RIYADH – "We just want to enjoy the right to drive, like all women in the world..."
This request is clear, and it is set to be made -- once again -- directly to King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia. One year after the launching of a campaign entitled "Women 2 Drive," Saudi Arabia women presented a new online petition this week to claim the right to drive.
Although the Koran does not forbid women from driving, Saudi Arabia has based their ban on a fatwa from powerful conservative religious leaders. Saudi Arabia, an ultraconservative Islamic kingdom, is the only country in the world that forbids women from driving.
In the petition, women are also asking for "the opening of driving schools for women only, as well as the right for them to get driver licenses." In addition, they thank King Abdullah for giving them the right to vote, from 2015 onwards, while being careful to add that they don't want to "infringe any prevailing laws."
The movement started in May 2011, after Manal al-Chérif was kept in prison for 10 days for adding a video on Youtube in which she was driving (see below), the Lebanese newspaper L'Orient-Le Jour reports. Icon of "Women 2 Drive," Manal al-Chérif already signed the petition that should be handed to the King on June 17.