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KSA’s Grand Mufti: ‘Female drivers not safe’
'More accidents on the road with women behind the wheel,' says Saudi Arabia's Sheikh Abdulaziz.
May 27, 2013 6:41 by Muhammad Aldalou
If Saudi Arabia – supposedly the only country in the world that prohibits females from driving – were to allow women to get behind the wheel, there would be more accidents on the road.
Hold on a minute. That is a rather bold and subjective statement to make, Kipp. How can you possibly tar all female drivers with the same brush?
Well, you can all put down your torches and pitchforks, because, luckily for us, it isn’t and never will be our opinion. We’re merely echoing the thoughts of Saudi Arabia’s Grand Mufti, Sheikh Abdulaziz, quoted during a television interview on al-Majd last week.
He goes on to insist that if women truly knew the consequences and evils of driving, they’d realise that not only is it in their best interests to not drive, but society’s as a whole. “Women driving would lead to more accidents,” he says. “When women are in danger, they don’t know how to act. How are they going to deal with accidents?”
These arguably controversial comments have become somewhat of a trade mark of the Saudi Mufti who, less than two weeks ago, condemned the use of social media and Twitter in particular; denouncing its users and describing it as a “council for jokesters”.
His comments about women driving in the Kingdom have come at a rather sensitive time; the Kingdom’s Princess Ameerah al-Taweel – married to billionaire Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal – has recently expressed her views about the advancement of women’s rights in Saudi Arabia during the World Economic Forum in Jordan, saying it is being held back because of the fear among conservative men.
“The most daunting challenge is not only the legislation, but it is the concept, the mentality [of Saudis], because we know our society is very conservative and very private. It is difficult to change concepts in Saudi Arabia to support women in the work place, or to have a larger contribution [in society],” Princess Ameerah said.
While Saudi Arabia has been, and continues to be criticized for the lack of rights and freedom for women, the Kingdom has shown signs of progress in the opposite direction. In fact, when King Abdullah appointed 30 women for the consultative Shoura Council for the first time earlier this year, it was looked at by many as a major advancement for women empowerment in the country.