I am outraged.
Two days after the King of Saudi Arabia declared that his country would no longer "marginalize" women, a Saudi woman who dared to drive her own car has been sentenced to 10 lashes.
This is barbaric and unacceptable.
Photo Credit: NPR Michael Bou-Nackie
Saudi women are denied the right to drive in this society. Some fortunate wealthier Saudi women can afford to hire drivers who are at their beck and call, but many Saudi women are not in the position to do this. Many women must depend on their husbands, fathers, or brothers to drive them to places they need to be.
This is degrading and undignified - and certainly it marginalizes women.
Men like to use the argument that women are prohibited from driving for "their own protection." After all, it is much safer for a woman to stay at home than to be out in a car where the streets are overrun with angry stressed-out testosterone driven cars. Saudi Arabia is an extreme gender segregated society. Women are not supposed to be alone with a man who is not related to them. Women who hire drivers or who take taxis are forced to be alone in a vehicle with an unrelated man. THIS IS HARAM! (Haram means forbidden, against the religion.)
King Abdullah, I beseech you - stop this barbaric madness!
Grant the women of your country their dignity. Women drive safely all over the world. Why not in Saudi Arabia? First it was Manal Al Sharif who spent 10 days in jail for driving while female. Now your country has upped the punishment to 10 lashes. Sentencing a woman to ten lashes for merely driving a car is insane. Driving a car is not a crime. What about all the little boys in your country who drive without any repercussions? Aren't they more dangerous behind the wheel than a grown woman?
This unfair, sexist and discriminatory practice against the women of Saudi Arabia must stop now! LET THE WOMEN OF SAUDI ARABIA DRIVE!!!
Ahmed Al Omran for NPR "Saudi Woman Sentenced to Lashes After Defying Driving Ban"
SaudiWoman's post "Saudi Women Driving Movement"
Washington Post: Saudi Woman Sentenced to 10 Lashes for Driving
UPDATE: Apparently King Abdullah has overturned the lashing punishment for the woman who was sentenced to 10 lashes for driving while female in Saudi Arabia.