Head of Saudi Religious Police: “Islamic sharia does not have a text forbidding women driving”

Head of Saudi Religious Police: “Islamic sharia does not have a text forbidding women driving”

RIYADH (Reuters) – Saudi Arabia’s ban on women driving is not mandated by any text in Sharia, the Islamic legal code which forms the basis for most Saudi law, the head of its morality police told Reuters on Thursday.
Sheikh Abdulatif Al al-Sheikh stressed that he has no authority to change Saudi policy on women driving, but his comment may feed into a national discussion in Saudi Arabia, where women have in the past been arrested for defying the ban.
Although Saudi Arabia has no written legal code to go with the texts making up sharia, its police and judiciary have long enforced a prohibition on women driving, citing the country’s conservative customs.
Even without any specific law against women driving, women who defied the prohibition have been arrested by the country’s regular police department and put on trial on charges that include causing public disturbance.
“Islamic sharia does not have a text forbidding women driving,” said Al al-Sheikh, who was appointed by King Abdullah last year to head the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice, the formal name of the religious police.
King Abdullah has pushed for cautious social and economic reforms in the world’s top oil exporter, including efforts to give women a more prominent role in society.
Al al-Sheikh said that in his role as head of the morality police, he did not make policy but implemented the rules and laws of the kingdom.
He said that the morality police had not pursued or stopped any women for driving since he was made head of the organisation and said he was not aware of such cases before his appointment.
But he added that a report in the Arabic daily al-Hayat on Thursday that members of the morality police had recently been instructed not to pursue or stop women drivers in future was untrue.
“We have not given any new instructions,” he said.
Saudi Arabia’s morality police was set up as an informal institution in the 1930s to enforce public morals according to the strict interpretation of sharia in the kingdom’s official Wahhabi school of Sunni Islam.
It is now a branch of the state, with a permanent staff and annual budget. Al al-Sheikh, like its previous heads, is a religious scholar.
King Abdullah’s reform efforts, such as appointing women to the advisory Shoura Council and promoting female employment, have sometimes incurred opposition among conservatives in the country’s powerful Wahhabi clergy.
“The era of King Abdullah is an era of reform and development of all state organisations, including the Commission,” said Al al-Sheikh.
Al al-Sheikh said he has worked to improve the body’s image over the past 18 months by clamping down on members who exceed their authority and encouraging a lighter hand in its dealing with the public.
“We implement the rules strictly if the Commission people exceed their powers. We don’t allow them to interpret the law themselves,” he said.
Women’s rights groups in the conservative Islamic kingdom have been agitating for a change in the rules. In addition to being banned from driving, Saudi women must seek the approval of a male relative, known as their “guardian”, to travel, get a job, open a bank account or have some forms of elective surgery.
(Reporting by Angus McDowall; Editing by William Maclean and Sonya Hepinstall)

Source: Reuters

Science: The bikini gives women the power to change men’s perception of them to an object

And tell the believing women to reduce [some] of their vision and guard their private parts and not expose their adornment except that which [necessarily] appears thereof and to wrap [a portion of] their headcovers over their chests and not expose their adornment except to their husbands, their fathers, their husbands’ fathers, their sons, their husbands’ sons, their brothers, their brothers’ sons, their sisters’ sons, their women, that which their right hands possess, or those male attendants having no physical desire, or children who are not yet aware of the private aspects of women. And let them not stamp their feet to make known what they conceal of their adornment. And turn to Allah in repentance, all of you, O believers, that you might succeed. (Quran: Surah 24, Ayah 31)

King Abdullah decrees 20% of Shura Council to be women – Here is the list of the 150 members

Riyadh, Safar 29, 1434, Jan 11, 2013, SPA — Two royal orders, amending the Shura Council system and forming a new chamber for four Hijra years, starting the expiration of the term of office of the current Shura Council, have been issued here today.

According to the Royal Order, the Shura Council will be consisting of its Speaker and 150 members, all to be chosen by the King according to their knowledge, experience and profession, provided that women would be represented in the Council with no less than 20% of its members.

There is no Muslim marriage problem – It’s just a marriage problem

There is no Muslim marriage problem – It’s just a marriage problem

*When I say marriage problem in this post I mean the problem of finding someone to marry.

Contrary to what many believe including myself (before this post), there is no Muslim marriage problem in America, Canada and the Western world.  It’s a marriage problem.  What do I mean?  I mean it’s not exclusive to Muslims.  The entire definition and status of marriage has dramatically changed.  The economic and social factors surrounding marriage has also changed.  Marriage was in many ways an economic vehicle to help communities grow and allow them to prosper.  Now marriage is more or less a religious institution to maintain moral values. More

“The only Democracy in the Middle East”: Women not allowed to speak at conference for Women

In Jerusalem, women are voiceless at a decidedly womanly event

The controversial exclusion of women from various settings in Israel because of pressure from ultra-Orthodox Jewish leaders reached a new level this week with a major conference on gynecological advances that is permitting only males to address the audience.

The conference on “Innovations in Gynecology/Obstetrics and Halacha [Jewish law]” is being held by the Puah Institute this Wednesday in Jerusalem. It will include such topics as “ovary implants,” “how to choose a suitable contraceptive pill” and “intimacy during rocket attacks,” in which there are many qualified female professionals, but none will be permitted to speak, at least not from the podium.


Not saying Muslim countries aren’t women-friendly either (some are better than others), but Muslim countries don’t claim to be the “only Democracy in the Middle East”. Then again, Democracy in another country known as the “defender of the of the free world” pre-1900 didn’t allow Women to vote.

Just postin…