"Because in Cyberspace, no one can hear you scream."
Saturday, June 04, 2005
[Media Source*] (Hat Tip: Dhimmi Watch, Cross Posted on Blogger News)
RIYADH, Saudi Arabia - He just wanted his colleagues in the government's legislative arm to discuss the possibility of conducting a study into the feasibility of reversing the ban on women drivers, the only prohibition of its kind in the world.
But Consultative Council member Mohammad al-Zulfa's proposal has unleashed a storm in this conservative country where the subject of women drivers remains taboo.
Unfortunately it seems that al-Zulfa enraged the Saudi "religious right" and received many cell phone rings from citizens accusing him of encouraging the mixing of the sexes as well as women discarding their dark veils. While many are calling on Allah to "freeze his blood" via text messages, in the chat rooms people are claiming that Zulfa is "driven by carnal instincts with 454 horsepower."
Despite the Koran never mentioning "women drivers" (probably because they never had cars back then) they are forbidden to drive any vehicle regardless of the circumstance and must usually depend upon a male relative to take them anywhere in the country.
Conservatives, who believe women should be shielded from strange men, say driving will allow a woman to leave home whenever she pleases and go wherever she wishes. Some say it will present her with opportunities to violate Islamic law, such as exposing her eyes while driving or interacting with strange men, like police officers or mechanics.
"Driving by women leads to evil," Munir al-Shahrani wrote in a letter to the editor of the Al-Watan daily. "Can you imagine what it will be like if her car broke down? She would have to seek help from men."
Because of this factor many women have to depend upon "hired help" in order to get around sometimes.
The driving prohibition has forced families to hire live-in drivers, who, strangely, are allowed to be alone with women. Al-Zulfa said clerics have deemed this a lesser evil than driving.
Although Zulfa attached some restrictions with this new proposal (having only women over 35 or 40 drive) many women took his suggestion with much delight. Some women though lashed out against him for attempting to be a "reformer" by representing them (something they saw as evil). In either case this could be the beginning step of woman'ssuffragee in Saudi Arabia, but that may all depend upon whether or not democracy takes root in this region.
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