The veil behind the wheel

Updated 23 May 2013
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The veil behind the wheel

This is in reference to the story “Gulf women drivers reject the idea of removing veil.” I just do not understand the reason for imposing such a ban. Why should there even be a debate over liberty and rights of women that do not impinge on the rights of others?
The belief of Oman traffic police that the veil restricts vision and represents hazard is totally presumptuous and is not based on any scientific study and analysis. It is not at all an issue or a matter of concern involving safety of the drivers, passengers or others on the road when a woman drives a vehicle with her face covered as she can see things as clearly as others without it.
If the traffic police intend to see the face for identity purposes, there are a lot of other means to verify the identity. They could ask for her driving license or an ID card. Further, the technology has given us cheap and easy-to-use fingerprints devices, which could be deployed to verify the true identity of women drivers. There are several other administrative ways and means to monitor the activities of the motorists, including the women driving with veil.
I would wish that the Gulf states do not allow such issues to be hijacked by those who do not lose any opportunity to ridicule and make fun of issues and culture associated with Islam or Muslim communities.
Yes, there is a need to unify the laws and regulations related to traffic violations and offences in the Gulf region. More importantly, they should consider prescribing stricter punishments for reckless driving, including ignoring traffic lights, speeding, zigzag driving, abrupt lane crossing. These traffic violations should be considered criminal felonies and not just traffic misdemeanors. — Safi H. Jannaty, Dammam


Cartoon in bad taste

Updated 07 August 2017
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Cartoon in bad taste

I wish to use my “right of reply” to complain about the unfortunate caricature that appeared on Aug. 5, 2017, in your well-known newspaper. The cartoon represents President Nicolas Maduro sitting on a military tank and a hand coming out of the tank’s cannon writing on a book titled “New Constitution.” Such a caricature is offensive to my country.
What the caricature seems to imply is that President Maduro wants to rewrite a new constitution with the power of arms. This is totally false. It is immoral to give your readers such a forged image of Venezuela and its constitutionally- and democratically-elected government.
The revision of our constitution, which is among the best in the world, is mainly to reinforce it and make it more adaptable to the new times. It is not an imposition of our president; it has been backed by more than 8 million Venezuelans and has the objective of re-establishing the peace process that has been trampled by a violent opposition backed by interested foreign countries that pretend to give orders to our sovereign populace.
I fail to understand why some international media report fake news about my country, with the purpose of undermining our sovereignty, and the people of Venezuela’s absolute right to decide, in a free and independent manner, how it wants to conduct its internal affairs.
I invite your newspaper to inform about our country with the truth and the same respect that we, in Venezuela, treat to our brothers of Saudi Arabia.

Joseba Achutegui
Ambassador of Venezuela
Riyadh
Saudi Arabia