More than 100 sheikhs, imams, judges, Islamic scholars, university teachers, and several heads of Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice centres in Saudi Arabia have signed a statement warning against the dangers of allowing women to drive in the kingdom. The Saudi newspaper Arab News reports that teachers from the Grand Mosque in Mecca and the Prophet's Mosque in Medina also signed the statement, which claims that "the enemies of Islam" are trying to destroy the great role women have been given in Islam by corrupting them and therefore also corrupting the Islamic world.SAUDI ARABIA: RELIGIOUS OFFENSIVE AGAINST LIFTING FEMALE DRIVING BAN
The campaign against allowing women to drive follows efforts by Shuria Council member Muhammad al-Zulfa to get the ban lifted. However, his proposal for the issue to be discussed by the Council in May was rejected and prompted calls for him to be kicked off the consultative council. The Saudi interior minister, Prince Najef, has also recently rejected calls for the ban to be lifted, saying the kingdom has other priorities.
The statement signed by those supporting the driving ban, which was published on the Internet, said that no Islamic scholar or "good figure in society" had called for women to drive. It dismissed anyone who did as being people who damage the image of Islamic women.
Those who talk of "injustice for women" and portray Muslim women as not having any rights, saying their homes are prisoners, their husbands mistreat them and their hijabs [the Muslim headscarf] are a sign of backwardness are enemies of Islam, according to the statement.
Arguments for women driving are also dismissed in the statement, which claims that hiring foreign drivers is less of an economic burden to Saudi Arabia, as having more than one driver in a family would lead to multiple car ownership and the government would also have to open up special female sections in all traffic departments. It also points to the ruling in Islam which says that if an act derives more misdeeds, then it is not permissible, though there is no explanation of what misdeeds women driving would cause.