Saudi Arabia/USA: Are Saudi Female Drivers a Threat? Ask the State of Arkansas.

Yes; it is true.  In Saudi Arabia women are prohibited by law from driving.  However, that does not mean a Saudi woman can’t obtain an international driving license or drive when she is outside of the Kingdom.

It’s not as if women haven’t attempted to drive in the Kingdom in spite of the law.  The first group of women who attempted to change the law was back in 1991.  At that time American troops (to include female soldiers) were posted in Saudi Arabia.  The Saudi people witnessed female soldiers in their uniform and in some cases in their official vehicles.  As a result a group of courageous women from Riyadh decided to test the waters and take to the streets.  Sadly, the timing was not right and the women as well as their families faced consequences.

Saudi female activist Wajeha Al-Huwaider was next in the forefront on seeking the right for women to drive in the Kingdom.  She made a video of herself speaking of human rights while driving a car within the Kingdom.

Most recently in May 2011, it was Manal Al Sherif, a Saudi mother, who initiated a Kingdom wide campaign encouraging women to have videos made while driving in the Kingdom.  She was arrested (and subsequently released) for her efforts.

Therefore it should not be surprising that Saudi women may specifically seek out driving schools when they are outside of the Kingdom.  They wish to learn how to operate a vehicle and obtain an international drivers license.  Many of these women believe that in time they will have the right to drive within the Kingdom.

A driving school in the state of Arkansas received a query from the Saudi Students Association at the University of Arkansas.  The query was an expression of interest from 20 Saudi female students who wished to receivie driving lessons.  Due to the nationality of the students and the number of students seeking lessons the driving school considered the request a security threat.  Thankfully the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management did not view the query as a threat and in fact endorsed that all people should get driving lessons.


17 Responses

  1. I will stand up for ANY PERSON who has the physical, mental and emotional ability to more their life forward. I feel if the women are in a place in their lives to make a CHANGE and MOVE forward, then by all means do so. In the states ALL have FREEDOM unless they have done something to have their FREEDOM to be removed. I applaud their courage to ASK, for a CLASS on DRIVING, that gives them more FREEDOM than many will ever know. It opens a WORLD to them, surpassing generations of females in their own family. They WILL accomplish not only the skills of driving, but the skills and affirmations of a positive step into the world among them.
    Perhaps they may not drive within the Kingdom at this time, However they will BE ABLE to drive in other parts of the world. Above all, they will KNOW DEEP DOWN IN THEIR SOUL……where some where they may be MANDATED not to do….THEY have the ABILITY to OVERCOME and strive for ANYTHING THEY WANT for their own future…. CHOICE is AMAZING, and NOT MATTER what ANY MAN may SAY…..SHE will KNOW…its a CHOICE……


  2. Thanks to BEDU.
    I know only that Driving for women is not forbiden in ISLAM.

  3. You’re welcome, Sami.

    It’s a cultural restriction and law.

  4. In Saudi Arabia that is…

  5. Arkansas is just…strange.

  6. The article is certainly entertaining!

  7. This is getting so much ridicules. I was born in KSA and I have been living here since then. the things, and i’m not afraid to say this, they are mentally ill.
    i’ve been in Yemen for 5 years, and its people are not much different from saudis from religious practising. their women have been driving cars since ages, covered fully in hijab and niqab, and no one says a word about it . I belive yemen is more balanced religious community than ksa ever. KSA people need to get over it.
    saudis are just afraid that they go sexually insane once women have a little freedom.

  8. I’m glad cooler heads prevailed!

  9. American BEDU @october 11.
    Any Islamic Decree you can qoute? KSA decisions are not always Islamic.

  10. Man made Culture and LAW is not always Islamic decree.

  11. @sami – it doesnt matter if it is islamic or not, women in saudi cannot drive. why that is is not the point .. women have tried to drive since it’s NO law aginst it and have beenarrested and punished. so irrespective of if saudi is islamic or not. they have a bad rule.

  12. Arkansas demonstrates typical American paranoia when it comes to Muslims. 🙂

  13. If man made rules are not islamic we can not BLAME ISLAM>

  14. Respect and observe the law of the country.

  15. You made your point, Sami. The law which prohibits women from driving is Saudi law (as well as culture). However, since Saudi follows Sharia (Islamic law) it can be confusing. But we know that many Muslim women do drive in other Muslim countries.

  16. I agree with you that women are driving in other muslim countries, because their LAW is different (NOT SHARIA). You want the Law in KSA to be changed, yes O K It depends upon the their culture and circumstances.

  17. i didnt really understand does anyone really know what happens to women who are caught driving and what are the consequences? Do they get killed? Do they get murder?

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