Update: Saudi Arabia: 'Shura Council Reconsidering Driving Issue'

Saudi Gazette

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.

Many Saudi women say their driving does not contradict the Shariah and there is no religious reason that prevents them from driving, he added. He said these women have appointed a lawyer to follow up the issue at the Shoura Council.

“The human rights committee is waiting for the Chairman of the Shoura Council to study the case and refer it back to the committee,” he said.

“The Shoura Council will study any issue put on the table as long as it is in the interest of citizens and residents,” he said. The Shoura Council will allow the lawyer and his female clients to attend the session when the issue is discussed, he said.

Dr. Al-Ali hoped that Sheikh Abdul Aziz Aal Al-Sheikh, the Grand Mufti of the Kingdom, and other senior Ulema (scholars) would give their opinion on the issue. “We will comply with what they say because they know better and know what is best for us.”

The Shoura Council members are studying the issue thoroughly from different social, economic and security aspects, he said.

One important goal that his committee seeks to achieve is to ensure that there are female police so that female drivers are treated with respect, he explained.