RIYADH, Saudi Arabia, Sept. 24 (UPI) -- A Saudi women’s group is picking up where others left off in 1990 -- demanding the right to drive.
An extremely strict interpretation of Islamic law has made Saudi Arabia the only country in the world where women aren't allowed to operate vehicles. Instead, wealthy women hire live-in chauffeurs, while poor women must rely on male relatives for transportation.
But a women’s group called Association for the Protection and Defense of Women's Rights in Saudi Arabia has launched a campaign against the prohibition, collecting 1,100 signatures for a petition to King Abdullah through text messages and e-mail, The Washington Post reported.
The last such protest was in 1990, when 47 women were detained for driving a convoy of cars into Riyadh. The women in that action lost their jobs and were ostracized by many friends and relatives, discouraging other women from imitating their efforts.
Members of the group said there has been something of a thaw since Sept. 11, 2001, when many Saudis were shocked to see so many of the people responsible for the terrorist attacks were from Saudi Arabia, the Post reported. That shock turned into a national reevaluation of the country’s conservative Islamic society.
While some Saudis have condemned the protest, others have voiced strong support for the women.