Women drivers will reduce crashes, says interior minister

Interior Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Saud.
Updated 28 September 2017
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Women drivers will reduce crashes, says interior minister

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia’s lifting of a ban on women drivers will reduce the number of car crashes, said the Kingdom’s interior minister.
Prince Abdulaziz bin Saud bin Naif, the interior minister who took over in June, said security forces were ready to apply traffic laws to men and women.
“Women driving cars will transform traffic safety to educational practice which will reduce human and economic losses caused by accidents,” he was quoted as saying on the ministry’s official Twitter feed.
Meanwhile, a government spokesman said Saudi women will be allowed to drive from the age of 18.
Asked on Al Arabiya TV about the minimum age for Saudi women, Interior Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Mansour Al-Turki said: “Eighteen years is the age at which a person can obtain a driver’s license and drive a car in the Kingdom.”
In a royal decree issued on Tuesday, King Salman ordered an end by next year of the ban on women drivers.
The decree stipulated that the move must “apply and adhere to the necessary Shariah standards.”
The king ordered a ministerial committee to report within 30 days on how to implement the new policy by June 24, 2018.
UN human rights experts praised the ban’s removal as a major step toward women’s autonomy and independence.
While Saudi women have welcomed the lifting of the driving ban, some men have expressed concern it would increase the number of cars on already crowded roads.
A typical middle- to upper-class Saudi family has two vehicles, one driven by the man of the house and a second car in which a full-time chauffeur transports his family.


Hajj 2018: What’s on pilgrims’ bucket lists

Masjid Quba in Madinah is a favorite destination for Hajj pilgrims, according to tour guides. Below: The Cave of Hira, Al-Baqi’ cemetery and the Prophet’s Chamber allow visitors to step back in time. (Getty Images)
Updated 15 August 2018
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Hajj 2018: What’s on pilgrims’ bucket lists

  • A number of companies in Makkah and Madinah help people organize their trips, making sure they cover the important sites in the two holy cities
  • Most of the sites in the two holy cities are spiritual, giving pilgrims a sense of the prophecies

RIYADH: Hajj is one of the biggest dreams of every Muslim’s life, and pilgrims looking forward to their stay in Makkah and Madinah say a bucket list is the best way to plan the trip. 

Most of the sites in the two holy cities are spiritual, giving pilgrims a sense of the prophecies. Standing in the places of the Holy Prophet transports them back to the past as if they lived those incredible moments. 

A number of companies in Makkah and Madinah help people organize their trips, making sure they cover the important sites in the two holy cities.

Sayed Shafei, an operation manager for City Sightseeing, a tour company in Madinah and worldwide, told Arab News: “We offer a special tour with a multilingual tour guide presented in eight languages. We also offer 24-hour tickets. We have scheduled tourism trips starting from the Prophet’s Mosque to 12 destinations every 30 minutes. The whole trip lasts for 14 hours a day.” 

Asked about the most popular requests, Shafei said: “Our customers always ask to visit Masjid Quba, the Sayed Al-Shuhada Mosque in Uhud, which is considered a vital historic landmark of Madinah, and Al-Qiblatain Mosque.” 

Most of the group’s customers are from East Asia, but many also visit from Kuwait, Bahrain, the UAE, Indonesia, Malaysia, the US and Europe.

Munirah Al-Jebreen, an English instructor at Princess Noura University who will perform Hajj this year, told Arab News her bucket list began with an online search. 

“I found a travel guide on Google that has all the best sites in Madinah and Makkah, so I decided to visit Uthman ibn Affan’s Farm and Well in Madinah, the Holy Qur’an exhibition, and one of the most important places I want to visit is the grave of the Holy Prophet,” she said.

The area between the Prophet’s Chamber, which holds his grave, and the Mimbar is known as the Rawdah, which is actually the Garden of Paradise. It is presently distinguished by a green carpet.

Al-Jebreen also listed some of her planned tour destinations in Makkah, including the Cave of Hira, where the Holy Prophet meditated frequently during the first 40 years of his life and the site of the first revelation. 

She will also visit Bilal Mosque and Mount Abu Qubais and, finally, will try Al-Garmushi, one of the famous traditional restaurants in Makkah.