Saudi women do not want to drive

According to this article in Saudi News, Saudi women prefer to be ”driven around like princesses” to having to drive themselves. This however, is a very one-sided view. This view can only be upheld by women who have a personal driver. For all other women the necessity of having to hire drivers, just to be able to do their shopping, or get to their jobs, can take up most of their salary!
It is not fact that all Saudi families can employ drivers. The ban on women driving is a severe restriction on many families. Saudi women cannot do anything like shopping, dropping off the children to school, driving family members to the doctor or hospital, by themselves. Saudi women have to rely on a man to be able to get anywhere. And Saudi men have to drive the women to whatever destination they need to go to after they come home from work.

The main reason which is always stated for the ban on women driving is that women would be raped when out alone in a car, or go out to secret assignations, which would lead to ”fornication”.

Of course in any situation there are always people who like and support the status quo. And this latest article about ”women driving” cherry picks amongst the female supporters of the ban. It is bemusing though, if women are allowed to drive in Saudi Arabia, then surely only those women who really want, or need to drive would be driving, wouldn’t they?
It would not actually be enforced? Women who enjoy the sensation of being driven around like a princess could still enjoy the privilege of being dependent on a non-related male driver.
Some of the comments made by women in the article:

”When we want to go to a shopping center or to the hospital, the driver drops us at the main entrance and drives away. We don’t have to care about remembering where we parked our car or parking far away from the door,” said Zaina Al-Salem, a 29-year-old banker. “When I travel to a country where I can drive, I’m usually burdened about the part when I get to park my car and walk all the way to the store.”

Usually, only the rich and famous have their own chauffeur, but in Saudi Arabia almost everyone has one, according to Shahad Ibrahim, a college student.
“I wouldn’t want to give up on that because I feel like a princess where my driver takes me everywhere I want without complaint,” she said

”We always complain about Saudi men’s driving. What makes women better than them? At least men have been practicing this for a while, and if it happened for women then they would have zero experience,” she said. “Even the streets are not built well for driving. The streets are damaged and bumpy and most women will not be able to handle them. Saudi women don’t need to drive cars, they need to own magic carpets.”

“I had to get my window tinted so those young men would stop following me everywhere I go,” said Hala Bukhary, a 32-year-old school teacher. “To be honest I am frightened of the day where I have to drive my car all alone with all those young men following me.”

I think there’s lots of items here we can discuss. What do you think?


64 Responses

  1. hmmm…I do see many levels.

    I think the biggest change that needs to happen that will have a lasting effect is that there needs to be education of the men that women are not pieces of meat and deserve better treatment. Until Saudi starts making men responsible for their actions, women will continue to be hunted and stalked and treated like trash. It seems to me the thread that runs through all of this and so many other problems is the fact that men simply do not respect women or their right to exist without being hassled daily. Even the most strident coverings have not stopped this harrasment. They are prisoners in their own country and held hostage by mens sexual whims and have no power or law to address that issue.Women not being able to drive by fatwa or fear is a symptom of this problem.

    Secondly…in general i think women have a mellowing effect on men(usually) and if women were on the roads it might actually lead to less craziness over time as the men may think “that could be my wife or daughter” and start to take it easier. Right now it is all adrenaline and testosterone out there free on the roads. Plus they have proven that women are better drivers than men because they have much less risk taking behavior that leads to accidents. I don’t think it is a coincidence that saudi is the only country in the world where women can’t drive and which also has the highest rate of vehicular deaths…

    I don’t know why they don’t make it an option…then the princesses can remain so and those who need to drive just to do their daily errands can do so.

  2. Faced with such logic by these women – what can one say.. Good for them.
    Sometimes it’s not worth it to fight this driving issue , especially if they themselves don’t want it.

    Lets wish the princess best of luck and leave it at that 🙂

  3. Do young men still chase young women in cars? This was a huge problem for my family fifteen years ago when my daughters were teens. I don’t know how many times my husband had to exercise advanced driving skills to shake boys who tried to follow us home.

    OK, so my one daughter maybe glanced at them through the window (tantamount to encouragement), but I can’t imagine what would have happened had her whole family not been in the car with her, and Baba at the wheel.

    Having to rely on husband, driver, or taxi was so tiresome, so frustrating, and inefficient. However, given the state of mind of half the male drivers in the Kingdom, I would not want to drive myself.

    So, what needs to be changed first— driving laws that permit women drivers, or cultural attitudes that regard women mainly as sex symbols “asking for it.”? Without transformation of both conditions, women drivers will encounter more problems than they expect.

  4. Women should just get big hummers with a special feature: you can put some serious high voltage on the outside, so when a man wants to harass a woman you give them a bit of a shock and put them out of working order for an hour or so. That’l teach ’em! 👿

    Of course, teach men to have a modicum of respect for women might go a long way…

  5. MARHAM: So, what needs to be changed first— driving laws that permit women drivers, or cultural attitudes that regard women mainly as sex symbols “asking for it.”? Without transformation of both conditions, women drivers will encounter more problems than they expect.

    I agree with Marham completely. I think segregation of sexes and mahrem/custodianship of women MUST end first before the women driving issue. Rest of the issues like sexual harrasment will end soon after that.

  6. I met quite a few Saudi women and every one of them said they wished they could drive themselves and have that freedom rather than having to wait for a husband, hire a driver, etc. I experienced being trapped with my SIL when I was in KSA. She needed to get her daughter to a doctor and couldn’t find anyone to drive her. Husband away, brother at work and unreachable, neighbours drivers not available, etc. It was not a good experience for either of us and especially for me who would have easily been able to get a taxi in Canada.

  7. are the crazy men still flicking pieces of paper with messgaes at women !!! sigh.. the next time they chase some girl i hope she stops them and gives them a tight slap…
    i know i know violence never helps .. but maybe getting slapped by a woman would be a potential cure to this illness saudi men have.

  8. Since nobody would force the women to drive, the arguments seem void. In other Gulf countries women are allowed to drive by law,some drive some don’t, some drive because they want to, some drive because they have to some don’t drive because they choose not to and some are not allowed to by their families. Basically if a family didn’t want their women to drive they would be perfectly capable of not allowing it, it works for other things like studying or marriage – why would it be different for driving?

  9. as long as there are Bedouin live in our country we cant let our women drive.

    for those who dont know Bedouin ( desert-dwelling Arab ethnic group). So in order to let women drive we need first to eliminate those pple cuz we are sick of them, and since america is a professional in eliminating ppl we need to ask her for help!

    we dont want (women rape statistics) to reach the same percent as in the america ,

    in USA, every 90 seconds (every 1 minute and 30 seconds) 1 rape took place.

    and for those who say segregation is the problem, then why the rate of women rape and abuse is much higher in open societies ?

    (cultural attitudes that regard women mainly as sex symbols),,

    yo are exactly describing the west culture!


  10. I sincerely hope Mohammed’s comment was sarcastic…

  11. Fondue…

    It wasn’t…


    those things occur in Saudi it is just that no one talks about it not least of all because the woman will be punished for something that is not her fault.

    There is homosexuality in KSA both male and female due to the segregation as well. But that is also a well kept secret…it seems like the USA is far more decadent because it is an open society. In open societies we don’t hide things under the carpet or pretend they don’t happen so we can feel falsely superior like Saudis do. Instead we confront them and talk about them and try to do something about them. sometimes we succeed sometimes not, but it will never get better or be addressed without recognizing it first.

    BTW, the extreme segregation that you have in Saudi is the reason that men can’t behave themselves and act like teenagers. Because your country does not put the responsibility on the men where it belongs women have to suffer indignity every day. Here in the West, men don’t touch,fondle or lean out the cars on a regular basis and hassle women. Some are jerks but the majority are not and I never have to worry about such behavior from any man. How is it that a nonilslamic country treats their women on the street better than your country supposedly the paragon of Islam? I am talking about the woman at work, walking on the street, at the grocery store, even in a health club…the vast majority of women.So before you start talking about the West and how things are here why not look in your own backyard first. The west has always been and continues to be a much better example of the Islamic world you dream of having.

  12. @mohammed ‘why the rate of women rape and abuse is much higher in open societies’

    Because there are statistics kept in open societies. The women here can report a rape and not have to fear being imprisoned or killed for ‘fornicating’.

    So I greatly doubt that the numbers of women being sexually assaulted (unwanted groping counts) is lower in KSA.

    Do you happen to have a link that shows us the rape statistics in KSA?

  13. Are there any articles about women who don’t want to vote? LOL

  14. MOHAMMED: “we dont want (women rape statistics) to reach the same percent as in the america

    Mohammed (peace be upon you) is somewhat correct in that Darul Harbs have higher rapes per one thousand than Darul Islams. The Great Satan is at number 9 while the Muslim Vatican has the least number of reported cases. Is that because the holy land of the pure is safer?

    No, not really, Mohammed (peace be upon you). In order for a woman to claim rape in Saudi or an islamic country, she needs FOUR (yes four!) male witnesses. How often do you think a woman would claim rape there? The victim’s word is not enough. Also if an unmarried woman is raped, and comes forward with it, then she stands a good chance that her family will honor kill her, for bringing shame onto the family. Another reason is that women who report being raped are punished by flogging, or stoning, with the logic being that if they were raped by a Muslim man, then they must have provoked it.

    There are rapes, yes Mohammed (peace be upon you), yes there are rapes in saudi arabia even when the male chauvinistic society forces their women to clad in hijabs and burkas and abayas, from head to toe, for protection from sexual harrasment and rape.

    So that I don’t post too many links, just google the following of the many hundreds of stories:

    13 year old Muslim girl stoned to death for being raped

    19 year old Saudi girl punished for being gang raped

    16 year old girl punished by 101 lashings for being raped

    Filipino woman raped in Saudi Arabia

    I wish, Mohammed (peace be upon you), that you would have put your thinking hat on before putting your nimble fingers to the keyboard ….

  15. (the woman will be punished for something that is not her fault.),,

    this is what your media is telling yo ,,and as the quran says : bring your proof .

    what they dont tell yo is a news like this :

    Two Saudi police officers were beheaded by the sword on Friday after being convicted of raping a woman.. just google it to confirm ,

    what sort of punishment do rapist get in your advanced country?

    10 +years with the looney-left labour party. a room provided with a T.V and 3 meals from subway.

  16. ‘what sort of punishment do rapist get in your advanced country?’

    Certainly not barbaric, bloodthirsty ones such as yours.

  17. Even if you believe in a strict ‘eye for an eye’ you shouldn’t come up with beheading as a punishment for a rape.

  18. (she needs FOUR (yes four!) male witnesses)

    a FOUR witnesses is just taken as more evidence.

    if the court is certain that the man is guilty then four witnesses is not required.

    (The victim’s word is not enough),,,

    which country in the world consider the victim’s word is enough???????

  19. MOHAMMED: “So in order to let women drive we need first to eliminate those pple cuz we are sick of them, and since america is a professional in eliminating ppl we need to ask her for help!”

    Mohammed, I realize that you are being cute and sarcastic at the same time. But before you get overly-serious in inviting the Great Satan to eliminate the Bedouins, let’s look at some peaceful ways. So why don’t you put your thinking cap on and ponder upon what I am about to impart.

    A society of oppressed, angry, and blind followers is not the kind of society that can thrive. Blind followers worry more about survival than innovation, discovery, and research. Because Muslims are forbidden from doubt, analysis, and thinking for themselves, discussion among Muslims often deteriorates into insults and name-calling.

    The angry mind of the Arab Street values retaliation and self-pity more than finding ways to work hard for prosperity. The accumulation of centuries of intolerance to free thinking has resulted in a paralyzed brain and has killed normal initiative and innovation. Because Sharia allows no choices, people accept their destiny without trying to change it, giving in to fatalism. The expression “In Shaa Allah,” meaning “if Allah wills,” is the most commonly used expression by Muslims. Other commonly used expressions that reflect the societal fatalism: “Maktoub”— “everything is written,” and “Elquesma”—”this is my destiny or my share in life.” Society becomes fatalistic, static, stagnant, and rigid.

    Just look at the difference between Kafir India and Muslim Pakistan. While Muslim scholars are busy trying to prove to themselves and the world that all scientific discoveries and innovations were originally in the Qur’an, the Judeo-Christian cultures of the “kaf-fir” are busy doing the hard work for such scientific discoveries. Only on Arab TV can you find an actual Arab researcher defying scientific axioms by saying such outrageous things as “the earth is flat and much larger than the sun (which is also flat).” That debate actually took place in October 2007 on Al-Fayhaa Arab TV. Fadhel Al-Sa’d, an Iraqi researcher on astronomy, said, “The Qur’anic verse that I have just recited—The breadth of Paradise is as the breadth of the heavens and earth’—attests to the fact that the earth is flat.” For him, there was no further discussion since that is what the Qur’an says. Surprisingly, quite a few “good” muslims believe in such ridiculous non-sense.

    Can you, Mohammed, or anyone even imagine a Madame Curie, a Thomas Edison, the Wright Brothers, or a Sigmund Freud working their experiments in Saudi Arabia, Iran, or even less-oppressive Egypt? Working to find solutions to society’s problems cannot happen in a tightly controlled intellectual climate that prohibits questioning. That is why the Egyptian peasant’s life has not changed drastically since the time of the pharaohs. Islam has sedated them. The thought processes of a Muslim must come to a halt at every step to first check whether or not such thinking is allowed under Sharia.

    There is only one direction that a Muslim’s thought process is allowed to venture: I am right, and you are wrong; I am superior, and you are inferior; Islam and the Arab culture is the only way, and yours is evil and I must do everything I can to change you. You are sinners, and I am a Muslim—the only true religion—and through jihad I must change you; if I die without accomplishing my goal, other Muslims behind me will succeed, and I am guaranteed heaven. That is the only kind of thinking allowed.

    Dear Mohammed, let’s please pretty please hold off on killing the bedouin yet. Instead, let’s ponder and work on the ideas that I have outlined here ….

  20. Of course Mohammed was being sarcastic!
    It is well known that the bedouin women in Saudi Arabia are the only women who actually do drive!

    You see, outside the cities, where life is harsh and people really need to be practical women have always driven cars and trucks and they still do!

    When Waheja Huwaider made her driving video it was also outside in the Saudi countryside.

  21. Personlly, I see no big problem in letting women drive, in fact for me and based on Sharia or Islamic law, it is better for them to drive alone than drive with strange driver. oneday, this restriction will go and things silly like these will be from past.

    I really wonder from those who talk with no respect on Beduins. Stereotype is an indication of lack of education and lack of respect to others. I advice them to stay away from such thing, and show good mentality on this great website.

  22. Actually, mohammed, keeping real statistics and doctored statistics apart, there is a correlation between women’s status and rape and incest. That means that the lower women’s status, the more abuse, rape and incest happens. Considering the uniquely dismally low slave-status of women in Saudi Arabia I would suggest that rape, abuse and incest percentages in Saudi Arabia will be astronomical, although of course not reported, and certainly not documented.

    And we all know pedophilia is perfectly legal, with prepubescent girls being sold to old men against their will. So very sad. And in any other country these little girls would consider themselves rape victims, so i think we should add them to the numbers of raped.

    So really Mohammed, you should keep still and bow your head in shame, you have a lot to improve in your own country, a lot of women to free and protect, before you can have the temerity to point your finger at the developed world.

  23. I have recently come across this blog, and am doing general reading of previous posts.

    There are many comments, by the same individuals, repeating the same open-ended criticisms of the Islamic faith, and Muslims in general.

    Before I discuss the point above, I would like to make the following observation: anyone who has grown up in a Jewish household would know that Orthodox and extremist Jews are a very vocal and prominent group in general Jewish discourse. What you see in terms of female / male defined roles in Saudi Arabia, are also very common in many Jewish Settlements in Israel and it’s various disputed territories, and also in various Jewish households in New York City. So why is there an outrage and criticism of Saudi gender definition and segregation, and not those of Jewish Settlements?

    There is, in the Torah, Hebrew Scriptures and Jewish Jurisprudence – strong support for the type of society that you are practically seeing in Saudi Arabia.

    In relation to the select few posters, and their age old, recycled, and regurgitated criticisms of the Islamic faith – there is a fundamental error in your criticisms. This error is two fold:

    First, Islam is an extremely diverse faith and by no means a black and white monolith. On nearly every single issue: you have one scholar providing a certain opinion, and another scholar providing a very different opinion. In Saudi Arabia, scholars would advocate against female drivers, whereas in other Muslim countries it’s not an issue at all. To understand the development of such a diversity of opinion, one needs to have an intrinsic appreciation of the evolution and growth of Islam post Prophet Mohammed – and Muslims’ accomodation of new cultures and customs in their growing societies, and how these experiences shaped judicial authority.

    Secondly, when one first reads the Quran and other Islamic scriptures – you are very taken aback by verses that call on the killing of infidels, pagans etc… For shallow people, the conclusion would be Islam is violent, end of story. For those with an ounce of intellectual capacity and vigour, the next step would be analysing the historical sequence of events directly associated with the particular verse. So when the Quran states, kill the infidels, an intellectual person would know that this instruction relates to the specific group of people who orchestrated the 13 year long persecution of Muslims in Mecca. However, a better option provided to revenge of the Holocaust against Meccan Muslims is forgiveness.

    The popular media, Evangelists, Televangelists and Southern Baptists have been extremely successful in distorting public perception of Muslims – and using the same brush to paint all.

    The reality of the situation is – that Islam is diverse in it’s opinions, Muslim cultures are diverse in their practice of their faith. What is acceptable in Saudi Arabia won’t be acceptable in Indonesia, Bosnia or Daghestan.

    The Quran is a book that covers a large spectrum of issues and provides instructions on a large number of historical events. The best way to navigate the scripture, is to have the time – and intellect – to read the numerous English commentaries (not translations) that are available.

    Believe me, the most hardened anti Muslim individuals, soften up following a thorough reading.

  24. “Saudi women have to rely on a man to be able to get anywhere”~~~ Saudi women have to rely on a man for anything. Without permission from her guardian, a Saudi female does NOTHING.

  25. I think the title should more be “Saudi Women do not want to Drive Yet.” It’s a fact that outside of Riyadh the roads are in terrible shape and most drivers do not heed traffic rules and courtesy. The weather is exceedingly hot and it is a blessing not to have to run every single errand yourself. Driving should be a matter of choice after proving proficiency. The Saudi woman drivers I knew in the States are pure terrors behind the wheel. It might be something genetic but a car ride with a Saudi female driver is blood-chilling. Can you imagine this with friends and babies in the car (no car seats), i-pod blaring, cellphone calling, and the veil firmly pulled down over the eyes? I’m sure that families would insist on full-veiling as an added deterrent from being teased, honor being far more important than safety. It’s so dangerous out there as it is, lets not add another layer of threat. And as far as women driving towards dates, there is no need as dates have and always will drive towards women.

  26. David, this blog is about Saudi Arabia, and so that’s what we talk about. If you want to talk about jewish fundamntalists you should go to a blog which has that as it’s focus.
    You may not know but most of us have actually read a lot. We have also heard often enough that the transaltions are perfectly fine and the claim that one can only ”truly understand” the quran if one is learned in classical Arabic is a non-sequitur.

    My problems with Muslims is that you never the the ”moderate” muslims act against the excesses of the fundamentalist muslims. You get innocent people murdered all over the world because some nutty media whore Amreican pastor burns a quran. (one of the adviced methods to get rid of an old quran anyway) but not a peep if women get murdered, prepubescent girls get raped by geriatric ”husbands” who brought them off their parents, pre-teens dying in childbirth, apostates being murdered, gays being murdered, towers being blown up, writers and artists being threatened with death, etc etc.
    As long as Muslims show their religion and principals to be so bad, and as long as this blog is about saudi Arabia, (and consequently about Islam) you will just have to learn to live with the subject matter, or move elsewhere.
    I get the impression that you yourself have not really read the real Quran.

    And btw, what persecution in Meccah? Muslims were allowed to live and worship in Meccah, do the kaaba thing, trade and own goods, etc.
    It’s when Mohammed started to attack the caravans, and after he made a treacherous pact with the enemies of Meccah that the Muslims had to leave. And you can’t blame the Meccans for that; you can hardly expect a group of people to harbour a traitor in their very midst. And even then the Muslim were allowed to wrap up their business and take their possessions with them.
    Very different when Mohammed later took over control, after a lot of war, sneak attacks, and death and destruction. Then they showed how far less tolerant Muslims are, by forcefully ”converting” everybody to islam and forbidding anybody else from continuing the pilgrimage to the kaaba. At least in it’s original pagan belief.

    And let’s not forget that Mohammed first had his sights set on Jerusalem, and the mosques and prayers were directed to Jerusalem. only when he realized that he would not be able to conquer Jerusalem did he change the directions of the prayers to Meccah. So you see how arbitrary these things are. If Mohammed hed kept his hopes of Jerusalem up you’d be praying towards Jerusalem now. And there might still be a small group of believers of an ancient faith going on pilgrimage to the goddesses Allat, Al-Uzza and Al-Manat in an unknown small city called Meccah.

  27. ‘Believe me, the most hardened anti Muslim individuals, soften up following a thorough reading’

    David, you haven’t read much here if you didn’t know that those who are critical of Islam HAVE read and ARE knowledgeable about Islam and it’s many, varied ways of being practiced around the world. And I can honestly say that I had more respect for Muslims and Islam BEFORE my through reading so I guess that blows your theory out of the water, eh? 🙂

  28. Thank you Aafke-Art.

    Below, I address your assertions made in order of paragraphs.

    Paragraph 1 – Having significant Jewish experience for the majority of my life, I believe my comment is fair to draw attention to the double standards of people who usually comment negatively on Islam and turn a blind eye on other religions. For instance, people are very quick to say Mohammed is a pedophile because of Aisha’s age (disputed) and have no issue with the rampant instances of pedophilia in the Torah and other texts.

    Paragraph 2 – I am no scholar, as getting full academic instructions on Islam is a life long effort. However, my understanding is that translations are correct insofar that they give a ‘prima facie’ and word to word description. Commentaries are necessary to understand the gist of the scripture and it’s relevant surroundings.

    Paragraph 3 – The Saudi Arabian authority for Fatwas has issued 26 Fatwas against terrorism as at 2008. I can email you the text of these if you want.

    Paragraph 3 cont’d – I can also direct you to Fatwas against: honour killings, child marriages, female genital mutilation, opinions on apostacy and homosexual capital punishments. Further, I can direct you to Muslim groups in Egypt, Pakistan, Australia, America, UK, Malaysia etc… who have had official releases denouncing acts of terror.

    I think it’s unreasonable for Muslims to apologise for the transgressions of another Muslims, or for a Catholic to apologise for each instance of Child Abuse by another Catholic. As a general rule of thumb, one isn’t held accountable for the ills of another – and if I recollect correctly, the Quran also states something along the lines of: each soul shall be responsible for it’s own burden.

    You also need to factor in that Muslims who condemn acts of terror aren’t media sexy and it doesn’t sell papers.

    Paragraph 4 – There is no doubt there are Muslims doing some horrible things, but what you’re missing is that it is not equitable to blame all Muslims for it, or to paint them all with the same brush. Another issues is “about Saudi Arabia and consequently about Islam” – I am not sure whether you’re a keen sociologist, but again, as a general rule of thumb in academic circles, for productive discussions to take place on matters like this require the capability to differentiate culture from faith. A good way to do this is to follow this bottom line: everything Muslim isn’t Islamic, and everything Islamic isn’t Muslim.

    Paragraph 5 – I’m not sure what you mean by “the real Quran” – but I have read the version that’s available widely. I have also read three commentaries by Pickthall (UK), Ali (India), Mohsin (Saudi) – and I do feel I have a fairly good understanding of it given not being born into the faith.

    Paragraph 6 – When Prophet Mohammed proclaimed faith, the Meccan’s didn’t welcome the new belief system. As a result, there was imprisonment, torture and killings of Muslims and boycotts of their traders. This was the primary reason for seeking refuge in Medina.

    Paragraph 7 – You seem to know an awful lot about these horrible Muslims. I invite you to answer the following questions: i) Were the Caravans attacked when the Muslims were based in Mecca? ii) What were the events prior?

    Paragraph 8 – The conquest of Mecca was very swift with minimal casualties. Yes – the idols were destroyed. Throughout human history activity of this nature is very common and has been a norm when conquests take place. In the Old Testament, entire villages of goyim were burnt to the ground by the Israelites because they didn’t believe in God. The attacking of religious symbols isn’t unique to any particular group. So in this regard, Muslims may have been as ‘intolerant’ as every society at the time and before them in 7C Arabia.

    Paragraph 9 – There was no efforts for the conquest of Jerusalem at that time. I am not sure what you mean by being able to get Jerusalem. Please direct me to any scholarly sources that elaborate on your opinion.

    All in all – there are many controversial issues relating to the inception of the faith and its evolution in Arabia including killing of the Jews for Treason, destruction of Idols etc… But when you put this phase of History into the bigger picture of Christian, Jewish and general Human history and studies of expansion and conquest of empires throughout the ages – these acts were the norm across borders and only raise eyebrows when looked at them with retrospective lenses.


    D. E.

  29. @ Kinz – No, I think an even more appropriate title would be ‘SOME Saudi Women Do Not Want To Drive YET’.

    If the roads are so horrible and the unemployment rate is so high then wouldn’t the solution be to employ a bunch of people to make decent roads?

    You talk about the Saudi women drivers you have seen in the states? How were the Saudi men drivers? Because I hear that the drivers in Saudi are crazy so how do they somehow become good drivers here?

    ‘Can you imagine this with friends and babies in the car (no car seats), i-pod blaring, cellphone calling, and the veil firmly pulled down over the eyes’

    1. Make car seats REQUIRED for children
    2. Educate ALL drivers about the dangers of distracted driving.
    3. Look to France’s solution to the veil problem!

  30. ‘I believe my comment is fair to draw attention to the double standards of people who usually comment negatively on Islam and turn a blind eye on other religions’

    That comment would have been fair IF you had evidence that that was a fact here. As Aafke already told you, this blog is about Saudi Arabia and Jewish (or any other) scripture etc is rarely ever discussed and when it is it is usually by a Muslim trying to say ‘But they did it too!’ and when that happens then they are told ‘then they are bad too’!
    So your ‘double standards’ accusation is a crock!

    No one EVER asks Muslims to apologize for the actions of Muslims. That is a ridiculous idea. What some people DO ask it why is it so easy for Muslims to get up in arms and protest against someone who they think insults their religion by burning a Quran yet they can’t seem to get together to protest against the terrorists that are the worst offenders as far as insulting Islam. Do you want to talk about those that actually cheered when fellow Muslims finally managed to attack the ‘Great Satan’ on 9/11?

  31. I like hearing David’s comments.

  32. This article to me represents the very best of Saudi governmental propaganda. Arab News being a Saudi publication typically publishes a lot of hoopla to support government and their decisions. I know many many Saudi women and none of them share the opinion of these women in this article. Arab News surprisingly published a rebuttal article by a Saudi woman and I believe her opinion represents more of the majority. There will always be those against it, but I think there are more for it:

  33. Shalom David,

    First a word for you and everyone: all religions are poisonous; some are just more lethal than others. Islam is the worst of a bad lot. Islam has no redeeming qualities. Those who submit are destined to live and die in civil, economic, intellectual, and religious poverty.

    David, just take a look around. Collectively, the Islamic nations rank as the least free, least prosperous, and least enlightened places on earth. One fifth of the world’s population is responsible for over four fifths of the world’s armed conflicts. In life, Muslims are damned by a prophet whose every word and action they must emulate. In death, a demonic spirit claims their soul. And they do not suffer alone. Terror is the legacy of Islam.

    If islam is the final solution and blessing for the entire mankind and koran/muhammed is the final word/messenger, then why allah continues to bless kafirs and continues to send his wrath on his ummah?

    The religion of over a billion people isn’t something to trifle with. A little knowledge is always dangerous. A handful of quotes used out of context will do more harm than good. If you want to study what Islam has to say about Jihad, Muhammad’s indiscretions, the history and nature of Allah, or Satan’s role in establishing the religion, ultimately, It all comes down to this: the Hadith Collections of Ishaq, Tabari, Bukhari, and Muslim contain all that is known about Muhammad and his formation of Islam. If they are not accurate then Islam ceases to exist as the Qur’an is jibberish without the context and chronology they provide. No Muslim could follow the Qur’an’s command to emulate the prophet’s example. Muslims would be unable to implement the Qur’an’s incessent demands to follow and obey the messenger’s orders, as they would be unknown.

    The substance behind all five pillars vanish. But if the Hadith Collections of Ishaq, Tabari, Bukhari, and Muslim are accurate then Islam is nothing more than a sadistic fraud – a scam perpetrated by an immoral pirate, a terrorist, and warlord. Either way, Islam’s wrong.

    David, consider the following. In practice, there is no difference between worshiping no god and serving a false one. The Communist Manifesto enshrines man while Mein Kampf and the Qur’an put Satan on a pedestal. From their throne they deceive, beguiling the masses to perpetrate murder and mayhem. Draconian dictatorships are imposed. All people are indoctrinated, starting in grade school. All freedoms are obliterated. Only poverty survives. The mantra is always submit and obey. A thin veneer of order is maintained through fear.

    Now, David, ponder this deep thought. Throughout time man has demonstrated an aptitude for behaviors both heavenly and hellish. Liberals, preaching the dogma of Political Correctness, seem to believe that man can be conditioned to behave more angelically. But that is not what the empirical evidence suggests. Man indoctrinated and separated from God becomes a more demonic creature. The central-control, universal-conditioning experiment has been run in Nazi, Communist, and Islamic nations, always with the same result.

    All things we hold dear are eliminated: prosperity, liberty, justice, opportunity, and peace. Yet such nations always seem to develop the perfect culture in which to breed killers. And that isn’t easy. To corrupt men to the point that they believe it’s good to murder innocent people takes a total commitment. Schools, mosques, party councils, courtrooms, meeting halls, and media outlets must work in harmony with a singular state religotic to deceive the masses on this massive scale.

    The common denominator that makes this possible, and that makes false and atheistic poligious doctrines indistinguishable, is a liberal use of government. Individual liberty – choice – must be obliterated. Freedom is sacrificed on the altar of control. Power is concentrated and then abused by Allah’s and Muhammed’s men. The masses are discounted, emasculated, indoctrinated, and conditioned to serve the few. The victors call themselves Imams, khalifas, ayatollahs, kings, sultans, viziers, comrades and secretary generals.

    Ultimately, “good” muslims are made “bad” muslims. Deceived, they plunder and kill and behead kafirs. They mutilate and terrorize; they rob, enslave, and destroy. And they continue to do these things until someone who hasn’t been victimized, who still knows freedom, cares enough to expose them. But that’s a problem. Not enough people care. Thanks in large part to the false poligious doctrine of Political Correctness, most don’t even know what the problem is, much less how to fix it. Remember, Major Nidal, who killed 13 innocent kafirs. While all the tell-tale signs were there (“I am Allah’s soldier” on his business cards and powerpoint presentations); no one reported him because of PC issues.

    Worst of all, those in a position to make a difference are the most deceived. Media darlings and political actors are the most self-centered people on the planet. They crave attention, revel in power, and will do and say most anything if it makes them more popular. Together they are the practitioners of Political Correctness. Like you, David, dispensing a jaundiced/sanitized view of the “islam”, they inhibit free expression and thus rational thought.

    Step so much as an inch outside the constraints of the PC agenda, your character is mutilated. You’ll be raped, spit upon, and then discarded, after having been kicked and shamed by those who preach tolerance. The damage is done. The point is made. Step outside the circle and you’re burnt alive.

    David, it’s just like Islam’s carrot and stick. No matter how wrong, submission and obedience are rewarded with booty and babes. But if a Muslim steps outside the circle they’re ostracized, often murdered, and then they’re sent to hell to roast on Allah’s spit.

  34. Thank you Harry – I will read your comment in full, and reply accordingly, when I have more time. At the moment, can you tell me more about your supposed incarceration in 1945 – I’m fairly interested.


    D. E.

  35. LOL David (re: Harry’s incarceration – so very typical diversion tactic)

    But I hope you find time soon because I am very curious to see your reply to Harry’s comment.

  36. Interesting comments. I really don’t feel it’s my place to comment too much on this as I’ve never lived in KSA.

    What I can tell you, though, is that having only recently started driving regularly, I enjoy the freedom of being able to go where I want without having to rely on another person. (My late start on driving was mostly due to my travels and limited vehicle access.) I don’t care whether or not I drive or someone else drives generally speaking. However, being able to come and go as I please is easier with a car of my own.

    From what I can tell how well someone drives has nothing to do with whether they are male or female, but depends on the individual. I think with all the crazy driving (based on what I’ve heard) in KSA, I’d rather have someone else drive if and when I was there. That’s just me, though. I know a lot of women that’d rather drive in such situations.

    I have no idea how it’d work in KSA but would there be a way to re-train the muttawa to protect women drivers if and when they are allowed to drive? Since they patrol malls, why not have them patrol the streets in order to protect women there? The law and culture is so different there I’m not sure how it’d work in reality.

    AB & David,
    I too, am enjoying reading David’s comments. I think it helps to level the playing field some on this blog and provide alternative points of view.

  37. Strange One … you can’t re-train the muttawa. They ARE the problem. They don’t want to be re-trained. I’m sure if they could they’d have the women in chastity belts locked in their castles with no tv, radio or anything else that might let in a bit of education, information or pleasure.

  38. Strange One, good point! It would be brilliant if they could reprogram the muttawas to protect women instead of harass them.

    You actually touched on another point I always like to bring up. If you ahve never driven your own car you ahve no idea how it feels and what the benefits are.
    In my opinion people who have not ever owned and driven their own car for a reasonable length of time cannot have an opinion on whether they want to drive or not.
    To me these women’s opinions are completely irrelevant because they do not know what they are talking about.

    I have driven my own car for many years and I love my car. It gives me great happiness to drive on an empty highway at night with my favorite music on my player and the world to explore.
    And I love the freedom and independence and possibilities it gives me.

    And this is of course the real reason Saudis don’t want women to drive.
    Happiness, independence, freedom, possibilities… How can you keep humans as slaves and allow them these beautiful feelings?
    I don’t think Saudi women will ever be ”allowed” to drive. This discussion is moot until Saudi women have freed themselves from the shackles of slavery.

    And as we see in this interview there are always people who born into slavery, raised into slavery, and not knowing anything else than slavery, and reaping some rewards from being obedient, are quite content to be slaves.

  39. David…

    “I think it’s unreasonable for Muslims to apologise for the transgressions of another Muslims, or for a Catholic to apologise for each instance of Child Abuse by another Catholic. As a general rule of thumb, one isn’t held accountable for the ills of another – and if I recollect correctly, the Quran also states something along the lines of: each soul shall be responsible for it’s own burden.”

    Tell that to Israel… Germany and Germans who weren’t even born at the time of the Holocaust are still paying Israel reparations.

  40. Sholom Aleichem David,

    Instead of talking about the gone-by very painful year of “1945 AD”, let’s stick to the topic and let’s talk about the present more so painful year of “1432 AH”. Let me “sing” you a very lethal lullaby ….

    David, suppose you stumbled upon the Constitution of an organization in 1432 AH that was terrorizing the world. Would you ignore such a document, or would you read it? Suppose you discovered that this Constitution’s most prominent themes were pain and punishment, thievery and violence, intolerance and war. If the regime’s charter ordered its devotees to kill, plunder, and terrorize, would you sound an alarm, David?

    What if this Constitution was supported by a manifesto that contained the only authorized biography of the regime’s founder, and the first devotees of this doctrine, its co-founders, said that their leader was a sexual predator, a pirate, and a terrorist? If you found such evidence, what would you do with it? What if this leader motivated his mercenaries to murder and mayhem by allowing them to keep what they had stolen in the name of the cause – their victim’s homes, businesses, money -even their women and children?

    All right, no more hypotheticals, David. I’m going to share some passages from this Constitution – from the covenant of the world’s largest and most violent organization. I have changed the names to disguise the source without altering the message:

    “Your leader has sent you from your homes to fight for the cause. Your leader wished to confirm the truth by his words: wipe those who disagree with us out to the last. We shall terrorize everyone who is unlike us! So smite them on their necks and every joint, and incapacitate them, for they are opposed to our doctrine and our leader. Whosoever opposes our doctrine and our leader should know that we are severe in retribution. And know that one-fifth of what you acquire as booty and babes in war is for our great leader and the rest is for you. The use of such spoils is lawful and good.”

    This popular and misunderstood Constitution says:

    “Fight them till all opposition ends and only our doctrine rules. If you meet anyone who disagrees with us in battle, inflict on them such a defeat as would be a lesson for those who come after them, that they may be warned. Slaughter those who disagree with us wherever you find them. Lie in wait for them. They are specimens of foolishness. They are apes, monkeys and pigs. Punish them so that our superior dogma and leader can put them to shame. If you apprehend treachery from a people with whom we have a treaty, retaliate by breaking it off. Those who do not think like us should know that they cannot bypass our doctrine. Surely they cannot get away. Fight them until they pay a heavy tax in submission to us; how perverse are they. Our leader and his doctrine will damn them. For anyone who offends our leader or opposes our doctrine will receive a painful punishment. We will burn them alive. So prepare against them whatever arms and weaponry you can muster, that you may strike terror in the enemies of our cause!”

    This Constitution is genuine, and millions follow its message. Exposing it – understanding it – might actually save you from the wrath it inspires. The covenant goes on to say:

    “Our great leader urges all who agree with us to fight. If there are twenty among you with determination, you will vanquish two hundred; and if there are a hundred, then you will vanquish a thousand of our enemy, for they are a people devoid of understanding. Our great leader drove your enemy back in fury. He motivated our side in battle. He made their citizens flee from their homes and he terrorized them so that you killed some and made many captive. Our great leader made you inherit their lands, homes, and wealth, and gave you a country you had not traversed before.”

    David, this sounds like a terrorist manifesto – a covenant for war and genocide, does it not? Does anything this immoral, this out-of-touch with human decency, actually exist?

    If it did, and if it were this blatant, you’d expect to see its followers amassing their weaponry. You’d expect them to rise up and terrorize the world. Not only would they feel it was their duty to kill, you’d expect their fallen assassins to be immortalized – hailed as martyrs and paraded down crowded streets, banners waving, tears flowing, guns blazing, with angry diatribes spewing from hate-filled faces. You’d expect them to wage war under the guise of doctrinal supremacy, wouldn’t you? And if there were such people, our journalists and politicians would have ferreted them out, exposed them, and protected us. Right?

    Wrong! With the exception of changing the names of the perpetrators and their victims, what you read is from the actual Constitution of an enormous, rapidly growing, extremely well funded, and horrendously violent worldwide CULT.

    And as bad as that sounds, it gets worse in context. The manifesto proudly proclaims that unarmed civilians were annihilated by armed gangs. Men were decapitated on the orders of the dogma’s founder. Thousands of children were sold into slavery. Women were raped – the leader himself participating. Townships were plundered, businesses were looted, and productive assets were destroyed. The villains slept in their victims’ beds, abusing their wives and daughters. And each bloody affair was meticulously recorded by the founder’s companions and later chronicled by the regime’s most-esteemed clerics.

    Are you still awake, David?

  41. I enjoy being able to drive, but I realize others do not. As you said, those who still want their drivers to cart them around, can. Those who wish to get behind the wheel themselves would have that *choice.* Why deny the choice to others simply because you don’t want to remember where you parked your car?

  42. having to remember where a car is parked is a pretty lame excuse to me!

  43. Hi Harry – the reason why I raised your incarceration is due to the following layers: first, there’s an element of fraud which leads to the second layer, to take what you say with a fist of salt.

    Now, in relation to your first message – I reply on basis of paragraphs.

    1 – Qualities of Islam: You are by all means entitled to your opinion. I beg to differ by drawing your attention to the following verse of the scripture that I found really moving when I was still studying the religion: “O my servants who have trangressed against their souls, despair not of the mercy of God, for God forgives all sins for he is oft forgiving most merciful”. The Quran is full of instructions of this nature.

    2. I would like to question your understanding of history, in regards to paragraph 2. My understanding is from 635 to late 1700 Muslims were a formidable force in terms of economy, military, science and technology. The scientific advancement of Muslim countries has been well documented by historians across the globe. The state Muslims find themselves today is positively correlated to modern and post modern warfare including foreign occupation.

    3. The questions of why does God do this or God do that, are best directed to God. There is a widelt accepted principle across all three Abrahamic faiths, which says God puts people through trials and tribulations.

    4 and 5. As no question has been asked, there is no room for me to comment extensively, but to say, people usually accept Islam because they’re convinced by what they find in it.

    6 and remainder of paragraphs: Ibid.

    Harry, navigating your comment was somewhat difficult for a few reasons. All that you posed were statements and your opinions, or those of others, without referring to a particular source, without posing questions to be answered, without formulating your own concerns in a substantive manner.

    I have no issue with criticisms, but to solicit a comment or response from me, you will have to put forth your position and concerns in a coherent manner.


    D. E

  44. Harry – Comment 2

    Please refer to my reply to your first comment.

    You’re not producing anything substantive, your quotes aren’t referenced for me to consult etc… If you could amend and repost that would be good.

    Also, I take no offence being addressed with Hebrew greetings.


    D. E.

  45. Dearest Carol,

    For the life of me I cant understand why you allow commentors such as Harry and Aafke to post. Although Aafke is sometimes neutral or pretends to be, Harry obviously has taken Islam as an absolulute enemy. The garbage he talks about YOUR religion and Prophet (peace be upon him), are his own unfortunate opinions, and there are millions out there like him (although I highly doubt many have enough time on their hands to rant on and on about the things they hate on other peoples blogs), however Im afraid. you will be responsible before Allah s.w.t. for allowing such blasphemy here on your blog.

    Im sure you know the hadith about when seeing a fitna you have to change it with your hand, or change it with your voice or at least hate it in your heart, and that is the weakest of Iman.

    I mean come on, why not use this blog to earn reward from Allah s.w.t.? A place for dawa? This could be a place for the running charity, that follow us into the grave, something to leave behind that benefits people and as long as it does, you get the reward?

    And for anyone who wants to boo hoo hoo me about death, Im not referring to Carols cancer, she as well as all of us know we are going to die.

    Carol I constantly ask Allah s.w.t. to recover you and bless you, and accept your good deeds. If I didnt care deeply I could just let this go, but Islam orders me to speak up.

  46. Jessica, I think you drank a bit too much of the Kool-Aid.

    If Harry or anyone else says something that you believe to be wrong then you have a responsibility to correct it if you have more knowledge. If you don’t believe that then how could you believe that Carol is responsible for allowing freedom of thought and speech on her blog?

  47. Jessica, I’m going to jump in here in defense of Carol, even though I, too, am not interested in some of the comments made by the people you mentioned.

    Every religion, every culture, will have people who hate them, for various reasons, The haters are entitled to their hate. Some of them have good reasons for it. Why shouldn’t we listen to them, and find something to learn or to teach them?

    As for dawa, or reward from Allah, s.w.t., how do you know that any of us here is not benefiting in those ways, even though we are not consciously seeking to do so?

    All of us are at different stages of spiritual and emotional development. We come from origins that almost guarantee disagreement and misunderstanding when we jump in together on a blog such as this one.

    Carol was employed as a diplomat. Her skills in that area carry over into everything she does, including this blog.

    I would not permit some of these comments on my own blog, but she does, and look at the participation she enjoys!

    We’ll never make progress in world peace, tolerance, education, or anything resembling dawa until we engage all comers in dialogue, one by one, person to person.

    I encourage you to write your own blog, using the goals you mentioned. Who knows but that someone commenting here would be inspired to participate in your blog?

  48. @Freedom of Speech


    Thank you so much for defending the freedom of speech on this forum. It is indeed an honor to be on the same marquee lights as Aafke:)-

  49. I appreciate the concerns posted about some of the commentors on this blog. I think every blog which sticks to a specific issue will always have individuals who post who have their own agenda. We learn who they are and then it is up to an individual whether to respond to someone with a specific agenda to learn or perhaps try to get the person to at least see or consider alternative views.

  50. LOL! Thanks for the comic relief, Harry.

  51. i do not think allah is sitting up there making notes on who’s talking bad about whom and which religion 🙂 seriously he has much better and bigger things to do.

    there are millions of people inthis planet whose opinion contraditcs each other. one cannot go around pointing and calling them out.

    this is a blog, anyone can write their opinion irrespective of if it’s for or against any religion.
    we learn from everyone 🙂

  52. ”having to remember where a car is parked is a pretty lame excuse to me!

    I don’t know Carol, I sometimes spend long hours trying to find my car…..

  53. Ok, a few things here…

    I agree with Aafke. I have lost my car a few times, usually because I was in such a rush and didn’t bother to note where I parked; it is not pleasant but I also agree with Bedu in that it seems like a lame excuse for not wanting to have the driving ban lifted. Obviously they are among the lot who simply do not want the responsibility of driving and that’s ok but there are others who are willing to step up and do what they need to in order to free themselves from being too dependent on men.

    I have met quite a few Saudi women who do want to drive, some who are already illegally driving by dressing as men and also a few who would never think about getting behind the wheel. In my view there are two factors at play here for these women when deciding whether they are for or against this ban: their ages and the status of their families, ie, conservative or not.

    I personally am of the mind that driving should be a choice for the woman and so long as they handle themselves prudently and responsibly then their should be minimal problems. Initially I believe there may be some problems of harassment of women if the driving ban is lifted however I believe this will be a short term problem IF the government prosecutes the offenders swiftly and harshly.

    Lastly, as much as I am enjoying David’s and Dania’s comments I fear their words are falling on deaf ears. Some people just do not accept other’s beliefs, full stop. When I read the posts written by Harry and Jay especially I usually try to remind myself that there were several companions of the Prophet that previously hated him and Islam but Allah changed their hearts. I suppose there is hope to gain some sort of understanding with them if you have the wherewithal and knowledge to wade through the rubbish that these particular commenters always throw out. Though I rarely agree with anything they say, I believe it is unfair to block their comments from this blog. Nothing wrong with freedom of speech, even speech we don’t agree with but one must remember freedoms come with responsibilities. I hope they keep that in mind.

  54. Thanks for your perspectives, Rosemary.

  55. I am a Saudi women and MOST of Saudi women do not want to drive. We know what is better for our country. Driving itself is not forbbiden in Islam, but we have our reasons. I do not need to list our reasons to anyone because this is a Saudi matter, no one should ask why.

  56. woman*

  57. @Maha,
    Then you don’t have to drive. It is as simple as that. And all the poor women that need to drive can. I know many of those.

  58. Maha…you must have a very busy social life if you happen to know “most” of the women in Saudi and what they want and dont want. Wish I had that sort of time on my hands.

  59. Maha, women driving is not only a Saudi matter, as long as a good portion of Saudi Arabia’s female population come from countries other than Saudi Arabia, and nearly all of them carry licenses to drive.

    However, I understand that you resent non-Saudis who jump in and try to speak for Saudi women.

    The most you can say is that the Saudi women in your personal sphere do not want to drive.
    The rest of us need to take notice, because maybe Saudi Arabia has a “silent majority”, and maybe it, too, feels as Maha feels. Really, how can anyone know the desires of MOST Saudi women, when public expression of those desires is oppressed to the point that some women might “play it safe” and NEVER express them?

    Women living in the Kingdom have access only their own relatives, friends, and maybe colleagues. Each women’s sphere is tiny compared to “MOST Saudi women.”

  60. @Jessica,
    I want to add from further up the thread- censorship can lead to it’s own type of fitnah. It is not fitnah to create a forum for a free exchange of ideas. And I would be very careful to judge other people’s actions and level of faith, however they may seem to you. That is Allah’s job.

  61. @ David Erksson – Both my husband and I found your comments very interesting and if it is fine by you, would like to ask you a few questions and perhaps continue a dialogue with you as and when you/us have the time. Please do contact us at Thank you.

  62. […] 1 Pic: Women driver pic via Americanbedu.Com. Photo 2: Decision: King Abdullah has said in an annual speech before his advisory assembly that […]

  63. I think that women’s driving in ksa is a “Band-Aid” topic. There are other, more pressing, but related issues before women be allowed to drive:
    – observance of traffic rules and regulations
    – road conditions

    Considering KSA has one of world’s highest traffic fatality rates, making a blanket release of license to the female population is not going to help. Perhaps, a gradual process is required.

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