Saudi women getting to drive at last?

The Telegraph reports that later this year, Saudi Arabia plans to lift its longstanding prohibition on female drivers. It's anyone's guess if this is really going to happen, but the Saudi regime's reason for making the move is revealing: The move is designed to forestall campaigns for greater freedom by women, which have recently included ...

The Telegraph reports that later this year, Saudi Arabia plans to lift its longstanding prohibition on female drivers. It's anyone's guess if this is really going to happen, but the Saudi regime's reason for making the move is revealing:

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. [...]

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."

The Telegraph reports that later this year, Saudi Arabia plans to lift its longstanding prohibition on female drivers. It's anyone's guess if this is really going to happen, but the Saudi regime's reason for making the move is revealing:

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. […]

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."

Can't have that kind of uppity behavior! It'll be interesting to see how conservatives in Saudi Arabia react to this trial balloon. Last year, the kingdom's al-Watan newspaper published a letter that said, "Allowing women to drive will only bring sin… The evils it would bring – mixing between the genders, temptations, and tarnishing the reputation of devout Muslim women – outweigh the benefits."

It may be some time before the sin hits the road, though. Even if a royal decree does reverse the ban, there will be plenty of opportunities for conservatives to mount a rear-guard campaign. "Practical hurdles stopping women obtaining licences and insurance must be overcome," the Telegraph notes.

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