Manal al-Sharif Imprisoned For 10 More Days For Driving in Saudi Arabia

Manal al-Sharif, the Saudi woman who was arrested early Sunday morning for defying her country’s ban on women driving and calling for a June 17th “mass drive” on  Facebook, created. was supposed to be released from prison today. But authorities say that she will be held for ten more days, the Guardian reports. According to her lawyer, al-Sharif is being charged with driving “without a licence, provoking other women to do the same and provoking public opinion in Saudi Arabia”:

It is disputed by lawyers whether it is illegal for women to drive under national law but it is socially and religiously unacceptable in many quarters.

“The investigator needs another 10 days to complete his investigation,” said Al Sharif’s lawyer, Adnan Al Salah. “He will decide whether Manal is innocent and has to be released or he will refer her to the prosecution unit, a government organisation and they might refer her to a special prosecutor to deal with the case. I feel the fair and right thing would have been to release her on bail.”

Al-Sharif had also posted a video online of her driving and another video in which she described how women could participate in the June 17 protest.

The Saudi Women weblog has been updating al-Sharif’s situation:

Meanwhile the official stance is that Manal has confessed and repented. The story goes that Manal has broken down sobbingly and said that she was mislead and misinformed by a group of Saudi women, some of whom are in the USA to go ahead with the campaign and driving video. It’s also claimed that she requested that they be brought in for questioning too. Her support campaign and personal friends have denied all this and insist that Manal remains strong. Manal’s lawyer has not denied or confirmed either reports but he did make the following statement:

“My client reserves her right in not making any comment at the moment and will take legal steps against any information that goes against reporting ethics and professionalism. He added: What concerns me as a lawyer is to raise the humanitarian sense in dealing with the case until my client is able to return home.”

The Saudi Women weblog also says that the media response in Saudi Arabia has been “schizophrenic,” with some supporting the official position and others — perhaps as many as 60 columns in newspapers — calling for an end to the ban on women driving in support of al-Sharif. While ultra-conservatives describe al-Sharif as a “sinful, conspiring and malicious hypocrite” and her supporters as “evil, infidels, and licentious, conspiring, immoral people who only follow their desires and whims,” some sheikhs and even some members of the Royal family say that the ban should be lifted.

Manal al-Sharif is, says the Saudi Women weblog, a woman whom Saudi Arabia should be proud of:

She is one of the first women in the world to be a Certified Ethical Hacker–EC-Council CISSP–(ISC)² Certified ISO 27001 Implementer and Lead Auditor -BSI & ISO. She is an IT security consultant at the biggest oil company in Saudi, ARAMCO. Here is a link to an interview she did in 2007 on MBC. This is an intelligent capable woman asking for something that should have been a given; driving her own car. Shame on her for speaking out for her right. Shame on her for not putting up with 38,000 SAR (10,000$) annual tax for being a woman in Saudi. Shame on her for standing up for women much less fortunate then her, when she easily could have been quiet in her high-paying job and comfortable compound. Shame on her for being a courageous patriotic woman.

I am just inspired reading about her for speaking out, not putting up with the status quo, and driving a car.


Please sign the petition to release Manal al-Sharif and this petition to end the ban on women driving in Saudi Arabia.


Previous Care2 Coverage

Manal al-Sharif Imprisoned For Proclaiming Her Right to Drive, Protesting Saudi Driving Ban(VIDEOS)

Photo from a screenshot of a video of Manal al-Sharif driving on May 19, 2011, posted by noramist on YouTube.


Frank S.
5 years ago

Regardless, of whichever religion is in force at the time of the violation of women’s human rights, it is still disgraceful to treat women as second class citizens! Look upon the earth as far as you can see, and tell me if you see a third species of human beings apart from men and women? No, you only see men and women. Therefore any culture or nation whom discriminates against women is unjust and biased. Women have been placed by God as the co-partners of men, and should have equal rights. Any thing less, is an abomination before man and woman kind, and The Almighty God of Love and Mercy Whom Has Made Them In His Image!

Ameer T.
Ameer T.5 years ago

The point that i am trying to make with quotations from the old and new testament are simply this that you folks are blaming Islam (the religion) for the actions of Saudia (a country). As i have said in my comments below also ISLAM doesn't prohibit the women from driving or even flying airplanes which they do in most islamic countries. Saudi Arabia as a country prohibits them from doing so with a law that is specific to Saudia and not Islam.

But if you were going to attack Islam (which was a low blow) on the "old grounds" of it being a primitive religion, i have sought to demonstrate that the same could be found in christianity as well whether you practice what you preach or not, aside.

And Christ Jesus himself said that he had not come to destroy law but to fulfill it. Jesus did not say dont stone the woman, he said he who has not sinned among you should cast the first stone. Notice that Jesus did not abrogate the law with his statement. To understand his statement fully you should be familiar with the philosophy of law, which he had essentially come to restore & breathe back into the Mosiac law that was already in place. The jews were misusing the "Law" for personal gain, following it to the letter but not in spirit. And they were constantly trying to test the Christ to find an excuse to reject & shun him.

Which is more or less the same that a lot of christians are doing to islam. at the first hint of anything islamic they are there with their battering

David M.
Eva Daniher5 years ago

What was encouraging was the number of people (including men) who petitioned against her being jailed.

Ameer T.
Ameer T.5 years ago

The absence of an evidence is not evidence of absence (of rape). Because you were fortunate enough to not be harassed or (god forbid) raped doesn't mean the phenomenon is not prevalent in your part of the world.

Because criminal laws are put in place in any given country does not mean that crime is rampant in that country also. similarly having a male escort with a woman does not mean that rape is rampant in that country either. If police are patrolling where you are, what does it DECRY about the state of crime there? Presidents and dignitaries are escorted all the time, it doesn't mean that threats against them exist all the time.

Laws have many functions such as punishing the guilty and so on but they also have an important function of deterance for would be criminals. Islam recognizes that an unescorted, alone woman is more likely to be a target for rape or harassment or perhaps even an easy target for being mugged. And therefore puts in place safety proceedures and nets. prevention of a crime is sought here, not punishment after the deed and damage have been done.

To interpolate this to Egypt or Libya a country in which there is unrest would be unjust. in a state of war or unrest, laws cease to fill the function they were meant to fulfill. in times of war/ unrest killings, rapes, theft, looting and general violence are commonplace. I am not justifying these vile actions either. But you cannot blame an extraordinary situation for failure of laws.

monica r.
monica r.5 years ago

Also, all that Old Testament stuff about chastity and stoning at your fathers doorstep IS NO LONGER CODIFIED INTO LAW in any country for many a long century (well, except Muslim countries have stonings as we have seen, in their modern-day law) so that is hardly a basis for comparison. If anyone but Muslim countries, say a Christian-based nation, still did stonings, you might have something there. But nobody else still does that caveman stuff.

And JESUS stopped the woman from being stoned, so to equate stoning with Christian anything is ridiculous.

monica r.
monica r.5 years ago

Ameer T.

Well, the Old Testament can obviously be misquoted too, but the Saudi king or whoever is not using Deuteronomy or whatever to justify this.

For most of my life, I have gone about unescorted. I work in what is considered a VERY bad neighborhood, in fact crime-ridden, and I have waited on the bus after dark, completely un-robbed, un-raped, and un-hassled in any way by people who are around. I am sure a Muslim would decry just about everything there in that neighborhood, but I have never worried about being attacked, nor have I been given any reason to.

So tell me, how are Islamic states superior when I would need a male escort to stand there with me to keep me from being raped? To NEED that "protection" (or oppression) is a very poor testimony of the type of men there, that just by virtue of being female, you are clearly fair game to be raped.......

And we have heard how common this is from our sisters in Egypt, Libya, etc, etc, etc. What does this say for the men? Weak willed? Sex crazed? I would not brag about this escorting of women. It is nothing to be proud of that women are not safe without a male bodyguard.

Ameer T.
Ameer T.5 years ago

Further continued:
If a man accuses his wife of unchastity, her testimony will not be considered at all according to the Bible. The accused wife has to be subjected to a trial by ordeal. In this trial, the wife faces a complex and humiliating ritual which was supposed to prove her guilt or innocence (Num. 5:11-31). If she is found guilty after this ordeal, she will be sentenced to death. If she is found not guilty, her husband will be innocent of any wrongdoing.
Besides, if a man takes a woman as a wife and then accuses her of not being a virgin, her own testimony will not count. Her parents had to bring evidence of her virginity before the elders of the town. If the parents could not prove the innocence of their daughter, she would be stoned to death on her father's doorsteps. If the parents were able to prove her innocence, the husband would only be fined one hundred shekels of silver and he could not divorce his wife as long as he lived. (Deuteronomy 22:13-21)

Ameer T.
Ameer T.5 years ago

Continued: And what does the Bible have to say about women bearing witnesses:

It is true that the Quran has instructed the believers dealing in financial transactions to get two male witnesses or one male and two females (2:282). However, it is also true that the Quran in other situations accepts the testimony of a woman as equal to that of a man. In fact the woman's testimony can even invalidate the man's. If a man accuses his wife of unchastity, he is required by the Quran to solemnly swear five times as evidence of the wife's guilt. If the wife denies and swears similarly five times, she is not considered guilty and in either case the marriage is dissolved (24:6-11).

On the other hand, women were not allowed to bear witness in early Jewish society. The Rabbis counted women's not being able to bear witness among the nine curses inflicted upon all women because of the Fall . Women in today's Israel are not allowed to give evidence in Rabbinical courts. The Rabbis justify why women cannot bear witness by citing Genesis 18:9-16, where it is stated that Sara, Abraham's wife had lied. The Rabbis use this incident as evidence that women are unqualified to bear witness. It should be noted here that this story narrated in Genesis 18:9-16 has been mentioned more than once in the Quran without any hint of any lies by Sara (11:69-74, 51:24-30). In the Christian West, both ecclesiastical and civil law debarred women from giving testimony until late last century.

Ameer T.
Ameer T.5 years ago

Now let us see if the Bible or Christianity gives the woman more rights:

A woman must not wear men's clothing, nor a man wear women's clothing, for the Lord your God detests anyone who does this. (Deut. 22:5

There are too may preachers today that are extremely scared to touch this subject even with the proverbial ten feet pole. How to tell the mutitudes of women what not to wear?

likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire, but with what is proper for women who profess godliness—with good works. 1 Timothy 2:9-10. See also 1 Pet 3:3; Isa 3:18-23.

For if the woman be not covered, let her also be shorn: but if it be a shame for a woman to be shorn or shaven, let her be covered. 1 Corinthians 11:6

"As in all the congregations of the saints, women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the Law says. If they want to inquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church. Did the word of God originate with you? Or are you the only people it has reached?" (1 Cor. 14:33b-36 NIV).

additionally women are blamed eternally for the original sin, deemed unclean for having a girl born rather than a male child, cursed by the Bible to bear the pain of childbirth forever as a punishment etc etc.

Ameer T.
Ameer T.5 years ago

And specifically for Monica r.:

i am sorry you have chosen to make this a religious issue misquoting or quoting out of context from the Quran. However you have chosen to (Mis)quote to present an argument that women are inferiour to men or that they belong in Hell only.

A hadith by Muhammad (PBUH) states that "Paradise lies under the feet of your mother." Meaning that men can't even begin to contemplate going to heaven unless their mother is happy with them or until they have served their mother with the respect that was her due.

When asked by a companion that who is more deserving of his service and love, the prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said "your mother." He asked who next, prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said "your mother." He asked this three times adn the prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said "your mother." the fourth time the prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said "your father." This leads the jurisprudence to rule that the rights of the mother are three times more than that of the father.

And the only reason that women are given half of the inheritence is because Islam wants the man to burden the entire burden of providing for the family including the wife. So ideally a woman in Islam is not required to work (but she may if she has to) thus a woman enjoys more quality of life as given by Islam and more freedom.

If she has to leave the house Islam wants to have her protected by some male relative acting as a guardian. If that doesn't deter rape i dont know what else will.