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.


ThePlace: The Prophet’s Mosque

Updated 26 May 2018
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ThePlace: The Prophet’s Mosque

  • King Abdul Aziz made the first improvements between 1950 and 1955
  • The end of 2013 saw the largest expansion in the mosque’s history

MADINAH: The Prophet’s Mosque Hundreds of thousands of worshippers performed the second Friday prayer at the Prophet’s Mosque during this holy month of Ramadan.
Visitors to Madinah are pleasantly surprised by the minarets of the Prophet’s Mosque, which are considered an Islamic architectural landmark and are visible throughout the city.
During the Prophet Muhammad’s time 1,400 years ago, the call to prayer was performed from the roof of the house closest to the mosque.
But Umayyad Caliph Al-Walid bin Abd Al-Malik ordered the construction of four minarets, one on each corner of the mosque, from where prayers would be called.
Since the establishment of Saudi Arabia, the mosque has undergone massive expansions to cater for the growing number of worshippers.
King Abdul Aziz made the first improvements between 1950 and 1955. The expansions continued between 1986 and 1993 when six minarets were added, raising the total to 10.
Four of them stand at the northern part of the mosque, five at the southeast corner and one at the southwest corner.
Each minaret consists of five floors, each with its own shape, height, diameter and decoration. The end of 2013 saw the largest expansion in the mosque’s history, its capacity increasing to 2 million worshippers.