Hashtags, memes and GIFs: Social media celebrates Saudi women driving

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Saudis took to social media in their droves on Tuesday night to welcome King Salman’s historic decree allowing women to drive. (Photo courtesy: social media)
Updated 27 September 2017
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Hashtags, memes and GIFs: Social media celebrates Saudi women driving

JEDDAH: Saudis took to social media in their droves on Tuesday night to welcome King Salman’s historic decree allowing women to drive.
Trending Arabic hashtags launched just a few seconds after the announcement included #KingBacksWomenDrive and #WomenDrive.
The milestone was greeted with jubilation on social media, with the hashtag #SaudiWomenCanDrive.
“Congratulations to Saudi women and men. Finally the ban on driving is lifted and soon women will be further enabled on the way to self-determination,” said Aiyah Saihati. “This issue is more than the sum of its parts. It is about unclogging a major social and economic artery that will significantly impact the country’s dynamism.”

She said she was delighted this collective aspiration has finally been realized.
“I’m so beyond happy Saudi Arabia is allowing women to drive. Everyone gets a carrr!,” one tweet said, sharing a famous GIF of the queen of talk shows, Oprah Winfrey.

Expatriates in Saudi Arabia joined enthusiastically in the online debate. “I’m literally shocked. I’ve been here my whole life This is a whole new era!” one Twitter user said.

Men also rejoiced and called the royal decree “a historic decision” and “a great triumph for Saudi females.”
Others cheered at the news while demanding the ban on cinemas be lifted as well.
Meanwhile, Saudis proved once again that humor is an essential part of their existence as memes and jokes flooded the trending hashtag.
“I’m gonna crash my ex’s car,” one woman joked, while another shared a screenshot deleting the cab-hailing apps Careem and Uber.

A meme of women riding bumper cars was captioned: “Dreams come true,” with a line that read: “Started from the bottom … now we are here.”

Some complained about predicted traffic jams once the decision comes into effect. Others argued that traffic would not increase because most families would terminate their drivers’ services once their daughters start driving.
Others chose the voice of reason and called for the various parties to calm down and respect each other’s opinions.
Salman Al-Dosary, a writer with the pan-Arab daily Asharq Al-Awsat, said: “It’s your right to disagree with the decision, but it’s not your right to disrespect those who disagree with you. Don’t confiscate others’ opinions.”

The moderate side suggested if families would not allow their women to drive, at least they should employ a female driver to put the family’s mind at rest.
Prominent Gulf figures also shared their opinions.

“Saudi Arabia’s joyous news continues to flood in all fields, and its achievements accumulate well in a blessed step led by King Salman with confidence and a positive vision, congratulations,” tweeted Anwar Gargash, the UAE’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs


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

Updated 40 min 23 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.