Monday, November 5, 2007

New Arab-English Reform Website on ‘The Arab Rosa Parks’

from Aafaq via MEMRI

"On August 4, 2006, the first anniversary of King Abdullah’s accession to the throne, Ms. Wajeha Al-Huwaidar demonstrated on the causeway linking Saudi Arabia to Bahrain, carrying a sign demanding rights for women. For her actions, she was arrested and interrogated by Saudi security forces ... Recently, Ms. Al-Huwaidar has become more widely known outside Saudi Arabia, for leading the movement to abolish the Saudi ban on women driving." ... "The Saudi ban on women driving is supported by the leading officials of Wahhabi Islam, including Saudi Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdulaziz Al Al-Sheikh, who declared in a fatwa that 'a woman driving a car is in contradiction to the behavior of true Islam.' "The Wahhabi school of Islam - in most respects the strictest and most conservative of Islam's religious and legal trends - has deep roots in Saudi Arabia. The Saudi royal family (Al Sa’ud) has been closely allied with the founding family of Wahhabism (Al Aal-Sheikh) for over two centuries, when the first Saudi rulers came to power in eastern Arabia more than 100 years before the establishment of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. However, times are changing, and Saudis are increasingly chafing under old prohibitions. Even King Abdullah is reported to have expressed the view that women driving is a social issue, not a religious one.

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