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Women Athletes, Women Drivers: Not In Saudi Arabia

Women Athletes, Women Drivers: Not In Saudi Arabia
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Any country participating in the 2012 Olympics must allow female athletes to participate or risk being barred from global competition. Saudi Arabia, which follows a strict Wahabi interpration of Sunni Islam that prevents women from driving, traveling on their own or seeking certain medical procedures without a male relative’s approval, is one of the last hold-outs to follow the International Olympic Committee (IOC)’s requirement regarding female athletes. With only 35 weeks before the Olympics will be held in London, Saudi Arabia has announced that women can join the team provided that they are living aboard. Currently, the Saudi government forbids women from participating in sports in state-run schools and there are no groups in the country organizing women’s sports.

18-year-old Dalma Rushdi Malhas, who lives aboard and won a bronze medal in the 2010 Singapore Youth Olympics, is the likely choice for Saudi Arabia’s Olympic team. Malhas went to the Youth Olympics at her own expense and told the Arab News:

“I didnít care much about me being there as a representative of Saudi Arabia, because anyone could probably do that. But getting a medal was the key, and thatís not easy for anyone, and I wanted that ó and only that gives recognition to my country

If Malhas does compete for Saudi Arabia, her event, equestrian competition, is far less likely to raise concerns among conservatives as riders compete fully clothed (though, of course, in pants), with only their hands and faces exposed.

Shura Report Claims Women Driving Will End Virginity

Buoyed by the Arab Spring protests, a number of Saudi women sought to defy the country’s ban on women driving by getting behind the wheel earlier this year. Some were detained and arrested for driving and one woman received a sentence of ten lashes; King Abdullah overturned the sentence. This past week, the Saudi Arabia’s legislative assembly, the Shura Council, published a report warning that women having the right to drive would mean the end of virginity in the country:

As part of his careful reform process, King Abdullah has allowed suggestions to surface that the ban might be reviewed.

This has angered the conservative religious elite – a key power base for any Saudi ruler.

Now, one of their number – well-known academic Kamal Subhi – has presented a new report to the country’s legislative assembly, the Shura.

The aim was to get it to drop plans to reconsider the ban.

The report contains graphic warnings that letting women drive would increase prostitution, pornography, homosexuality and divorce.

One woman who has been campaigning for women to have the right to drive has said that the report is “completely mad” and that the head of the Shura has said that the government is still considering lifting the ban.

Human Rights Repression

Amnesty International recently issued a†new report describing a “new wave of repression” in Saudi Arabia at the same time as, throughout the Middle East and North Africa, pro-democracy uprisings have occurred and unseated the authoritarian rulers of Tunisia, Egypt and Libya.

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Photo by Nouf AL Kinani نوف ال كناني

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115 comments

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7:35AM PDT on Jul 11, 2012

YOU KNOW WHAT, HERE I GO AGAIN. OK, LADIES IN SAUDI, HERE IS MY ADVICE TO YOU. SINCE YOUR COUNTRY MEN, WANT TO CONTROL, AND CONDEMN YOU JUST BECAUSE YOU WANT TO BE FREE LIKE THEM, KEEP YOUR LEGS CLOSED, LET THEM SCREW EACH OTHER SINCE THEY SUPPORT EACH OTHER DAMIT AND HIDE BEHIND EACH OTHER. THEY DON'T DESERVE YOUR BODY THAT'S HOW I FEEL ABOUT IT.

11:30AM PDT on Jun 20, 2012

My heart is on every woman in this earth but specially on those that live in countries where women are invisible or almost nothing, was amazed when I found a horse can be more valuable than a woman in some countries, so I made a promise to myself; I will never in my life to buy a creature that is alive, no bird, no horse, no dog, honoring the people that had been sold over the centuries, pluswill do al in my hands to stop abuse in humans or animals.

10:53AM PST on Dec 6, 2011

Oops, proof, not proff!

10:52AM PST on Dec 6, 2011

I put a lot of miles on my car in a year and I'm not getting any. Proff the theory of driving leading to promiscuity is false.

6:41AM PST on Dec 6, 2011

I cant imagine being a woman in that country. I feel for them and their children.

4:09AM PST on Dec 6, 2011

On this earth, men decided women will be their slaves. Women are their mothers, their lovers, their sisters, their daughters. Nobody is the slave of another.
I am proud to be a woman : I gave life, my body nourrished my baby. My mind and my body are full of love. One day, every woman shall be free. There is no other way for mankind. Meanwhile I send all my love to every woman of this world but especially to Arabian women.
Look up, the sky is full of stars.

1:16PM PST on Dec 5, 2011

ok

12:53PM PST on Dec 5, 2011

Saudis are certainly centuries behind time and are also totally biased against the expatriates from the poor countries where as they will lie on the floor for the richer and more powerful nations' citizens.
They would do any thing to accommodate USA and other Western personnel since they know who is keeping them in power against a great majority of Saudi population.
Their time is coming soon and will deserve nothing better than they are dishing out to the poor people of the third world nations.

10:47AM PST on Dec 5, 2011

Thank you for the article...

9:56AM PST on Dec 5, 2011

A country in dire need of power shifts.

A good book - "Reading Lolita in Tehran" - author is brilliant. It offers a great view of the people's honest reaction to these fundamentalist extremists. They see through it, they laugh, they condemn, but there always seem to be a few around to pick up and continue the ignorant social discourse. We've got the same thing here.

Hopefully these folks will get their Arab spring. There has been an awful lot of brilliance coming out of the middle east for centuries, from poets to economists. It'd be great to see a free rein over there, I think there's a powerhouse of repressed intelligence waiting for its day.

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