King Salman issues decree allowing women to drive in Saudi Arabia

King Salman. (SPA file photo)
Updated 27 September 2017
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King Salman issues decree allowing women to drive in Saudi Arabia

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia on Tuesday said it would allow women to drive in the Kingdom, in the latest move in a string of social and economic reforms underway in the country.

King Salman issued the decree, according to a royal court statement carried by the Saudi Press Agency (SPA).

“The royal decree will implement the provisions of traffic regulations, including the issuance of driving licenses for men and women alike,” the SPA said.

The decree orders the formation of a ministerial body to give advice on the practicalities of the edict within 30 days and to ensure the full implementation of the order by June 2018.

The move was announced on television and also by the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs. “Saudi Arabia allows women to drive,” the ministry confirmed on Twitter.

The decree referred to the "negative effects of not allowing women to drive vehicles, and the positive effects envisaged from allowing them to do so" within the context of Islamic laws.

The prohibition is considered a social issue in the Kingdom, as there is no actual law or religious edict that prohibits it. 

For years, the topic has been the center of extensive debate in government, media and social circles.


'Huge step'

Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the US, Prince Khaled bin Salman, described the decision of allowing women to drive as a “huge step.”  

“It's not just a social change, it's part of economic reform,” he said. “Our leadership believes this is the right time to do this change because in Saudi Arabia, we have a young, dynamic open society.” 

The ambassador said women will not need to get permission from legal guardians to get a license.

Furthermore, if a woman has a driver’s license in another Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) country, she's allowed to drive in Saudi Arabia, he said.


Ever wondered how they clean the floor around the Kaaba during Hajj? Quickly

Updated 19 August 2018
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Ever wondered how they clean the floor around the Kaaba during Hajj? Quickly

  • Hundreds of thousands of people walk around the Kaaba during Hajj
  • The process of cleaning the floor is a well rehearsed task that takes minutes

DUBAI: With millions of people currently attending Makkah as they perform the Hajj pilgrimage, which includes circumambulating the Kaaba, it is no wonder that things need to be cleaned.

This sped-up video footage, that has been shared on social media, shows how teams of cleaners enter the Mataf (the circumambulation area around the Kaaba), while a line of security stop the pilgrims entering the area which is being cleaned with a long line of rope.  

The process is well rehearsed, so the teams of cleaners take little time to ensure the area is ready in a short time, so that pilgrims can continue.

Here’s the video: