Friday, October 25, 2013

World News: It's almost 2014 and Saudi women still can't drive

Women in Saudi Arabia are more than ready for a change, challenging the male-only driving rules in the conservative kingdom even though online support for protests could bring arrests.

The warnings came on the eve of the planned protest by Saudi women activists who have obtained driver's licenses abroad, according to the Associated Press. The Internet has been a key tool in reaching out to international media and organizing the demonstration similar to one staged by last year by a small group of women.

No specific law bans Saudi women from driving but the rules are enforced by Saudi leaders with far-reaching influence over the monarchy there. But Saudi women aren't discouraged and pledge to get behind the wheel tomorrow in defiance of Saudi traditions enforced by the nation's Islamic religious establishment. 

Supporting the campaign can bring a conviction carrying a five-year prison sentence and stiff fines, according to an article in the Arab newspaper Al-Hayat. Saudi Arabia has adopted reforms in recent years, including allowing women to sit on the national advisory council and permitting women to vote and run in municipal elections in 2015. But leaders refuse to repeal the driving ban because a woman has to get a man's permission to travel.

And, the AP reported that the main website of the women driving the effort,, was blocked early this morning and replaced with the message, "Drop the leadership of Saudi women."

Crazy, right?

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