October 24, 2014
Saudi Arabia Warns Women Not To Protest Driving Ban

Saudi Arabia is warning women im their country not to protest the ban on female drivers.

In a statement released by the Interior Ministry for Saudi Arabia, Saudi officials warned that they would punish women who attempt to drive in their country as well as the men who allowed them to do so.

"Female drivers in Saudi Arabia will be dealt with strictly. The ministry will apply regulations firmly against those who violate the country's laws."

The warning comes as the one year anniversary of a protest on Saudi Arabia's driving ban for women approaches. Last year, on October 26, a similar protest occurred and, like this year, women were encouraged to photograph themselves driving all over various parts of Saudi Arabia and to post them on social media websites. However, women who do so could face serious social and legal problems under the current laws in Saudi Arabia which strictly prohibit women from getting behind the wheel. Over a dozen women were arrested for taking part in previous protests in Saudi Arabia, and authorities are expected to deal even more harshly with violators of the Saudi driving ban this year.

In additional emphasis to curb the protests, Saudi Arabia will also be targeting the men who enable women to violate the driving ban, stating that they would take action against anyone who "contributes in any manner or by any acts, towards providing violators with the opportunity to undermine the social cohesion."

The same sentiment about "social cohesion" in Saudi Arabia was again echoed when the spokesman for Saudi Arabia's Ministry of the Interior, Major General Mansour Al-Turki, was quoted by an Arab news site warning women not to drive because it would "undermine the Kingdom's social cohesion by spreading discord."

Last year, before the scheduled protests in Saudi Arabia, Saleh Bin Saad Al-Luhaydan, who served as the Private Attorney General and the Psychological Advisor of the Psychological Association in the Gulf states, warned women that driving could have severe consequences for them not only legally, but he also claimed "that it automatically affects ovaries and rolls up the pelvis. This is why we find for women who continuously drive cars their children are born with clinical disorders of varying degrees."

In spite of the enforcement of Shariah law in Saudi Arabia, their history of beheading, and various violations of women's rights, Saudi Arabia was given a seat on the Human Rights Council by the United Nations even though human rights activist and women's rights groups around the world have called upon Saudi Arabia to provide more humane treatment for the women in their country.

Image Source: Reuters