Hebah Ahmed on CNN InterviewMuslimMatters' Blogger, Hebah Ahmed, was recently interviewed on CNN about the ban in Saudi Arabia outlawing female drivers.  The interview was done in response to a group of Saudi women calling for a “Saudi Women's Driving Day” to protest the ban and change the law.  Apparently, a petition was created asking U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to loudly voice her support for these women.  Secretary Clinton has responded cautiously and is avoiding a direct statement in support of the protests.

CNN's In the Arena decided to explore this issue and pose the question of whether or not Secretary Hillary Clinton should publicly support the protests.  It is refreshing to see CNN, a widespread cable news network across the U.S. if not the world, repeatedly interview Hebah Ahmed, a practicing Muslim who dons the niqab, for her insight on pressing current events.  The benefits of such an interview include changing the image of Islam and Muslim women, giving Muslim women a voice, and normalizing Muslims and Islamic clothing as a part of the fabric of American multi-culturalism.

Hebah explains that although she has not been able to find Islamic evidence for forbidding women from driving, any reformation in Saudi Arabia needs to come from within.  She states that any external pressure or endorsement from influential individuals such as Secretary Hillary Clinton will be seen as a foreign intervention and resented.  Check out the interview and let us know what you think about this issue.   Since the video is not complete, here is the transcript of the beginning that was cut out.

ROMANS: The ban against women driving in Saudi Arabia dates back to a 1991 religious fatwa, a religious edict. So there's no written law against it. But in Saudi Arabia it's understood, women don't drive. All that was before the debate over women driving was brought into the spotlight last month. A Saudi woman, Manal al-Sharif, was arrested for organizing an online campaign to encourage women there to drive. Now a group is petitioning Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to speak out on their behalf. Islamic writer Hebah Ahmed says, not so fast. Change can't come — shouldn't come from the outside. She joins me now from Albuquerque.

Welcome to the program. And first, I wanted to have you in your own words explain to our viewers who can't see your face why it is that you wear the niqab. After September 11th, you made the choice, a conscious decision to do so. Explain it to us.

HEBAH AHMED, CONTRIBUTOR, “I SPEAK FOR MYSELF”: First of all, I'd like to thank you for having me on the show.

ROMANS: Sure.

AHMED: And yes, I am wearing the Islamic face veil and the reason I have chosen to cover this way is because Islamically I feel like it's something better for me in terms of my modesty and it's also my way of fighting against the systematic oppression and sexualization of women that we find in American society that tries to put a woman's value in her body.

And for me, when I'm out in public, people have to deal with my brain because I don't give them a choice.

ROMANS: OK. Well then, we've asked you — I just want you to explain it for yourself.

Here is the ending that was cut out:

ROMANS: Right and I see if you are a supporter of this inside the country some women there are clamoring for, I guess, a seal of approval from the secretary of state in this country.

Look, this is a huge country that is a powerful ally of the United States, that is a huge supplier of energy for the United States and women there are not allowed to drive.

It's something that American women, many American women, find co confounding and would like the secretary of state to weigh in on it, but I see your point that maybe the trick for the White House and for the State Department is not to rile up the Saudi elite.

AHMED: Well, also we as Americans need to have our credibility with the Middle East and the Muslim countries. When we go around judging and passing judgments based on our value systems and condemning other countries systems and cultures then we're not going to have that clout for negotiation and for credibility.

You know, we really need to stay out of other people's affairs. This isn't about evil. It's about a society changing over time. Look at the top story that you had on the show.

Our own country is still trying to figure out conservative versus liberal values and religious rights versus human rights. I mean, we haven't got it either. It's our struggle.

ROMANS: You're talk about two stories on two very different levels, two very different places in the curve of evolution there, but a point well taken. Thank you so much for joining us. Really appreciate your time tonight.

********

Let's hear from you on this issue. Should Secretary Hillary Clinton weigh in on this issue?  Is this issue one of priority for the majority of Saudi women?  How should American Muslims respond to this issue?

112 Responses

  1. Belgian brother

    The last two questions of the interviewer seem to be quite bullying. Listen to the tone of her voice…as if she’s holding her against the wall.

    Besides that, I don’t think hebab ahmed should have used the “it’s a pedestrian city” argument as it will probably be seen as trying to avoid the issue.

    Allah knows best.

    Salaam

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    • Hebah Ahmed

      Asalam Alaikum,

      They told me that since Spitzer was on vacation, this woman was going to interview me as a discussion since she is not the debate type. She caught me off guard when she started attacking and twisting everything I was saying. She came off as very accusatory. Unfortunately they did not show the end of the interview where she shows her condescension and obvious bias towards Saudi.

      I think Spitzer would have been a better, more logical, and on topic interviewer but Allah Knows best.

      I used the pedestrian issue and having drivers to prove that driving in Saudi culture holds a different value than US culture. The point is that we need cultural context and not to go in arrogantly and assume we know best. It is important for Americans to begin to see that their way is not the only way and that each culture has a right to evolve independently and on its own terms. Perhaps I could have brought this point home better.

      Jazak Allahu Khair.

      Hebah

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      • Anonymous

        Asalaamalaikum Sister Heba, I agree with you completely about looking at the issue within the cultural context. And don’t take the woman attacking you too personally, it’s commercial broadcasting and trying to create a conflict between the guest and host or among guests is part of the game (more interesting to watch/more viewers/makes more money for the network).

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      • Ibn Masood

        BarakAllahu feeki Ukhti,

        Your responses to the questions showed your knowledge, wisdom and experience. May Allah swt increase you in them. Ameen.

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      • Ibn Masood

        And protect you from Riyaa’. Ameen.

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      • Green

        May Allah reward you for your efforts. Alhumma Ameen

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      • HayatMisr

        As salaam alaikoum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh

        Love you for the sake of ALLAH,swt

        Your niqabi sister-Hayat

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      • Amazonedelaliberte

        Hello hébab,my name si Lila citar and i am the présidente of association amazones of freedom.i am in France.this organisation wants to go to the cedh for the abrogation of this liberticide law.
        Your intervention for the freedom of the women si great.
        Please hebah, Come on the web site and contact me in this mail:
        amazonedelaliberte@yahoo.fr

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  2. 'Uthmaan

    I have yet to watch the video, but I do wish to comment on the ban itself in that I have yet to find a coherent answer as to why the ban is in place. Perhaps in understanding this, we will be able to gain a better appreciation and maybe even sympathise with why the ‘Ulema in Saudi decided to issue this ruling. The phrases “fitnah” and “Sadd”l Dhara’i” (i.e. blocking the means) are as deep a justification as I’ve been able to get so far. Can somebody please settle this one and for all and detail exactly why the ban was put in place?

    On another note, I do think it’s great that sister Hebah is being given the opportunity to comment on these issues live on CNN. I do hope that her live discussions with Mona Eltahawy and now this video will help contribute to a change in the way niqabis and Muslims in general are perceived by the wider public. InshaAllah.

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    • Hebah Ahmed

      I second your hope and pray that there is widespread benefit from these interviews Insha Allah.

      I have only been able to find the same Islamic justifications as you on this issue. The Ulamaa in Saudi understand their society better than we do so its hard to try to judge from half way across the world. We can only wait and see how this will evolve Insha Allah.

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      • Hena Zuberi

        Asalamalikum Hebah,
        Kudos on holding your own!! Certainly this movement is from within, it is organic, it is needed and wanted by Saudi women. They are asking for it and are pushing the status quo. Almost two thousand of them have filed an unofficial national driving license application form.

        Furthermore, Saudi women behind the movement have asked Hilary Clinton for support- but I don’t think any outside political pressure will fare well as the reason for the prior fatwa was in some parts a reaction to the perception of Western invasion- Here is Shaykh Ibn Baz’s son on his father’s fatwa, which helped me understand the context under which this fatwa was issued.

        “My father’s fatwa came under certain circumstances a lot of people may not know about,” Sheikh Ahmad told Al-Arabiya. “At the time, in 1990 to 1991, the region was witnessing some of the most significant events since the two World Wars, with Saddam’s invasion of Kuwait and the arrival of the US army and the joint forces, and fear of an unknown future pervading the region, as well as the beginning of satellite television.”
        According to Sheikh Ahmad, these and other factors came into play when a “group of women in Riyadh got into their cars and drove and announced the breaking of restrictions imposed on them regarding driving cars.” The event caused, the Sheikh said, a “shock by any standards.”
        “That form of behavior in addressing issues and expressing opinions is not the done thing, especially by women, and goes against social customs. I’d add that the political atmosphere was charged at the time and fear was in the air, and as some would remember gas masks were being distributed.” “But more importantly than that,” Sheikh Ahmad continued, “there was the fear of internal division in facing the external enemy that was at our gates, and after what might be called the demonstration by the women came, by a day or two, the gathering of thousands of whom are known as ‘mutaawa’a’ at the front of the Dar Al-Iftaa’ while a group of scholars, my father among them, was inside.” It was in that context, Sheikh Ahmad said, that his father’s fatwa declaring the driving of cars by women as haraam was issued. “So one can’t remove fatwas from the contexts and circumstances under which they were issued,” he said

        I have been monitoring this closely and I agree that Hilary made a wise move- Saudi women need support not directives from any heads of other states- Muslim or not. They are waiting for their own government to make a decision.

        Respectfully, I do disagree with the New York comparison- the main cities in Saudi Arabia are not pedestrian at all- and public transportation is almost nonexistent. Some women may look at driving cars as ‘labor’ but no one is forcing them to drive, it is a choice that the rest of the women are asking for. Culture there has changed in the past 25- years- the ministries are working on laying out the infrastructure so this change can happen. You are right that this issue is a ‘small’ concern but this small issue is a symbol of oppression in other areas of their lives as well. I am hearing things like it is not the religious clerics who are supporting the ban but the political right businessmen who benefit from maintaining the status quo.

        Cultural sensitivity can not be used as a deterrent to our support of our Saudi sisters- this drive is a drive against all oppression. Certainly there are other battles to fight there but this could be the catalyst for positive change brought about by an agenda that is purely Saudi, and hopefully pleasing to Allah SWT.

        As Shaykh Ahmad ibn Baz says:

        “My article did not refer only to women’s driving, but also to [their other] legitimate rights, which are sometimes disregarded based on artificial and illogical arguments that drown in a sea of excuses…”

        On another note -love the purple :)

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      • Abu Sumaiyah

        Why are you so confident Saudi women are pushing against the staus quo? What is your evidence? As a resident of saudi Arabia, I have delt with Saudi women in business. They are not pushing the staus quo. In addition, my wife only has Saudi friends. None of them are pushing the staus quo either. So please provide some rationale behind such a statement. I hardly believe that this movement is from within.

        I would also disagree that Saudi is anywhere close to being pedestrianized. Such a statement shows ignorance of city life in saudi Arabia. I have been all over this country and I have not seen a single pedestrian friendly area. in fact, even the Corniche in Dammam and Khobar is not pedestrian friendly.

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      • Muslimah

        The Fatwa banning women driving was based on “the fear of internal division in facing the external enemy that was at our gates” ? ! ? ! ? ! ?

        Did Rasul Allah, sal Allahu alayhe wa salam, every make a ruling based on fear? Since when is Islam and its application fear-based? Our Fatawa should be based on The Haqq derived from Qur’an and Sunnah, and we should fear Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala alone.

        How much harm has this Fatwa caused? How many people hesitated or declined to revert to Islam because of this ruling emanating from the Haramayn, subhan Allah?

        In my Book (double entendre intended), Islam is strength-based. Takbeer!

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      • Hebah Ahmed

        Jazak Allahu Khair Sr. Hena for your insights and details to this issue. The benefit of such a blog is to expand our knowledge and educate each other.

        I made the assumption that majorly populated cities in Saudi are like many middle eastern cities such as Cairo, etc in which most people live in apt building and have shops and life essentials within walking distance and use public transport to get to jobs and other areas. I have been to Mecca, Medina, and Jeddah and have found this but perhaps I was wrong in expanding it to all cities or using the term “pedestrian”. I seem to make at least one mistake per interview so Insha Allah Khair. :)

        Are you saying most major Saudi cities are suburban?

        I think the interviewer tried to make it seem like I was denying the grassroots movement in Saudi, which I was not. Rather I took issue with her describing the movement as a “ground swell”. It is a huge deal that 2000 women have applied for licenses and I read that about 40 -50 women joined the driving day. This shows a definite internal movement and organization but I would not call it a ground swell. What happened in Egypt was a ground swell and it brought about the change. I think we need to understand the ingrained cultural norms and try to quanitfy what percent of Saudi women are really for this and that there is not a monolithic perspective on this. I think it needs to grow more before it truly fits the description of “ground swell” that the external western media is trying to portray. Allah Knows best.

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      • Carlos

        According to his son, the sheikh who issued the female driving ban fatwa was concerned about “the external enemy that was at our gates” in the period before the Gulf War. The sheikh’s son goes on to explain that “fear was in the air” and “gas masks were being distributed.” Presumably the sheikh’s son is talking about fear of Iraqi invasion. After all, it was Iraqi forces who invaded Kuwait, not Western forces. Also, it was Saddam Hussein’s regime, a known user of poison gas weaponry, who was aiming, and, later, firing Scud missles at Saudi Arabia, causing fears of gas attacks, not Western forces. In fact, correct me if I am wrong, did not the Saudi Arabian regime invite American-led forces into its territory to defend Saudi Arabia from Iraqi invasion? Was it not US Patriot missle batteries trying to knock those Saudi Arabia-bound Scuds out of the air? Was it not American soldiers dying and being wounded in order to liberate Kuwait and defend Saudi territory? So why is Hena Zuberi talking about a “perception of Western invasion?” And why would a threat from Iraq prompt a Saudi Arabian religious leader to issue a fatwa about Saudi Arabian women driving? None of this makes any rational sense. Also, if these fatwas are supposed to be based upon unchanging religous law, what do current events have to do with it?

        The fatwa against women driving seems pretty indefensible to me. It seems like at least an outspoken minority of Saudi Arabian women agree with me on that. That sounds like a grass roots movement to me, Ms. Hebah Ahmed. I agree that, barring humanitarian disasters or world security crises, the US should not interfere in the internal affairs of other countries, but the US has the right to express its opinion on human rights issues around the world, just like anyone else does. The fact that the US is a western country does not mean its opinion does not matter, or that it should be used to justify an anti-Western reaction in Saudi Arabia. As the official spokesperson of the US Government to the rest of the world, the Secretary of State is the appropriate person to deliver the official American opinion on such matters.

        By the way, I like the purple too, Ms. Ahmed. Black is a depressing color and variety is the spice of life. I would, however, prefer to see your face. It is not that I want to violate your privacy or leer at you. I am sure I could control myself. I just find masks very impersonal, arrogant, aloof and cold, and even a little menacing.

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      • Muad MZ

        Pls try to do a history search from western books if you would like on people like Saddam Hussein and other dictators who have attacked other Muslim countries. You will see that each one of these dictators were funded, supported and aided with military weapons at one time or another from America or Britain. Muslims these days make it a reason to learn their history since too many people are just saying things without learning the background of events or issues.

        I studied International Relations and Security in a British University, hence I was given all the info I know from British professors, one ex Nato General under the British forces and other well known political figures in Britain. The books that were used were either written by British or American authors. So I cant be bias when I give the facts from these sources.

        Hope you take a look at it and expand your knowledge. I used to talk without knowing the details too when I was younger, however I see the big difference on gaining knowledge about any issue before commenting or debating on it.

        Salams ;)
        muadmz@ nazaki.com

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    • A. of the Salikeen

      Salam alaikum :)

      If your read Shaikel Islam Ibn Taymiyya’s response (May Allah have mercy on him) to the ban on women driving you’ll realise that what he says applies to only a percentage of the female population. And it is true! What he says.
      However, as I mentioned it really applies to a limited percentage of women, perhaps this number is increasing nowadays, but there are a lot of women who would want to drive to be able to maybe help out their families in carrying out the daily chores (of dropping lil siblings to school, or driving to Halaqahs, driving their moms to grocery stores, etc) and that their intentions are genuine and not as a fulfilment of their ‘rights’.

      Also, my dad says this, what is the greater evil, a woman driving or a women being driven around by a Non-Mahram?

      Btw, I can’t see the video :( is there a youtube link?

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    • Ibn Masood

      Having taught Saudi Youth and spent time in the culture and with older Saudis and students of knowledge over the past year, I can understand why the ban is such a major and pivotal issue. Its best they figure it out on their own rather than us and do it at their own pace.

      Live there with your wife and interact with youth there for at least a few years and you will begin to understand that there is no easy answer to this issue.

      Sadd Adh-Dhara’i and Fitnah are theoretical terms. You have to experience the culture there to understand how they apply in Saudi Arabia.

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  3. Mouzma

    It’s great to have a sane and knowledgeable person like Hebah Ahmed represent the Muslims on an international channel like CNN Alhamdulillah. I concur with her view on this issue. :)

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    • Hebah Ahmed

      Jazak Allahu Khair. The positive support keeps me going!

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  4. Khaled

    I see that the ban (as Hebah) said is not a religious issue because nothing in Islam bans women from driving and I think that the culture ban is going to be over soon InshaAllah as more and more women start defining the ban, but I agree on the idea that Clinton should not intervene in this matter, still I think she has the right to express the american opinion in this matter just as any secretary of state comments on things happening in other places around the world.

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    • Hebah Ahmed

      According to Al Jazeera, Hilary just made the following statement about this issue: Hillary Clinton has praised Saudi women fighting for the right to drive in their country as “brave” but said it was up to Saudi society to determine the way forward. “This is not about the United States, it is not about what any of us on the outside say,” said Clinton.”It is about the women themselves and their right to raise their concerns with their own government,” she said.

      I think this is a wise diplomatic statement in line with what I was calling for in the interview. The US needs to change the image of global bully and meddler and I think Clinton gets this.

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      • Ibn Masood

        I don’t think that is due to Hilary’s foresight, she has not generally demonstrated an eager understanding of cultural relativism in earlier issues, It is probably more rather due to pressure on her to keep good diplomatic relations with Saudi Arabia.

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      • Muad MZ

        I would like the US Govt to be more forceful with Saudi Arabia simply so that the Saudi govt can have a rift with the US govt which currently seem to be an unbreakable marriage between two men (President & King).

        Ofcoz Hilary would not criticize Saudi Arabia which seems to be their most loyal ally who will stand with American forces when it comes to using its bases on Saudi soil in any attack in the middle east region. The last thing America wants is to pressure the royal family. It is not in the interest of American Foreign policy in the Middle East.

        They already lost first marriage to Ben Ali in Tunisia, second to Mubarak of Egypt, the third in Yemen does not seem to be going too well for America too. Their last and final marriage is the Saudi King.. So they need to do everything in their power to keep the Saudi rulers happy.. not the people.

        The best thing for Muslims would be a rift between them and better a full and complete divorce. It will allow the Saudi govt to stop wasting their time on impressing US and trying to learn about Islam more and becoming better Muslims inshallah.

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  5. AAL

    Masha Allah! sis Hebah’s skills cannot be matched by even Hilary Cliton or any other politician… She spoke to the point & drawing the attention to the real problems as a whole. May allah s.w.t bless her for her work & may allah s.w.t make it easy on her in reaching out to the world with the message of Islam. Ameen!

    the lady says “are you marginalizing?” unbelievable… they can twist & turn anything & no wonder why they always take things about Islam outer context.

    People might be annoyed, but Islam would always issue a fatwa with regard to any new thing that arises, even if it means about the next coming soon Iphone, or a face book… etc, whether it is haram or not to use, if its permissible how to use it according to Islam… Islam is that flexible that it takes into account any such thing & would give the best of answers which would be beneficial to human race as a whole… It doesn’t leave us hanging dry, being clueless. Alhamdulillah! it might not be what i like subjectively, Islam is objective…

    & then about the Saudi Arabia women wanting to drive, it can be can be said as a not a religious thing, if we take into fact “driving” by itself, or a “car” by itself, it has nothing to do with Islam just like a mobile or a computer by itself does not have anything to do with religion… but when it cross into circle of islam into the hands of muslims, it should also abide by islamic rules… laptop reverting into islam & also FB reverting into islam…

    allah knows the best…

    Saudi women wanting to drive is their right & if its reasonable according to their culture eventually it would happen… but like what the brother mentioned in the comment, Ulama has given reasoning etc… In sha allah hope the women would get final fatwa once & for all with an explanation that would be both good for the country as a whole…

    However, its just sad, that they asked the help from “Hilary Clinton”… just very sad, that Muslims are turning to seek protection & help from a kuffar who is putting her hands in destroying other Muslim countries. Really feel sad about this… What can she do when she can’t even voice out the rights for the Muslim women in her own country? What can she do when she can’t stop the Americans physically abusing their own women & kids (Muslim or not) every passing minute? When did she ever care about Muslims? for Muslim women to go knocking on her door seeking out help?

    & when did her opinion become reasonable & better than our own learned people, for us to seek her help?

    everyone makes mistakes so does Ulema, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t know what they are doing or saying…. but they would always be a million times better than a kufar. Because they do whatever they do for the sake of allah s.w.t (every Muslims intention should be for the sake of allah s.w.t, [objectively]) & they are Muslims & they would have the best interest at their heart… what would a kuffar want? only our destruction. nothing else.

    So, in sha allah hope that they take the advise of our sis Hebah, & strive on their own with regard to the rights that they feel is theirs rather than going & asking for help from the wrong people… it is allah s.w.t who would be the helper when people ask… so in sha allah hope that they do not forget that in the name of “RIGHTS”… The Human Rights Law of USA & UK, its nothing but baseless words, which contradicts on its own & also with each other & eventually perishes away… Hope that we Muslims do have a clear understanding about it before grasping on to it…

    Allah s.w.t is not looking for the ones who has the most gorgeous car, & who can drive or not drive, or who has the PHd or masters… It is taqwa that would help to gain jannah… in sha allah hope that we do not loose the sight of the main aim for the love of dunya & its rights…

    If i’ve said anything wrong, may allah s.w.t forgive me…

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    • be

      “However, its just sad, that they asked the help from “Hilary Clinton”… just very sad, that Muslims are turning to seek protection & help from a kuffar who is putting her hands in destroying other Muslim countries. Really feel sad about this… What can she do when she can’t even voice out the rights for the Muslim women in her own country? What can she do when she can’t stop the Americans physically abusing their own women & kids (Muslim or not) every passing minute? When did she ever care about Muslims? for Muslim women to go knocking on her door seeking out help?”

      Let’s not be that naive!!! Although I agree with you in the principle I also know that KSA is a client county of the USA and never does anything without its agreement and those ‘kuffar’ who are launching wars on muslims countries are being help by those wonderful Muslims countries full of shouyoukhs (invasion of Irak with the help of KSA which offer gas just an example) …so let’s not take this condescending tone about those women who seek help from Clinton (again i don’t like it) but it goes with the picture quite well …

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    • Carlos

      So that is all Hillary Clinton is to you, AAL, just a kuffar? You and any Muslim is “a million times better” than her, because you are Muslim, and she is a kuffar? You claim that Secretary Clinton does not care about Muslims, and does not do anything to protect women and children in America? On what are you basing these slanders?

      Hillary Clinton has been successful at everything she has done she she was a child. She went to Yale Law School, the best law school in the country. Early on, she devoted herself to the rights of women and children, representing needy children and their familes in her law practice, often without pay. She was an extremely successful lawyer and political strategist. Before she held any political office, she helped found organizations to represent the rights of women and children, particularly foster children. As a politician, she has fought tirelessly and well for health care for all, including the most poor members of society. She convinced the Justice Department to make the prevention of violence against women a major part of its mission. She was one of the first major American political figures to call for the establishment of a Palestinian state. As a senator, Hillary Clinton was a fierce critic of President George W. Bush’s neoconservative foreign policy. Mrs. Clinton very nearly won the Presidency, and she might, just yet, become the first female president of one of the most important nation-states in the history of humanity. As Secretary of State, she has made womens’ rights a major focus of US foreign policy, which is undoubtedly why the Saudi Arabian activists see her as a potential ally. You may disagree with US foreign policy, even under Secretary Clinton and President Obama, but there are valid arguments that the US is fighting not only for its own interests, but also against the common enemies of most Muslims. Do you really think that Hillary Clinton, or the vast majority of non-Muslims, wish only the destruction of Muslims? Do you think they do not value human life? Do you think US foreign policy since Hillary Clinton has become Secretary of State is completely indifferent to people in other countries and, particularly, in Muslim countries? In fact, I see a US Administration that practically bends over backwards to be hypersensitive to the interests and attitudes of those living in Muslim countries. Hebah Ahmed, above, even praises Secretary Clinton’s very thoughtful and restrained statements regarding the Saudi Arabian driving ban against women. It seems to me that every criticism you have leveled against Secretary Clinton is patently false. You would be hard pressed to find more than a handful of people on this Earth who have accomplished as much as Secretary Clinton, or are as socially conscious as her. Yet, to you, she is just a “kuffar,” a word that is obviously a slur in your book, but which actually just means someone who was not raised in the Muslim religious tradition (i.e. five-sixths of your fellow human beings). What have you accomplished, other than an impressive sense of pride and self-righteousness, that makes you “a million times better” than Hillary Clinton? I sense arrogance! I sense prejudice! I see naked bigotry!!

      I am truly disappointed that no other MM commentators are challenging the anti-kuffar bigotry expressed in AAL’s comment above. It is hypocritical to demand respect from non-Muslims, yet not to return the favor. Why does to take me, an atheist, to point this out? Where are the tolerant, loving, caring and open-minded Muslim commentators? If you are out there, please let me hear you, and restore my faith in humanity.

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  6. Sa`id

    Could some of our teachers (hint hint Yasir and Yasir) make some comments about this situation to shed some light on where the Shar’iah stands on this issue and what should our response to this be.

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  7. Murcilla

    My ethnicity is Yemeni, but I have lived most of my life in the UK. At the age of 15, my family and I returned to Yemen to live and study there for a couple of years. During this period, both my elder sister and I had our own cars and were driving with no problems alhamdulillah. For me, living in that society where sadly most women are stared at and bothered almost daily by ignorant men, I HAD to have my own means of transport. I chose to not wear the niqab, which meant I would get harassed more than the niqabi would. I don’t blame you for thinking such harassment wouldn’t exist in a Muslim country, but sadly its a huge problem for niqabia and non niqabis. I could not go a day without harassment had it not been for the car! Whenever I return to Yemen on holiday, I get back in to my little car and I’m back on the road again. It’s crazy driving there, but it is safe enough to. Every now and then I pass an ignorant man or woman who stares or makes a comment as I pass them, but it doesn’t bother me anymore (although it does frustrate me on the odd occasion). Allah is my witness and knows that I am trying to live a normal life and going about harming no one. The police and security services do not bother women drivers unless there is a real reason to stop and search, but generally they respect us. Many of my female school mates still live in Yemen, drive and own their own cars. Good for them.

    Sr. Hebah is right to say this should be a grassroots Saudi women’s movement, and any outside interference will be resented. H.Clinton may express solidarity with these women, but she has no right to tell them what is right or wrong for them and their society. The women of Saudi need to determine and express this, and the neighboring countries which share similar religious and cultural values should share good practice and demonstrate how irrational this Saudi law is.

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    • be

      MashaAllah Murcilla !!
      I like your experience and which proves to me that it is neither a religious issue (Yemen being very religious) or an Arabic societal issue (Yemen being a pure Arabic country ethnically) but rather a question of mentality and how women are perceived …not that everything is perfect but it looks like some places can be worse than other.
      I definitely agree that the change must come from Saudi women ..I don’t expect them to go all at once driving but at least they should consider lifting the ban on women who work and have to depend on men to drive them around …most of the time not ma’ram but just drivers hired for the jobs …
      I once read the blog of the woman who get arrested and jailed because she decided to drive and she said that what motivated her decision was that one night she found herself in the street on the sidewalk waiting for her brother to pick her up and he never came ..she called him on his cell but did not answered and freaked out because of men stopping by and calling her names and harassing her…etc… Wouldn’t it had been safer for her to drive her own car and go home !?
      I did live in KSA for about a year I was not working; just at home with the kids and although at first it was hard not to be able to go on my own I quickly get use to it and kind of like it actually …my husband was my driver cause he and I could not consider myself going on my own with a driver etc… anyway I did like it cause I get to rest instead of being the driver who has to take the kids everywhere like i do in the state ; school, doctors, parks, shopping, extra activities …exhausting LOL!!!

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  8. Sabour Al-Kandari

    Excellent stuff, masha’Allah.

    Doesn’t it seem like driving is a proxy or symbolic issue for the competition in defining the future of Saudi Arabia?

    By the way I don’t know what that lady’s problem was, maybe one day simple listening and reading skills will be a pre-requisite for working in the news.

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    • Carlos

      Thank you, Sabour Al-Kandari. I put lots of thought into my postings, and I appreciate when people hear me out. Yes, I find Muslims fascinating. Muslims really seem to believe what they say they believe. I know it is weird to try, day in and day out, to communicate with people who are so different from myself, but I consider that a more honorable pursuit than only talking to people who agree with what I say.

      I agree that the interviewer was being a little unnecessarily combative with Hebah.

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  9. Sumeya

    I absolutely love seeing Hebah in interviews! Masha’Allah she presents herself in a very professional manner and never loses control, even though the interviewer was a bit rude. Insha’Allah this will become more common. On the ban, I agree that only the women of Saudi Arabia can change this. I understand supporting them, but meddling will never help anyone.

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  10. Ibrahim K

    Great piece.

    “The point is that we need cultural context and not to go in arrogantly and assume we know best. It is important for Americans to begin to see that their way is not the only way and that each culture has a right to evolve independently and on its own terms. ”

    Very important point that needs to be understood, and was not understood by the CNN interviewer obviously. God knows best.

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  11. ahlam

    What the heck! ” Are you saying that women in Saudi Arabia don’t need to drive?” ….. ”Are you marginalizing that movement?”

    La Hawla wala quwata illah billah. Disturbing.

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  12. Nazihah

    I wish we could hear more. I liked the last comment you gave, that foreign intervention could actually hurt the movement rather than influence it in a positive way.

    Great job Hebah!

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  13. A Sister's Thoughts

    MashaAllah sister Hebah. That was amazing! I totally agree with you on this issue.

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  14. Siraaj

    Another well-done interview hebah, the interviewers questions seemed contentious for the sake of being contentious – it was clear she didn’t expect the arguments you made.

    Siraaj

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    • Hebah Ahmed

      I wish that was true. They actually did 2 pre-interviews with me and knew my exact position. She was ready to attack before we started and seemed to be forcing her attacks in whether it seemed relevant or not.

      I think they have to do this in order to put someone like me on otherwise they come off as too sympethetic to me and that could turn off the mostly ignorant viewers.

      Allah knows best.

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    • Carlos

      Being forced to argue effectively in support of one’s positions is a time-honored part of American journalism and politics. With the privilege of being given a voice on a national stage comes the responsibility of having to justify what one says. Hebah does a pretty good job, and she seems very sophisticated about American media. Finally, yes, talk show hosts often “grill” their guests, particularly if they appear to be defending a position that goes against the majority American sentiment. The journalists consider that to be part of their job. And, yes, it makes for more exciting TV, which raises ratings.

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  15. ummmanar

    Mashallah sister Hebah,you don’t know how much I admire your knowledge and your confidence you are so calm and professional.It gives me a pleasure to see a muslim sister to be in national tv. I am so proud of you keep up the good work. Inshallah allah will reward in this world and akira. Our umma need more people like you, bold ,knowledgeable, and polite.

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  16. Ify

    Salam,

    Good for you Hebah on continuing to push for your concerns in the media. That being said, I think the argument that Hillary Clinton should not say anything or get involved under the guise of cultural sensitivity is rather disingenuous and self-serving. Especially when some Saudi women who would like drive and are driving have asked in a open letter for her support.

    The movement is theirs, one can never please everyone. I don’t see what is gained in trying to appease those who already do not want women to drive by pretending as though no one else in the world is watching or cares about the issue or by asking others to remain silent. Most likely, it is precisely because the world was watching and talking about the earlier arrest of the activist Manal al-Sharif that other women were not harassed on Friday. And it seems to me, that it was precisely because of the questioning and publicity from non-Muslims that many organizations in our community have responded with positive action in rectifying long-standing issues. All those women in Islam lectures and pamphlets, most of them are not for Muslims, and seem to have been produced to respond to criticism some from within the community but also from without.

    We as bloggers, and as Muslims generally, utilize our right to free speech to offer commentary on events and issues, cultural, religious, political, social, and educational that occur in the world not only those issues that directly affect us or the country we live in. The U.S. is still very influential in many ways and many movements have been bolstered by that support. It’s a no-win situation, if U.S. officials express inconsistency with stated values they are criticized for placing strategic goals in front and if they express consistency they are also criticized and accused of interference or meddling.

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    • Hebah Ahmed

      Jazak Allahu Khair Sister Ify.

      Your points are well taken and offer a different and valid perspective.

      There are two points I would like to add:

      1. You state, “Most likely, it is precisely because the world was watching and talking about the earlier arrest of the activist Manal al-Sharif that other women were not harassed on Friday.”

      Perhaps this is true. The issue I take with this statement is that it makes the Saudis seem like horrible oppressive men waiting to pounce if not watched and monitored. I think this is an unfair depiction. It is one I held until I recently traveled there and was surprised at how reasonable and polite many of the scholars and males were there. I also think this is a huge sticking point in the Western world in which they use Saudi as the epitome of repression and backwardsness. We need to create a more balanced view of Saudi without condoning cultural based injustice, specifically against women.

      2. This issue is very complicated as Sh. YQ commented on in an earlier post. I spoke with an economics professor there who is appointed directly by the king for certain tasks. He explained that there is a growing conflict between the western educated elite who are liberal in their perspectives and have the ear of the king, against the conservative Islamic Scholarship. This manifested recently in the opening of KAUST, a secluded university complex that is gender mixed and follows a western model. When one of the King’s religious advisors spoke out against it on shariah grounds, he was removed from his position. Scholars are being intimidated to support certain changes and this could lead to an utter disrespect of the scholarship there. I believe the change for women’s driving should and is coming from a slow change in position among these scholars but if it is not done right, allowing the scholars to save face and maintain their credibility, it could be very bad. I think Clinton understands this and sees that western pressure could make this change hard for the scholars. I have also come to understand that as the internal pressure from women and men grows, this will facilitate the change of position among the scholars. This is why I believe the movement must continue to grow organically within until it reaches a critical mass.

      This is of course my personal analysis and could be wrong. In any event, the arab spring is proof positive that Allah alone is in control and change will come when He Wills it, not because of western pressure. Allah knows best.

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  17. jan

    I find it funny and sad that some muslims are claiming that we must look at the cultural context of the issue…i am sorry but culture does not override and trump islamic jurisprudence….the Saudi culture is as tribalistic and backwards as they come…these women need our support, not our ambiguity…the problem is the culture…the culture must change…to say that this is a saudi problem and its up to the saudis to determine is absolutely true…but its not the saudis who get to decide…the government and religious police are corrupt and brutal as they come…they use islam as a cover and a way to oppress their people when they themselves don’t live by these rules..and they are the ones who are oppressing their people…DRIVING is a basic right and privilege..today i drove to the pharmacy and picked up my medicine and realized if i was living in saudi arabia i would not have been able to do so. I probably would’ve died instead..ISLAM triumphs over culture and islam requires us to speak out against all forms of oppression no matter who the oppressor is…THE MIDDLE EAST is crying out for reform and revolution…ambiguity doesn’t do anything to support their cause…there is nothing in ISLAM that says women can’t drive and not only that they can’t drive but they have to be forced to have some foreign guy who could be a potential rapist drive them alone in the car…I SUPPORT THESE MUSIM SISTERS 100%…I am also calling on the saudi government to let them go as they have been arrested and brutalized..some of them have had their children being taken away as a form of torture…anyone who disagrees with me, let me see you move to saudi arabia…

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    • Muslimah

      Takbeer!

      Well said, Sister Jan.

      I’m also calling for more prime space at the Ka’aba for the Sisters.

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    • UmmSarah

      My sentiments exactly. I lived major part of my life in Saudi Arabia… and this no driving issue is one of the many obstacles women face over there on day to day basis.
      If people want to be politically correct and play in the safe zone, it’s their choice/opinion but it does NOT reflect Islamic teachings which require us to stand against oppressive behavior and not to be just a bystander.

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  18. AnonyMouse

    I listened to the first half of the interview, and masha’Allah, well done.

    However, I do object to your statement that Saudi is a “pedestrian city” and that most people don’t have cars – this is actually incorrect, as few people walk in Saudi (outside of Makkah and Medinah, and even that, just around the Haramain) if they can help it. The majority of Saudis do own at least one vehicle.

    Aside from that, masha’Allah at another good interview!

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    • Hebah Ahmed

      Glad to hear your perpective!

      I received a text prior to the interview from a sister in Saudi who said this, “Priority for Women in Saudi are: 1. lack of social justice in terms of social insurance and healthcare, 2. unemployment, 3. no infrastructure of public transportation. Note: Only upper class can afford cars and some middle class but the most needy cannot afford it”.

      I based my interview responses on this and speaking with 2 scholars who have lived in Saudi for over 20 years and confirmed this as well as say that they do not believe there is a large enough movement among the women to change the driving taboo yet.

      I guess this goes to show its all about your perspective and experiences.

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      • Abu Sumaiyah

        Just because you recieve a text from someone doesnt make what they say true. I’ll go point my point.

        1. Lack of social insurance programs: a saudi doctor told me this before. that some saudi women will marry a man with the intentions of causing divorce. this is because when they are divorced the government provides them with monthly income to take of their basic needs. as a side not, just for being saudi, a woman will make more than double the salary than a non-saudi woman.

        2. healthcare I went to a hospital just the other day. i saw many women from all classes. this is a more upscale hospital, yet many women. they have a great womens section and pediactrics with thr best doctors from around the world. my wife takes our children to get vaccinated at a womens clinic. the clinic is free and the medicine is free. my wife says trhe doctors are great. also there are numerous cooperative healthcare programs offered that give everyone including women access to the best hospitals.

        3. unemployment – there are many jobs for saudi women. i did business with a company, a big company, more than half of them were women. highly educated. the mangers were women too. all saudi. but there is attitude amongst the women that they are saudi so they dont need to work. just let them play with their blackberry and they will be happy. the receptionist at the hospital was more concerned about her blackberry and let her non-saudi co-workers do all the appointments.

        4. no infrstructure and public transportation – that is for everyone.

        5. that is so not true. vehicles are very cheap in this country. i see people who make less money than me driving better cars than me. even renting cars for weeks on end is so cheap. also car insurance is incredibly cheap as well. there are also programs that a company buys the car for you and sells it to you on installments at a slightly higher price. all halal no interest. so pretty well anyone can get a car. but of course there are people who cant afford cars, they are the foriegners from the south asian countries, not saudi’s.

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      • be

        Assalam alaikum Abu Sumaiyah, Jazak Allahu kheiren for your true insights and relevant experience. I was quite surprised by sister Heeba’s comment on that matter. i lived in KSA and I can confirm you that what you reported was quite similar to my experience…I found their social care (health in particular ) amazing ! A loooooot better than the service I use to receive here in the states with an expensive insurance. Buying a car was also affordable with a system that allows you to buy a car without interest and monthly payment and yes my neighbor who made less money that my husband (my husband hold a phD in CS and my neighbor had a high school degree) he was driving a brand new pick up … Regarding unemployment; I once talked to a principle at a local high school and she told me that the issues was the fact that most female students would choose field such as Islamic education with the hope to become a teacher but this orientation tend to be saturated and she added that women needed to diversify towards others fields where for sure they would find jobs…It is common sense !!!!!!!! How can KSA be such a big recruiter of foreign man power and at the same time having nationals with high level of unemployment; well one of the main reasons is the lack of qualified, hard working , serious national workers … sad but true.

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      • be

        Asslam Alaikum Heeba,

        “need for more social justice in terms of social insurance and health care” ….what do you or she meant by social insurance??

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  19. Hakim

    Mashallah sister Hebah did a great job. inshallah i hope to see more niqabi sisters following in her footsteps.

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  20. F

    1. Good job sr. Hebah. Keep up the good work.

    2. I also believe that outside influence can be counter productive if it comes from governments but the media (mainstream and social media) if used properly can act as a positive catalyst.

    3. One question I ask myself is whether we are being hypocritical by criticizing France for banning the hijab in schools and niqab in public as a violation of basic human rights. But when it comes to a country which many of us admire and perhaps desire to emulate, we begin to speak of cultural sensitivities and letting them grow at their own pace. The same arguments can be made for France and their cultural sensitivities but would that justify the actions of the French government? Absolutely no.

    So while one can understand this law in the cultural context, lets not try to and justify it as something positive which no one in this thread has done but was quite common in previous threads related to this issue.

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    • Peace

      Salam all,

      I just wanted to say, first and foremost, masha’Allah Hebah for your efforts. May Allah produce great good from your actions.

      Although I agree with points 1 and 2, I would like to discuss 3 a little bit. Though it may seem hypocritical to outright reject the France hijab ban and demand for its immediate repeal, the situation in France is different than in Saudi. Although, both countries are violating human rights, France’s law is not only violating a human right, but alienating and dehumanizing Muslims into “the other.” This is extremely dangerous as it can cause further encroachment and marginalization of Muslims in France, and can lead to grosser acts of hate-crimes against Muslim communities.

      Saudi’s violation of human rights, although repulsive, cannot be equated with dehumanazing and othering Muslims, so it is possible to allow for Saudi Muslims to change their condition in a more organic grass-roots way as Hebah was suggesting. Because this is a Muslim issue in a Muslim country, allowing for an internal natural process to change things will have greater impact on the community and prevalent attitudes. If some people think women driving or having more freedom in public life is immoral and scandalous, not allowing the community to evolve organically could cause social upheaval and result in a general loss of identity, direction, or further extremist measures.

      The France ban is more out of fear-mongering and hate against a people, not out of culturally sensitive issues. The French constitution advocates for freedom, liberty, and equality, so the ban is actually going their cultural/state principles. They are just acting on hate and intolerance and not a moral sentiment which is the case in Saudi.

      Any comments?

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    • Hebah Ahmed

      Great points Masha Allah! I have also thought about the difference between the hijab and niqab ban in France and the driving ban in Saudi. We should all make sure we criticism ourselves as much as others.

      I guess the main difference would be:

      1. We are calling France to account based on its own declared principles of democracy and freedom. Their bans are a step backwards, not forwards, and are based on xenophobic mentalities and political positioning. Saudi is a monarchy/theocracy cleary based on Islamic principles and are evolving forwards as the scholars slowly deal with changes in society and technology.

      2. I personally believe the changes in France can only come from within. We all have our opinions and can voice them but I have not called for external pressure on France, only support educating the populace to bring about the change and try to cut off any attempt here in America to follow suit.

      I recently read an article that said most French Muslims have given up the battle to change the hijab ban in schools because they have found an alternative in putting their girls in private (mosty chrisitian ironically) schools that allow the hijab. I am sad to hear they have given up the fight but its their choice and the change will only come about when they push for it. They know their society best.

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    • F

      Jazakumullah khair for the responses.

      Both of you mention that one of the main difference is that France is not living up to its own values. But that’s painting all democracies with the same brush. France has always been fiercely secular compared to other western democracies and for those who know French history, in a way these moves were not out of line with French values. Not to mention that France, like many Western countries, is going through a period of adjustment with minorities playing a major role in its society.

      So on a closer look at the French society, many people might ‘understand’ why France made the move because these people are more familiar with the country. Just like being Muslims, many of us ‘understand’ or perhaps even support where Saudi government is coming from on this law.

      Peace, as for bringing about change, there is more room for it in France because the system allows for it. When you look at Saudi, the average person can’t really do much to bring any changes in laws unless they belong to the ruling or scholarly class.

      It seems like we all agree in the end that the Saudi laws needs to be changed at point or another.

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  21. Umm Zahra

    Great Job Hebah! Beautifully said. May Allah give you more opportunities like these.

    However, one point, I like to add is that Saudi Arabia is nowhere like NY in terms of being a pedestrian city.
    Buses are available but no one wants to stand in the bus stop under the hot sun except service men and women. Shopping centers, grocery stores, post offices and other amenities are all very far from each other. There is no underground or overground subway system. Taxis are not convenient as its a mahram issue.

    I remember vividly, once my father dropped my mother and us off at Yanbu so we can spend our vacation there with our maternal aunt. After he arrived Jeddah, he fell ill and was admitted into ICU. That time I remember as a nightmare because my mother could not get to him. She arrived 4 days later and she literally had to smuggle herself in with a fake ID and pretending to be someone’s sister. All because she could not drive on her own.

    Its impossible for a woman to take the bus pick her kids from school and the get the groceries and come home. So many of us take that routine for granted. An average Saudi or a migrant women has to wait for her husband to come home and take her out to the groceries.

    I agree with you that American should not interfere.

    If SA does allow license permits for women, I would not be surprised if its for Saudi citizens only.

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    • Hebah Ahmed

      Jazak Allahu Khair. I stand corrected. :) I really sympathize with the difficult situations many Saudi women are put in (and this is a huge issue in Afghanistan as well) when they do not have access to a mahram. May Allah make things easy for all our sisters and show us the right way forward Insha Allah.

      Ameen.

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  22. Halima

    You did a really nice job! :D The interviewer was kind of on the defense..I didn’t really like her tone either. But you kept it professional just like before, good job sis :)

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  23. IslamSetsMeFree

    Mashallah Sister may Allah reward you, Insh Allah. Yes she kinda twisted your words but you knew how to answer back Alhamdulilah.

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  24. Khadijah

    Salam.. Jazakallah sr Hebah you did a very gud job…. am proud of u and I Love u for the sake of Allah.. keep it up!!!

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  25. l alahem

    I always enjoy watching Sr Hebah in an interview. I love watching the reaction of the interviewer to this cultured, flawless English voice coming out of that ‘get-up’.

    I greatly admire Ms. Clinton and she wisely and truly says this is a Saudi internal matter and needs to be resolved internally. As an American woman, I will say that they will need to pry my car keys out of my cold dead fingers.

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  26. saleh Alshammari

    edited- Subhan Allah, Saudi Arabia does not have any city that looks like NEW York. edited- oppressing thousands of women who die every yehey have to stay home and die, or die children, women and men die every year because women cannot take them to the hospital to save their lives. Saudi Arabia does not have an ambulance service like the US.

    edited-

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  27. sara

    Assalamua alaikum,

    I believe we, as Muslims, must do better than we have. I respect much about Saudi, its wonderful people, Masha’Allah, and its laws. But indeed, our scholars have innovated much about women and that is a going astray, including the ban on driving. The Prophet, peace be upon him, praised capable women who assisted the Ummah–including those who rode camels. Being righteous does not mean accepting fatwas that are an innovation and it is about time the scholars feared Allah as to their transgressions and innovations about women. Unfortunately, we keep making excuses–like saying there is a good reason–there is never a good reason to simply make up restrictions and claim they have an attenuated basis in Islam. And, no, I don’t believe veiling or hijab is a symbol of oppression and I am not one of those crazy liberal feminists, but I am honest and will not hide that Muslim men shaded the fiqh to justify holding women back…including many of the respected scholars. Saudi has laws that serve to deny women the rights the Prophet, and the Quran clearly gave them. That is wrong… for example custody afte divorce is hampered because women cannot even enroll children in schools, get healthcare, etc. without the father. The mother’s say in any child upbringing decision is nonexistant. This relegates child custody in which the hadith give her more rights than the father, to little more than nurse maid service unless family pressure and a good ex-husband exist. She also cannot approach the courts for her rigts without a mahrem–effectively denying the rights to her unless she can convince a mahrem to help her. Allowing women to drive would be the first step in correcting these innovations.

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  28. Zahra

    For what ever reason Women driving has been banned in Saudi, we have to respect the law of the land. Whether Islamic or otherwise. So long as our right to practice our Deen is not taken away. As a religous person, practising upon the Sunnah, I would love to live in Saudi even with all its disadvantages and discrimination that takes place from the ignorant masses, officials and non-officials. Since Islam, Sunnah and Salafiyyah is propogated and defended by the authority and the Scholars. You will find anyone commiiting shirk or Bid’ah openly. No grave worship. Even though the country is not perfect, masiyah is present, poverty, economical problems etc.

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  29. Mezba (Read with Meaning)

    Sister Hebah,

    Some corrections to your statements.

    1. Saudi culture NEVER banned women from driving. Driving is a relatively new thing (only last century or so) and it wasn’t until the Wahabbis took power that women were banned from driving. The root of this ban DOES come from religious issues as decided by Saudi scholars (stooges would be a better term). So yes, in Saudi Arabia, it is religion (as decided by their Shura council) that is banning women from driving.

    Check out some of the ridiculous reasons why women can’t drive as stated by Islamqa fatwa.
    http://www.islamqa.com/en/ref/45880/women%20driving

    2. The petition is BY the grassroots asking for Ms. Clinton’s help. So you cannot marginalize them.

    3. You said ‘we should not force our values on them’ – meaning American values. I ask you, why not? Isn’t Islam always about enforcing what is the right and forbidding what is evil? Islam forced its values on the Meccans, turning them from jahilliya to the light, banning infanticide, oppression, etc. Banning women from driving is clearly wrong. So why should we NOT force our values on them?

    4. Jeddah, Mecca is definitely NOT a pedestrian city. Have you been on Umrah or Hajj? You need taxis etc. to get around. There are no subways.

    5. Most Arab women in Arab countries (such as UAE, Qatar) drive. It’s NOT an upper class thing.

    I felt …
    -edited. You may feel certain things but not appropriate for it to lead to doubting someone’s intentions

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    • Mansoor Ansari

      Regarding pt3.

      Here u r arguing abt forcing our values on them but at the same time when a Muslim govt enforces hijab or punishments as stated in the Quran or hadiths.. we r up in arms abt it. We then tell these govts not enforce these rules as ppl r not ready for it. Would u argue for enforcing Islamic laws in US as they are good even though majority of American oppose them! I doubt it!

      pt 5: In Saudi it’s a upper class thing.. esp this petition. The majority of women who drove last week were those got their licenses frm the west, whr they travel to every summer. Talk to middle class Saudi women, they have a different point of view all of this.

      Most of Saudi women don’t really care if they can’t drive, and I m saying this being from Saudi. But do i think Saudi women should b able to drive, I say yes! But it has to done in stages as Dubai had done, sudden change leads to more chaos! There r already talks being done abt go abt it, the most popular opinion is to start issuing licenses to women who r above 35 who are either married or widowed and then phase in the rest of the population. And what’s most important part is awareness campaign that needs to start & strict enforcement of punishments for those men who are going start chasing these own around… if that doesn’t happen, there will be more crazy stories coming out from Saudi.

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    • Carlos

      Abu Abdillah, that is not a valid argument. If you disagree with Mezba, put forth your own argument.

      I agree with most of what Mezba says, except the part about it being a good thing to “force” one’s values upon others. That sounds too close to an advocacy for violence.

      Moderators, why does Abu Abdillah get to make personal attacks against other commentators like this, and I am the one being “moderated” (i.e. censored)? Oh, right, he has a Muslim name, and I don’t. Sorry for showing my ignorance.

      -editors note: he doesn’t. His comment deleted when noticed.

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      • Sabour Al-Kandari

        Hello Carlos,

        I enjoy reading your critical comments, and you do seem a little fascinated with this blog and Muslim society, I must admit though I am also a little fascinated by your fascination.

        Although I’m not a moderator here, don’t jump on the moderator-attacking bandwagon for comments, you and everyone else here are better than that and those types of comments aren’t fun to read.

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      • anon

        I’m pretty sure Carlos is muslim so why wouldn’t he be interested in this site. And quite frankly I find it equally fascinating that you assume that just because someone doesn’t have a “muslim” name (and by muslim I mean arabic because that is apparently some sort of requirement to be perceived as a real muslim amongst some people) then they are nonmuslims obsessed with “muslim society”.

        And there’s no such thing as muslim society btw.

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      • Muslimah

        Subhan Allah, although this blog is about the Saudi Arabian ban on women driving, it is inadvertently eliciting and exposing judgemental attitudes by some bloggers. As a revert to Islam, I have kept my given name and am happy to be an example of the diversity of Muslims, ma sha Allah.

        I am concerned that some Muslims, especially brothers who provide the leadership and final authority in their households, have foresaken the Spirit of Islam for the Letter rather than embracing both as lived by our Beloved Prophet, sal Allahu ‘alayhe wa salam.. This is critical because the threat to Islam is less so an external one than internal. It is the spirit of love, peace, compassion and justice (ie. supporting the right of women to drive) that keeps a marriage and family strong. It is also Islam’s message of love, peace, compassion and justice that attract non-Muslims to our Deen.

        Wa Allahu ta’ala ‘alam.

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      • Carlos

        Thank you for your comments, Sabour Al-Kandari and Anon. Actually, no, I am not a Muslim.

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    • IslamSetsMeFree

      Corrections to her statements?
      This is a correction to YOUR statements by Islam Sets Me Free

      1. Saudis’ culture bans women from driving not Islam. If it was Islam then ALL Muslim countries would be doing that. Even if the Saudi Scholars claim and use religion to make a ban on women driving that does not mean it comes from Islam. 1400 years ago, women rode horses/camels, if it was haram to drive a car it would have also been haram to ride horses/camels since that was the means of transportation back then and cars are today.

      Your link http://www.islamqa.com/en/ref/45880/women%20driving:
      Ridiculous reasons? Such as these two paragraphs?
      “2 – Rulings which are based on specific reasons, or where the ruling as to whether a thing is forbidden, allowed or obligatory depends upon whatever good or bad consequences will result from that, and where there is no shar’i evidence to suggest a fixed ruling that does not vary. The issue of women driving cars may come under this heading.” THERE NO SHAR’I EVIDENCE TO SUGGEST A FIXED RULING

      “It is well known that it leads to evil consequences which are well known to those who promote it, such as being alone with a non-mahram woman, unveiling, reckless mixing with men, and committing haraam actions because of which these things were forbidden. Islam forbids the things that lead to haraam and regards them as being haraam too. “

      My personal opinion I do not see them as ridiculous because they are true. Men and women (non-mahram) should not mix. A small conversation in the car could lead to exchanging phone numbers/email addresses then out to a date for a cup of coffee, dinner, movie, a kiss, etc etc. Shaytan does not come out and say go commit zina with him/her, he whispers his ways step by step. Even if one person’s intention is clean the other person’s may not be. Our prophet pbuh said between every two people the third party is shaytan. “Islam forbids the things that lead to haraam and regards them as being haraam too. “

      2. I don’t agree with asking for Clinton’s help, they should ask Muslims within Saudi for help. Clinton’s position would come from her own Christian (?) American culture which is way different from Middle Eastern. I am Muslim Kurdish, from Southern Kurdistan or Northern Iraq, and I tell you most of my people are Muslims like the most Iraqi yet our culture varies.

      3. Islam never enforced anything on anyone. Even back then, Muhammed pbuh preached Islam, people converted because they liked it and it made more sense than their jailiya ways. The war between believers and unbelievers started when the believers grow in numbers and the unbelievers hated that.

      Allah SWT says in chapter 3 verse 110: “You are the best nation produced [as an example] for mankind. You enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong and believe in Allah. If only the People of the Scripture had believed, it would have been better for them. Among them are believers, but most of them are defiantly disobedient.” This verse shows it has never been about “ENFORCING” what is right as you stated but rather “ENJOIN” what is right.

      4. I have never been to Saudi Arabia, but from the pictures I have seen of Mecca I don’t ever recall seen cars but thousands of people WALKING.

      5. I think when she mentioned the upper class she meant for Saudis not any other women from other countries.

      I didn’t see her admiration for Saudi Arabia as she did state that she’s been driving since she was 16 and can’t imagine not driving. If there was an admiration she would stand with Saudi law with every word.

      Islam Sets Me Free.
      Random blogger.

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    • Abu Abdillah

      So backbiting and slandering ‘ulama by calling them “stooges” is not deemed suitable to censor, but my comment is… subhan Allah.

      MM has changed so much from the website I used to know and love.

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      • mimi

        Assalamu’alaikum,

        What has changed on MM is zero tolerance for showing disrespect towards others’ opinions. As long as you convey your point of view in a coherent and respectful manner, you will be heard.

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      • Abu Abdillah

        Walaykum salam wa rahmatullah,

        I didn’t disrespect anyone, I was referring very clearly to their ignorant and vile rhetoric which was directed to salafees and the ‘ulama of Saudi Arabia. Did I miss something? When did MM allow attacks on many ‘ulama in general!?

        The comment read:

        “The root of this ban DOES come from religious issues as decided by Saudi scholars (stooges would be a better term)” -end quote

        A common definition for stooge and working in this context would be: [someone’s pawn; someone controlled or maneuvered by someone else]

        In other words, an accusation against the scholars of Saudi Arabia in general (including the likes of Shaykh ibn Baz as he also supported the ban) by calling them stooges of the government (i.e. ‘ulama of the state/dawla). This is quite a heavy accusation and slander against the ‘ulama of Saudi in general and is contrary to good conduct and respect even if one dissagrees with said scholars’ opinions or school of though (in this case salafee, or as the comment read: wahhabi).

        I simply called out the comment as vile and ignorant, yet said comment remains and mine got removed. Verily Allah is witness over all things… it still saddens me deeply to see MM change so much over the last couple of years.

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      • mimi

        Assalamu’alaikum,

        My comment was a general one but if you had clearly stated your response to the above comment (as you now did), that would have been more effective.

        State your point of view clearly and respectfully and not in an accusatory manner. If you see lack of respect from someone else, then that is their problem and their loss.

        Issuing complaints in the middle of discussions really puts people off and makes them less interested in knowing what you have to say. Feedback about this site can be relayed to the site administrators.

        That’s all I have to say.

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    • greentea

      Point 1. There is context to the fatwa. A fatwa is not treated as indefinite and may be repealed through a process of seeking guidance from scholars. The scholar(s) released a ruling about the right to drive during a very specific time, and that fatwa was stuck because a. majority people either don’t know of or don’t have any legal process to repeal this b. Government likes to maintain status quo. That is normal in saudi, where government not all scholars are in control of what laws to keep and what laws to adjust. The government is responsible to repeal that law if it wants to. The shura council you alluded to has NO LEGISLATIVE control whatsoever. It doesn’t matter how many scholars or men sit in the shura , the final word is with the government, the irreligious elitists, the idiots in office i.e the friends of big satan

      Point 2. If 50 expats or 50 locals decide tomorrow to repeal laws on dress code or drinking, do you think this is some grass roots movement that speaks for the majority in saudi society ?

      Point 3. This is funny. You think driving is a value that is wholly American ? For your information, enjoining good was NEVER FORCED on the people of Mecca. They were simply overwhelmed with the message of truth. BTW please see the “Noble experiment” in the US during the 1920’s. Quite an interesting phenomena. Sometimes certain unregulated freedom opens a can of ugly worms for the later generation.

      Point 5. “Most” what is that mean ?

      For those that don’t believe there’s relationship of “immoral” behavior like dating and driving a car, you may be surprised. Please see : http://hti.osu.edu/history-lesson-plans/united-states-history/the-automobile .

      In any case, I am absolutely against American intervention, as I simply don’t trust this administration genuinely interested in uplifting rights of humanity. Clinton and gang couldn’t possibly be that interested in solving rights of women inside Saudi while they continue to support human rights abuses in Israel.

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  30. IslamSetsMeFree

    My reply to someone’s comment

    Corrections to her statements?
    This is a correction to YOUR statements by Islam Sets Me Free

    1. Saudis’ culture bans women from driving not Islam. If it was Islam then ALL Muslim countries would be doing that. Even if the Saudi Scholars claim and use religion to make a ban on women driving that does not mean it comes from Islam. 1400 years ago, women rode horses/camels, if it was haram to drive a car it would have also been haram to ride horses/camels since that was the means of transportation back then and cars are today.

    Your link http://www.islamqa.com/en/ref/45880/women%20driving:
    Ridiculous reasons? Such as these two paragraphs?
    “2 – Rulings which are based on specific reasons, or where the ruling as to whether a thing is forbidden, allowed or obligatory depends upon whatever good or bad consequences will result from that, and where there is no shar’i evidence to suggest a fixed ruling that does not vary. The issue of women driving cars may come under this heading.” THERE NO SHAR’I EVIDENCE TO SUGGEST A FIXED RULING

    “It is well known that it leads to evil consequences which are well known to those who promote it, such as being alone with a non-mahram woman, unveiling, reckless mixing with men, and committing haraam actions because of which these things were forbidden. Islam forbids the things that lead to haraam and regards them as being haraam too. “

    My personal opinion I do not see them as ridiculous because they are true. Men and women (non-mahram) should not mix. A small conversation in the car could lead to exchanging phone numbers/email addresses then out to a date for a cup of coffee, dinner, movie, a kiss, etc etc. Shaytan does not come out and say go commit zina with him/her, he whispers his ways step by step. Even if one person’s intention is clean the other person’s may not be. Our prophet pbuh said between every two people the third party is shaytan. “Islam forbids the things that lead to haraam and regards them as being haraam too. “

    2. I don’t agree with asking for Clinton’s help, they should ask Muslims within Saudi for help. Clinton’s position would come from her own Christian (?) American culture which is way different from Middle Eastern. I am Muslim Kurdish, from Southern Kurdistan or Northern Iraq, and I tell you most of my people are Muslims like the most Iraqi yet our culture varies.

    3. Islam never enforced anything on anyone. Even back then, Muhammed pbuh preached Islam, people converted because they liked it and it made more sense than their jailiya ways. The war between believers and unbelievers started when the believers grow in numbers and the unbelievers hated that.

    Allah SWT says in chapter 3 verse 110: “You are the best nation produced [as an example] for mankind. You enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong and believe in Allah. If only the People of the Scripture had believed, it would have been better for them. Among them are believers, but most of them are defiantly disobedient.” This verse shows it has never been about “ENFORCING” what is right as you stated but rather “ENJOIN” what is right.

    4. I have never been to Saudi Arabia, but from the pictures I have seen of Mecca I don’t ever recall seen cars but thousands of people WALKING.

    5. I think when she mentioned the upper class she meant for Saudis not any other women from other countries.

    I didn’t see her admiration for Saudi Arabia as she did state that she’s been driving since she was 16 and can’t imagine not driving. If there was an admiration she would stand with Saudi law with every word.

    Islam Sets Me Free.
    Random blogger.

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  31. MuslimWomensFund

    Whereas much of the globe is gaining increased environmental consciousness and supporting movements to decrease our collective carbon footprint, through such means as building and sustaining effective public transportation system, it’s disheartening to hear of support of external pressure for an opposite movement in Saudi Arabia (where no such widespread infrastructure exists period).

    Moreover, while the right to a driver’s license is widespread, the “right” to drive is rather questionable. Even here in the West, it is most certainly a privilege afforded to those who can, simply put, afford it (man or woman).

    At any rate, the point that resonated quite clearly from this interview: this is a Saudi woman’s cause in the context of Saudi Arabia and is steeped in much cultural and historical tradition. The right of safe movement without undue harm should be universal, but to limit this to driving would undermine ( (or to “marginalize” it as the interviewer would put it) the greater and deeper causes behind the present-day Saudi women’s movement.

    Masha’Allah, an interview well-done sister Hebah, May Allah ta’ala accept.

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  32. Abu Sumaiyah

    Last night, I went to the Mall of Dharhran. I was waiting for a store to open after Isha. There was this young 20-something saudi girl walking around the mall with her abayah open for all to see. the way she walked and having her legs stick out of her abayah she was asking for attention. this was obvious she was looking to get attention from men. i turned away from her. then a heard a man stomping. i figured he was trying to get the attention of the girl. when the store opened, i turned back and i saw the young woman acting very bizzare. she was all like, why are you stomping and calling at me. what do you think i am. along these lines. i thought to meself the way you present yourself shows what you are asking for. we all knew what she wanted. these scenes are not uncommon in malls in dammam/khobar/dharahan. i have seen this many times. at least her legs were covered.

    you all need to understand that the youth here are very confused. they look to the western society will admiration. you all have to realize that calling for women to drive here will only provoke this kind of behaviour. i also dont know why you all are saying there is no religious justification. there is and shaykh bin baz and uthaymeen were clear. they declared the fatwa in part because of the fitnah that having women drivers causes. their reasons are sound. it is just many people who live in the west have been polluted by their ideology. you must remember that in an islamic state, a number of the freedoms in the west do not exist in the islamic state. you need to clear your mind of this western idealized version of the islamic state.

    I strongly believe that you all are contributing to the fitnah in this country. you should all remain quiet as this issue has nothing to do with you. please remain quiet. this is true for most, the kind of women that are calling to have their rights, are not the type that we should look up to or let our sons marry. the kind of women I described above is the kind of woman who wants to drive. whether you like it nor not, believe it or not, this is true. i live here. i see things. i speak to people. i have a better idea than you.

    may allaah protect this country and all muslim countries from this western backed campaign to create a new middle east in a new world order.

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    • Muslimah

      Assalamu ‘Alaykum Abu Sumaiyah,

      Twice in your response, you write, “you all” as in: “you all need to understand,” and “you all are contributing to the fitnah in this country.” Who are “we all,” may I ask? The Muslimeen? If so, then who are you? The only true Believer? Also, you describe Saudi women who wish to drive as those “we should not allow our sons to marry.” In this instance, you have united us – the Muslimeen – again, but subhan Allah, in exclusion of Saudi women who wish to drive. Whether or not Saudi women who wish to drive are true Believers, or whether or not you are a true Believer, is not for me, or you or anyone but Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala to judge. May Allah Al Jal wa Al ‘Alaa bring peace and light and love into your heart and into all of our hearts, and into your home and into all of our homes. Ameen.

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      • Abu Sumaiyah

        By you all I mean all of the Muslims that are calling for something you know nothing about anbd consequences it has. If you want I can get the technical by the “us” that Sr Heba used when talking about American values. As a North American and Muslim, I dont value American values. I can also get technical about the “we” used by other people when talking about political issues.

        So please if you have something constructuve to comment then do so. dont post semantics.

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      • Saeed

        You are not the only representative of Saudi Arabia here. Many women who are poor and widows
        would need to drive as well. Just because some of the vocal supporters of driving are from rich backgrounds or are westernised does not mean that everyone who will benefit from driving is like that.

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    • Carlos

      Abu Sumaiyah, in your first paragraph, you claim to know the young woman’s intention in leaving her abaya open. Maybe she was just feeling hot or constricted. Maybe she just wanted to feel more physically comfortable. And if she wanted attention from men, so what? Everyone likes attention sometimes. It might be a little vain, but whose business is that but the woman’s? The man who was stomping at her was acting like a child, and was not minding his own business.

      In your second and third paragraphs, you claim, without any significant reasoning, that allowing women to drive will lead to more women dressing casually or seeking attention. I do not see the connection. Driving is about transportation. Loose abayas are about style of dress. You say women who want to be able to transport themselves more freely also have morals that are more loose. You seem certain of this, but do not explain your causation theory. Perhaps if you could explain the connection better, I might understand. Are other countries outside of Saudi Arabia experiencing more fitnah because they allow women to drive? Would Muslims from other countries disagree with your conclusion?

      You seem to think this is a Western “campaign” to “pollute” Saudi Arabian culture. I suspect you have an anti-Western bias bordering on paranoia. Am I being unfair in making such a guess? Do you have any evidence of an active Western “campaign?” Who is organizing it? What funds are they using? Why are they doing it? How are they doing it? If we were to ask one of the women participating in the protest, what do you think they would say about such an accusation?

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      • Abu Sumaiyah

        Most to all of you are speaking about s culture and society that you do not understand. Saudi is a closed society. Young males have minimal access to entertainment, malls, etc. The women are also secluded from society. As a Muslim, I believe that the best place for the woman is the home. You have to understand that the kind of people I mentioned, if you give them the means to go out on their own, they will likely increase doing what they are currently doing. Yes, we see people going around malls trying to pick up guys/girls. I saw a saudi woman one time holding her abayah tighly and walking in a seductive way. she literally had a line up of young saudi me following her with their tongues on the floor. In fact, it was so obivious, that it was like everyone in the mall stopped in disgust or awe depending on kind of person they are. these kinds of things will increase of young women can get behind a car and go anywhere at anytime. whether or not you understand or take it as fact, it is of no concern to me. The scholars of the Muslims are clear, and their reasons are significant enough. I dont let western beliefs define what islam is and isn’t. i dont care about what westerns value when it comes to the religion.

        Carlos, this is a Muslim country. This is society’sbusiness when we have people behaving in a improper way in public. just the other day I saw an American woman walking in Dhahran like she would in America. You better beliebe both Saudi’s and non-saudi’s told her to cover up or go back to her compound. People must abide by the laws of Allah aza wa jall. no one has a right improper attention whether public or private.

        Only a person is unable to think critically about world events these days would actually believe these kinds of things are happening on their own. Only a naive person would not believe or understand that the National Endowment for Democracy, which has seen great increaes of its funding increase under Barack Obama. Yes, there is a so-called perfect storm in the middle east right being pushed by the western elites. it is clear. in 2010 Muslims were not calling for democracy. it wasnt until 2011 until mslims around the world starting calling for democracy. talking about this world citizrenship that we must all accept to progress further.

        In all honesty, i am not concern with what a small group of liberal westernized women think in saudi arabia. the majority of the women here disagree with them

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    • Sebkha

      That’s a weird story. But not nearly as weird as the correlation you attempt to make between a weird girl at a mall, the weirder man stomping, and women being able to drive in Saudi Arabia. I’ve been driving half of my entire lifetime, since I got my permit as a 15 yr old, and I’ve never walked weirdly around any malls with my jilbab open, trying to get people to stomp at me. Why haven’t I done this yet-is it because I haven’t been driving long enough? Why is that you were able to witness this strange, latenight mall madness in the absence of women being able to drive in Saudi Arabia if this is supposed to be what will inevitably happen if this rule is overturned? Do tell, inquiring minds want to know!!

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      • Amad

        ha ha
        good one.

        In Qatar, the phenomenon of open jilbabs seems to be more associated with those who have drivers. So, mb we need to force women to drive in qatar so that they wear proper jilbabs????? Perfect cause and effect.

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    • be

      salam alaikum Abu Sumeyha, I understand your concern I really do and I saw like you those young girls wearing super tight abaya and puttting them up in order to walk showing their fashion slim and red shoes….But do yuo believe that by just forbidding women to drive that would solve the issue or at least limit it? Then let’s stop the use of cellphones, internet, schools, malls, even going to Mecca!!! Some women are acting unislamic yes but so are the men …You said youth are fascinated by the west indeed they are …by banning things that are not haram would make them more likely to be even more fascinated by the west…For that issue the answer lies somewhere else perhaps redirecting how we Muslims see ourselves and the rest of the world . Having a true philosophy of education that is totally lacking in the middle east and that would shape our students mentalities and vision of themselves and the world would be a good start . We have no philosophy of education (not some mix of old colonized view od education with a touch of nationalism..) that would answer our crisis of identity ; China and India has done it why not the middle east?

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  33. sara

    Assalamua Alaikum,

    I enter the fray again. You all are arguing to argue. Again I read justification–the same old line that manipulates fiqh to oppress women. There is no justification for a law prohibiting driving of women in Islam. It is contrary to the roles women held during the life of the Prophet, peace be upon him, and serves to relegate women to the role of dependency where the Quran and Sunna do not. Women in the Prophet’s time worked, lived, participated in the community, even the battles. Some were even widows who lived alone and the capable women who rode camels were praised, not prohibited and nor slandered by calling their capability a sign of immodesty, shamelessness, or less piousness. These are innovations and manipulations of fiqh and prohibiting something randomly is an innovation and a going astray. This serves to oppress the women and weaken them in our communities and this is all very haraam. Those who make ridiculous arguments justifying it only join in the oppression. Fear Allah as the Quran tells us all to.

    As for “forcing” people, that is also inappropriate. Every government should offer asylum to women from Saudi who ask because they have been denied Islamic rights–including the right not to be oppressed and denied the same opportunities men have as long as it comports with the fiqh–unshaded by long strings of justification that get back to–“anything we want to prohibit women from doing is o.k. because we must protect them, regardless of the Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him.” Yes, the Sunnah that warned men to be cautious because women are their partners and committed helpers.

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  34. Farhan

    Frankly, it seems absurd that women can’t drive in Saudi…but wow, that’s an amazing insight…it should be from the inside or it will be seen as Westernism exerting its influence…

    I wish I was as insightful as this Sr Heba Ahmed

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  35. Khalida

    I completely agree with Mezba. Also, with all due respect, I see some double standards here.

    There was a global outrage in the Muslim community about the ban on hijabs/niqabs in France because we knew it impinged on individual freedom. It was wrong so we protested against it, in spite of what the cultural attitudes in those countries may have been.

    And most of us will also agree that banning women from driving is just as ridiculous, from any way you look at it. But this time around, we have to step back and let the Saudi women figure it out for themselves because it’s a cultural thing and we shouldn’t be forceful?

    Should Muslims not always be at the forefront of calling out a wrong when they see one?

    And honestly, anyone who comes up these kind of absurd laws (which do more harm to the image of Islam in the long run) is a stooge and should be ridiculed by other Muslims. Especially if he’s a self-proclaimed “scholar.” Call a spade a spade.

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  36. Muddassir

    Guys this is not about whether women can drive or not but whether USA has the right to keep on interfering in other countries affairs. USA can support the numerous movements against injustices taking place in their own country instead of acting as if everything is perfect in USA and trying to export their corrupt system to others.
    Why don’t they bomb saudi and kill innocent people including women and children (their logic: better dead than being not able to drive a car) to support the female drivers like they have always supported the movements around the world.

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  37. Sis. Aniqa

    As-salaamu-wa-alaikum-wa-rahmatullahi-wa-barkatuhu,

    Masha-Allah Sister Hebah!!!!!!

    We need more knowledgeable sisters like you to respond to issues like these!

    May Allah (s.w.t) reward you and guide all of those who have gone astray. Ameen.

    Jazakum Allahu Khairun

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  38. ahlam

    I don’t think there is a need to debate this issue that is going on in Saudi as changes are going to happen, it is only a matter of time. Ya’ni , chill ya muslimeen the women will start driving sooner than you think, inshAllah in time.

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  39. Brother

    With regards to driving in Saudi Arabia, perhaps the Saudi sheiks should look at women driving from another angle. Perhaps a car could be a complement to the abaya because it does a better job of covering them up? In this case, women driving should be a very noble thing. Just a thought.

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  40. Khadeejah Islam

    Assalamu alaykum! :)

    I just had 2 questions on this issue:

    1. Is it not wrong to “prohibit the good things which Allah has made lawful to you (Qur’an 5:87)?”

    2. Just like we speak up against certain cultural practices of the West (such as the way they dress for instance), why should we not speak up against this ban which has no logical or religious basis?

    I agree that Saudi Arabian women should decide whether they should protest or not, and that if they choose to protest, then they should take the lead, but based on the 2 questions above, I think it is fine for everyone else from around the world to protest.

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  41. Nasser

    Actually, in Saudi Arabia there isn’t an actual law that bans women from driving. Saudi Arabia is a monarchy and they jail anyone they want. The monarchy has unlimited power, which is totally against the Shari’ah.

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