Giant leap in realizing Saudi women’s aspirations


Saudi Gazette

JEDDAH — Several emirs, ministers, scholars, and senior human rights officials hailed the Saudi leadership’s historic decision to allow women to drive.

Prince Faisal Bin Khalid, emir of Asir, described the decision of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman as a landmark one which will enable Saudi women to drive cars according to prescribed Shariah and regulatory rules. He praised the decision as an important step to serve the interests of the Kingdom’s economy and development march.

Prince Hussam Bin Saud, emir of Al-Baha, said the decision would help safeguard the rights of women and fulfill their needs in line with the Shariah rules that aimed at strengthening the security of the society and the domestic economy.

Prince Fahd Bin Sultan, governor of Tabuk, thanked King Salman for issuing a royal decree to grant women license for driving.

The Shoura Council on Wednesday thanked King Salman and Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman, deputy premier and minister of defense, for their great initiative to allow women to drive cars. “The royal decree issued in this regard came as a realization of the aspirations of a large number of Saudi women to drive cars in line with the Shariah rules and legal regulations,” said Muhammad Al-Jafri, deputy president of the Council.

On behalf of Sheikh Abdullah Al-Sheikh, president of the council, all members of the council and its staff, Al-Jafri thanked the Saudi leadership for this great reform initiative.

Minister of Culture and Information Awwad Al-Awwad said the decision to allow women to drive is a historic one that comes within the wise vision of Saudi leadership for women to take their proper place and participate in development in accordance with the Shariah regulations.

“The decision affirms the continuation of reform and development process in the Kingdom in which women constitute a major part. The Kingdom’s Vision 2030 also gives top priority for women with increasing their participation in the labor market as well as developing their talent and capabilities so as enable them to have an active role in the development of the society and the economy as well,” he said.

Welcoming the decision, Muhammad Al-Issa, secretary general of the Muslim World League and member of the Council of Senior Scholars, said the leadership took the decision in a way protecting the Islamic Shariah values and ensuring that there won’t be any compromise on safeguarding these values. He noted that a small segment in the society expressed their reservations over allowing women to drive and that were based on apprehensions of safeguarding the Shariah values.

Dr. Abdullah Al-Turki, former secretary general of MWL and member of the Council of Senior Scholars, said allowing women to drive is not contradicting the principles of the Holy Qur’an and the Prophet’s Sunnah, which form the basis of the Kingdom’s constitution.

“The Saudi leadership is keen on ensuring the goodness and development of society with safeguarding the values of the religion of Islam. Social studies have confirmed that there is no harm in allowing women to drive and that this decision entails several benefits and would address many negativities as it was revealed in the studies,” he added.

On his part, Sheikh Abdullah Al-Munie, member of the Council of Senior Scholars and advisor at the Royal Court, said that the ruler can opt for what is beneficial for the society and anything that serves the public interests. There would be a condition in the regulations for allowing women to drive that it would prevent any possible negativities,” he said.

Dr. Bandar Al-Aiban, chairman of the Human Rights Commission, affirmed that the decision to allow women’s driving is culmination of women’s rights and their contribution to development. On his part, Mofleh Al-Qahtani, president of the Saudi National Society for Human Rights, said that the decision is a landmark initiative aimed at ensuring the rights of Saudi women with positive ramifications in the social, family and economic realms.

Shoura Council member Noura Al Shaaban affirmed that the decision to allow women to drive cars is a landmark one in the history of Saudi women and it keeps pace with the favorable situation prevailing in the Kingdom.