to me that in a way Islam is Iraqs constitition. In the past women in Iraq enjoyed more rights than women in other Arab countries and even had the personal status law passed in 1959, I believe, that guaranteed women equal rights when it came to divorce, child custody etc. The problem with their constitution is that it leaves open enormous latitude for judges etc. Depending on how the judge interprets the Quran women may not have any rights! There is no set standard of interpretation and thats the problem! It leaves interpretation of the Quran wide open. To really understand and get the truth about womens rights in Iraq you can read the book "Sisters In War". A lot of what you here in the american media about womens rights in Iraq is not true and merely propaganda by our government to make the war look good to Americans! I believe that Egypt in North africa also has a law that states that no law shall be passed that contradicts Islam! This is why separation of church and state is so important! Even in the U.S. interpretation of the bible varies greatly!

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  17. As an English teacher, my compliments to the young man for a well-constructed essay. I'm really impressed! I learned a lot too. I'm so glad he supports autonomy for women; it's encouraging to hear.

    A few thoughts... about unrelated male drivers, well -- it seems that when two or more groups of people are different and engaged in a power hierarchy, it's pretty easy to dehumanize the less powerful group. I'm speaking in general terms, but you can look at just about any colonial construct you want and see the same things going on -- those in power have some pretty arbitrary ideas about what constitutes rights and entitlements for the less powerful group. If those guest worker men were allowed an equally empowered identity as males (and I imagine they do not have that, as things stand) then their treatment would likely be very different. Can you imagine what might happen if those foreign males reached critical mass and somehow got a toehold in "society" legally and socially? I think what I'm saying, in a roundabout way, is that the guest worker men are not seen as really worth any trouble, because they're not really seen as men on the same level as a Saudi man. Human nature having a tendency towards convenience, the "laws" can be bent for now to accommodate what the powerful folks in society feel they need....

    Susie, I totally agree with your point that the situation in KSA, as described here and in many other respectable sources, is not sustainable. It can't last, and although I suppose over the decades it could develop in a similar way, with somewhat different infrastructures, the attitudes that promote this way of thinking are more anachronistic every day. SA will never keep step with the rest of the world, and you can fence yourself in but you can't fence the world out, etc. etc. You've said it way better than I ever could hope to say it.

    One last thing -- the "I could nevers" and the "leave hims" and the "I feel sorry for yous" drive me a little crazy by proxy, and I admire your even-handed responses. I think you've made great choices with a lot of courage and confidence, and you're entitled to your gripes. The defensive comments along the lines of "you don't tell the whole story" (no kidding) are also a little boggling. I'm so pleased and appreciative of every new post, and I'm sure I'll be reading until you quit. Best wishes to you and here's hoping for Adnan's complete and speedy recovery.

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  18. Hi Susie,

    Hope your husband is feeling better now. I lived in Saudi Arabia for around 20 years. Although I am not a Saudi, I've spent all of my childhood there and now I am in the US for grad school. I like your views/posts about women and driving. I have always wondered about these matters myself and am totally against the prohibition of women drivers. They should be allowed to drive and yes I believe that there is nothing in Islam that prevents women from driving. At least, I have not come across anything like that

    I read the part where you stated "For anyone who isn't aware, Muslim men are allowed four wives according to Islam."... I felt that a little bit of injustice was being done to what Islam actually says about this matter. What Islam actually says is "Marry woman of your choice in twos, threes, or fours, but if ye fear that ye shall not be able to deal justly, (with them), then (marry) only one' [Al-Qur'an 4:3]"... The key here is to deal with them justly, then it says that '...marry only one'. It is the only religious book that actually sets a limit to the number of wives one can have and also puts a condition of dealing justly with them IF one marries more than one wife. I personally think that happiness of your wife would be a key part of this justice. So how can a man marry another woman when his first wife is not happy with his second marriage? Muslims have used, I should rather say, abused this verse. This is not supposed to be a custom as the Muslims of today have made it. One of my friends who is from India told me that some people in India actually convert and become Muslims just so that they can marry more than 1 wife. If that's true, I believe that they are all abusing Islam.

    Moreover, what you observe and I observed in Saudi Arabia is not entirely Islamic. It's Saudi. What we see today is man's own mis/interpretation and mis/representation of what Islam says. Just wanted to share my point of view.:).. I would also like to request that whenever you say "according to Islam" pls. make sure that it is actually according to Islam and not according to Muslims.

    There is one more point that I would like to make. I worked in an engineering firm in Saudi Arabia for a while before coming here to the US. There were women who worked with us. Most of them were in the architecture department. So it's not that women are slaves or prisoners or anything like that... yes some may feel oppressed and there are areas that need to be looked at but that's just one side of the story... it's not the complete picture. I experienced both the good and the bad in SA and I experience both the good and the bad in US as well.

    I like your blog! That picture of all those skewers of kababs reminds me of shish tawouk and hummus! I miss it :)...

    Anyways, I wish you best of luck with everything. May Allah give Adnan a quick recovery. [Ameen]

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  19. Well argued article. Thanks for including this insighful opinion.

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  20. Can someone throw some light on the phenomenon of some western woman converting to islam, after they marry moslem man

    These woman are mostly christian.
    What age when they converted ?
    How many years were they married before converting.

    Did the man bring this topic before marriage ?
    Would the children be raised as exclusively moslem..

    more...

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  22. As a continuation of the excellent response to Saja,I wonder if she and I are living in the same country?

    She says "women there [in KSA] are not forced to stay home.. they have drivers and they can go anywhere they want..

    This is dangerously disingenuous. True, women are not forced to stay home, but when freedom of movement is severely limited by the availability and economics of having a driver, it is certainly a major impediment. Further, they simply cannot go anywhere they want either in terms of local or out-of-country travel. To travel out of country, a woman needs the permission of her husband or guardian. That's a fact.

    The original post goes on to say "they can work, meet friends, travel and everything normally"

    But there is nothing "normal" about having to have your husband or guardian's permission to work, and then only being allowed to work in certain industries such as teaching or healthcare, and then only being allowed to work under conditions of limited personal interaction.

    Meet friends? Sure, as long as they are female friends only.

    "They should ask their guardians..."?

    Let me tell you about an unmarried 34-year old Saudi woman whose guardian is her younger brother. This woman goes to work every day (in a hospital, of course) and attends university on some nights, but her hours away from the home are strictly regulated by her brother to the extent that her evening curfew is 8:30 pm, and if she's a minute late there is a severe cross-examining when she gets home.

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  23. A free Spirit: Do we have to take our veil to drive, I do not think so. I saw women in the U.S, in Portland Oregon driving with their face cover on !

    So, why should I take the veil off to drive?

    Sometimes, people are using our rights to stand up for false intentions. It is a war against Islam more than anything else. If you do not believe me, re-read everything and you will know that all calls will not be according to Islam but according to some people's points of view , which is totally unacceptable to me !


    ^^

    My opinion and I am totally convinced, so do not bother yourself to try to change it :)

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  24. I wonder is buying a car cheaper than riding a taxi? or paying a 600 SR monthly for a private driver?

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  25. i just wanted to thank you SOOOOOOOOO much for writing this. i am doing a paper on saudi arabia and this helped me SOOOOOOOOO much. it was really incredible. keep up the great work!

    (don't worry, you will be referenced in my paper).

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  26. An interesting stories and discussions for me who live outside Saudi Arabia. As the time goes by I believe the society will changing.

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  27. If the prohibition was really only against women driving, but women were regarded as valuable members of society who were needed in areas outside the home, other methods of transport would already be in existence. Buses, horses, camels, etc., are all methods of transport that would not require a woman to drive a vehicle. Is the law actually against any type of transport without a male present? A friend of mine who was in Jakarta said that due to the Islamic culture there, a man had to be present with her whenever she left the hotel (not matter if she was walking, riding, etc.). What she wore was important, but a woman without a man with her was considered unacceptable in public venues. This would be far more restrictive than simply being unable to drive.

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  29. To A Free Spirit- My eyes won't be covered, do I concentrate using my nose or cheeks?

    I told you my friends drive with their face covered- even in the U.S- yet Police won't bother with them at all. If they did something wrong no problem their identity will be checked - what is the problem?

    By the way it is not forbidden to check women's identity if their face is covered !

    Read about scholars who say Niqab is the better way of Hijab, then discuss such issues !

    Can you tell girls who go out half naked not to go out like that, this is also a form of fitnah, isn't it?

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  31. A free spirit- You didn't answer my question but never mind !

    I don't say that un-covering face is forbidden. It is allowed with conditions - one of the conditions is no make up !

    However, for myself I am wearing niqab by choice. I am studying, I am doing whatever I want. Yet, I don't face any problems even the slightest ones!

    My friends (ALL of them) drive and live in the U.S for tens of years and nobody bothers with them. And also they never had any car accidents (Alhamdulilah) !

    I want to keep my niqab on and I won't take it off !

    My question again to you is- Can you tell girls who go out half naked not to go out like that, this is also a form of fitnah, isn't it?

    Would you answer it?

    Please do not run away from the core issue.

    I chose to wear hijab the way I like, so why aren't you satisfied.

    I am not calling Muslim women to wear niqab, and I am not forcing them to do so. It is my own choice and I am happy with it.


    I am sorry to tell you that your information about Egypt and UAE are inaccurate.

    These countries have also thousands of women wearing niqab and also happy. They are working and having fun..!

    I do not link crimes to wearing niqab or not. I link crimes to lack of religion and faith in all societies not only Muslim society.

    I see myself more logical than you are. At least I answer all questions asked !

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  33. What happend to A Free Spirit !?

    ANyway, I came here to thank you Susie for allowing us to discuss issues on your blog :)

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  34. I know this is about driving but I can't help but post this story as it points out just how far behind the KSA is in regards to women.
    -----------
    By The Canadian Press, cbc.ca, Updated: May 2, 2010 12:56 PM

    Woman flies high as new Snowbirds leader

    Woman flies high as new Snowbirds leader

    The first female boss of the renowned Snowbirds aerobatic team walks toward her CT-114 Tutor jet and laughingly glances at the rudder to make sure it hasn't been painted pink.

    There have been rumours it might happen, jokes Lt.-Col. Maryse Carmichael.

    But the rudder isn't pink. The only thing that distinguishes this jet from a dozen or so others lined up on the tarmac are the black letters on the tail, "CO," for commanding officer.

    Carmichael will break a sky-high glass ceiling Thursday by officially taking command of the Snowbirds, becoming the first woman to lead the squadron in its 40-year history.

    "It took a little bit of time for women to become pilots [because] it's one of the non-traditional roles," Carmichael said in an interview at the base in Moose Jaw, Sask.

    "Then to gain the experience required to be in command of a squadron takes … many years."

    Carmichael is modest when talking about the groundbreaking role. She notes that while it's a first for the Snowbirds, women have already led other squadrons in the Canadian Forces.

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  35. I just have to comment on the irony here. About 20 years ago I met a Saudi woman who was an airline pilot. So she could fly the plane into and out of Saudi Arabia -but couldn't drive herself home from the airport.

    I know Prince Talal has a private pilot who is a Saudi woman as well.

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  36. LOL!!! That is just too much!

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  37. If women don't have freedom of movement it is much easier to control them!

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  38. We will not allow women to drive...

    Those who are asking for this are not more than 5% of the Saudi Community.

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