Women driving takes a new turn: Activists advised to undergo counseling

Updated 05 December 2014
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Women driving takes a new turn: Activists advised to undergo counseling

There has been mixed reaction to the attempt by a Saudi woman to drive home across the border from the UAE, with some urging a less confrontational manner to highlight the issue.
Lojane Al-Hadhlul has a driver's license issued in the UAE. Saudi border control officers stopped her from entering Saudi territory in her car on the Saudi-UAE border on Monday.
Al-Hadhlul had posted photographs and video clips of her driving on her Twitter account. In one of her tweets, she stated: “Now I'm 10 minutes drive from the Saudi border. While I have a Saudi passport, I carry a UAE driver's license that is valid in all GCC countries.”
Chief of the Hadhlul clan, Abdul Rahman Al-Hadhlul, deputy chairman of the Riyadh Charity Society for the Memorization of the Holy Qur'an, said the women's driving campaign is part of a Western anti-Saudi initiative.
“Any conservative society committed to its values will stand up against these Western attacks with the help of its wise sons especially when the campaigns violate the country's rules,” he said.
He said he supports counseling for women driving activists so that they change their attitude.
Their current behavior undermines the unity of the country and incites sedition, he said.
Several women have taken to Twitter to express their views on the incident but appear divided on the manner in which Al-Hadhlul raised the issue. Many support the idea of women driving.
Hana Al-Amri said Al-Hadhlul was making a bold attempt to highlight the issue, but said it would not work in the Kingdom where only the government could change the status quo.
Alya Saeeda, a university student, said: “Society's disapproval in the Kingdom is rooted in the fear of the undesirable consequences of having women driving freely.”
She said Saudi society must be prepared for such a change, and that the negative reaction was natural because this is how people react to change. She said women should drive because they have different roles to play compared to the past.
Salimah Ali said change cannot take place overnight and called on women not to adopt a confrontational approach. They should attempt to work with the authorities to bring about change.
The Interior Ministry has commented several times on the ban order issued in 1990, which clearly states that women are not permitted to drive in the Kingdom.


Saudi Arabia calls on Qatar to allow its pilgrims to perform Hajj

Updated 33 min 10 sec ago
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Saudi Arabia calls on Qatar to allow its pilgrims to perform Hajj

  • The ministry accused the Qatari government of blocking attempts by its citizens to perform the pilgrimage
  • Saudi Arabia is one of several Arab countries that launched a boycott of Qatar in 2017 over the country’s support for extremist groups

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Hajj and Umrah has created a new webpage for Qataris who wish to perform the pilgrimage this year.
Qatari Hajj pilgrims can register their details, browse packages and pay for them at: https://qh1440.haj.gov.sa

The ministry called on Qatar not to block the webpage as it did previously and “cooperate in order to allow its citizens to perform Hajj easily.”

Saudi Arabia is one of several Arab countries that launched a boycott of Qatar in 2017 over the country’s support for extremist groups.

The embargo includes transport restrictions between Qatar and Saudi Arabia, but the Kingdom has taken measures to ensure pilgrims from Qatar can travel freely for Hajj and Umrah.

The ministry said on Saturday it had taken several steps to ensure pilgrims could enter Saudi Arabia for for Hajj, which starts next month. But the ministry accused the Qatari government of blocking attempts by its citizens to perform the pilgrimage.

Following a recent meeting with a Qatari delegation to discuss the logistics of pilgrims from the country arriving in the Kingdom, the delegation from Doha left without signing any agreements to enable access for it citizens, according to the ministry.

In response to Doha’s actions, the statement said that Qatari pilgrims could complete their applications upon arrival in Saudi Arabia.