Saudi Arabia has yet again come up with a ridiculous reason to keep women from driving. This time it’s the Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdul Aziz bin-Abdullah al-Sheikh who has claimed that the act would "expose them to evil."
Lest anyone take lightly the dangers of women driving, he went on to explain the dangers in detail, including "obsessed" men with "weak spirits" causing female drivers harm. Then of course, there is family to think of — they "would not know where they were."
Well, one can say he only has the women’s best interests and welfare at heart. Quite like one of his brethren Sheikh Saleh bin Saad al-Lohaidan who not long ago, declared, "If a woman drives a car, not out of pure necessity, that could have negative physiological impacts as functional and physiological medical studies show that it automatically affects the ovaries and pushes the pelvis upwards."
Not long ago, a prominent campaigner for women’s right to drive, Loujain al-Hathloul was jailed for 10 weeks after violating the ban by driving from the United Arab Emirates to the Saudi border.
She was however, able to run in the elections in 2015. Of the 7,000 candidates participating in the historic elections, almost 900 were women.
Although Saudi officials initially blackballed her, she was able to clear her name for the ballot in a surprising reversal.
Many believe that it was the pressure of the social media frenzy caused by the supporters of the activist that made the government officials change their decision.
It is interesting to know that the Saudi government does allow women to ride motorbikes and bicycles — with a few well intentioned restrictions, of course.
Every now and then, Saudis even let their women get away with things like voting and flying an airplane. But when it comes to driving a car, they can’t just wrap their heads around the notion.