As the world prepares for the 2012 Olympics, the Saudi government is systematically discriminating against women in sports and physical education, and has never sent a female athlete to the Olympics, with no penalty from the international Olympic authorities, Human Rights Watch said in a new report released today. Human Rights Watch called on the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to make ending discrimination against women in sports in the kingdom a condition for Saudi Arabia’s participation in Olympic sporting events, including the 2012 London Games.
I realize that this is another very sensitive subject, but I would like to make an important point in order to dispel any confusion or misunderstanding. When I discuss a matter having religious implications, I do not mean to criticize the divine Islamic religion itself nor the positive achievements realized by Saudi Arabia, of which I can only express admiration, respect and my sincere devotion. However, I will criticize the wrongful practice of the religion when it betrays Islam's fundamental principle of human rights.
Wajeha al-Huwaider is perhaps the best-known Saudi campaigner for women’s rights, human rights and democracy. She has protested energetically against the kingdom’s lack of formal laws (the Koran is it) and basic freedoms and in particular against the guardianship system, under which every female, from birth to death, needs the permission of a male relative to make decisions in all important areas of life—education, travel, marriage, employment, finances, even surgery. In 2008 a video of her driving a car, which is forbidden for women in Saudi Arabia, created a sensation when it was posted on YouTube. Al-Huwaider is a strong supporter of the June 17 Movement, which calls on Saudi women to start driving on that date, and made the celebrated YouTube video of its co-founder, Manal al-Sherif, jailed for nine days in May for driving. While this interview was in preparation, she was briefly detained by the police when she tried to visit Nathalie Morin, a French-Canadian woman held captive with her children by her Saudi husband.
The Violence is Not our Culture (VNC) Campaign welcomes long awaited and recent reforms announced by King Abdullah Bin-Abd-al-Aziz Al Saud, that promise to gives Saudi Arabian women the rights to vote and run for office in municipal council elections, and to become full voting members of the next Shura council. The promise to increase women’s participation in civic life is a tribute to women’s efforts on the ground who have been campaigning inside the country, despite strict and rigid opposition.
AL-KHOBAR — In view of the popular campaign for allowing women to drive in the Kingdom, the Shoura Council is thoroughly reconsidering the issue, said Dr. Misha’l Mamdooh Al-Ali, Chairman of the Council’s Human Rights Committee. Allowing women to drive does not conflict with Islamic law, he said, adding that the majority of people oppose women driving based on tradition and customs. “It has nothing to do with religion,” Al-Ali was quoted by Al-Hayat Arabic daily as saying.
A Saudi woman sentenced to be lashed 10 times for defying the country's ban on female drivers has had her punishment overturned by the king.
The woman, named as Shaima Jastaina and believed to be in her 30s, was found guilty of driving without permission in Jeddah in July. Her case was the first in which a legal punishment was handed down for a violation of the ban in the ultraconservative Muslim nation.
A Saudi woman has been sentenced to be lashed 10 times with a whip for defying the kingdom's prohibition on female drivers. It is the first time a legal punishment has been handed down for a violation of the longtime ban in the ultraconservative Muslim nation. Police usually stop female drivers, question them and let them go after they sign a pledge not to drive again. But dozens of women have continued to take to the roads since June in a campaign to break the taboo.
Women in Saudi Arabia will be given the right to vote and to stand for election within four years, King Abdullah announced on Sunday, in a cultural shift that appears to mark a new era in the rigidly conservative Islamic kingdom.
The right to vote in council elections will not take effect until 2015, and women will still be banned from casting ballots in elections this Thursday.
However, the 87-year-old monarch has invited women to take part in the next shura council, a governing body that supervises legislation.
The freedom to drive is rarely considered a human right, or even a subject worthy of a heated discussion; however, in Saudi Arabia this normal daily activity has been the source of mass debate amongst the population because it happens to be the only country in the world which prohibits women from driving. On Friday 17th of June, approximately 45 women decided to defy the driving ban by driving in cities across the country. They also documented their defiant actions by taking videos and pictures and posting these online. The campaign called Women 2 Drive (W2D) and was launched via the internet - through social media sites such as twitter, youtube and facebook - by a group of Saudi Arabian women. W2D encourages women with an international driving license to use their right to drive, and to do so in the cities where they can be publically seen to be defying the ban.
مضى أكثر من ست سنوات ولم نشهد من حينها بحثاً أو مراجعة للموقف الشرعي من قضية قيادة المرأة السيارة! على رغم الضرورة والحاجة الملحة في مراجعة وإيضاح الموقف الشرعي والتي كان من المفترض أيضاً أن تكون سابقة لذلك الوقت، ولعلي أشير هنا إلى ما ذكره مدير إدارة البحوث والدراسات في مجلس الشورى الدكتور حمد العسعوس حين قال: كنا في زيارة لبلجيكا بمعية وفد من مجلس الشورى برئاسة رئيس مجلس الشورى آنذاك وعضو هيئة كبار العلماء الشيخ محمد بن جبير - رحمه الله – وأثيرت قضية قيادة المرأة السعودية السيارة، وحينها اندفع أحد أعضاء المجلس ضد مبدأ قيادة المرأة، وبرر موقفه بأن هناك فتوى صادرة من هيئة كبار العلماء بتحريم قيادة المرأة السيارة، فرد عليه الشيخ ابن جبير قائلاً: فتوى التحريم لم تصدر عن هيئة كبار العلماء. وإنما أصدرها عالم واحد، وكانت عبارة عن ردة فعل للمظاهرة التي حدثت في الرياض وأضاف قائلاً بأن ركوب المرأة بمفردها مع السائق الأجنبي أخطر عليها من قيادتها السيارة بنفسها».