RIYADH, SAUDI ARABIA – Saudi officials stepped up warnings on Friday over plans by women to challenge the male-only driving rules in the ultraconservative kingdom, saying that even online support for the protest could bring arrest.
The warnings came on the eve of the planned protest by Saudi women activists who have obtained driver's licenses abroad. The Internet has been a key tool in reaching out to international media and organizing the demonstration, similar to one staged last year by a small group of women.
Though no specific Saudi law bans women from driving, the rules are enforced by Saudi clerics who hold far-reaching influence over the ruling monarchy and give it political legitimacy.
Mention of the strict Saudi laws against online political dissent significantly broadens the possible fallout from the expected campaign by Saudi women, who have pledged to get behind the wheel on Saturday in defiance of Saudi traditions enforced by the nation's powerful Islamic religious establishment.
Friday's edition of the pan-Arab newspaper Al-Hayat quotes Saudi Interior Ministry spokesman Turki al-Faisal as saying cyber-laws could apply to anyone supporting the women driving campaign.
Conviction can bring up to five-year prison sentences and stiff fines, the article quoted a Saudi consultant on cyber laws, Marwan al-Ruwqi. (Continue Reading.)
Friday, October 25, 2013
Saudi Leaders Threaten Women Over Planned Protest
Notice that women in the Muslim world must constantly appeal to the international community to win their rights. Why? Because change in Islam never comes from within.