British MP praises Saudi crown prince for ‘ideological commitment’ to women’s rights

British MP Naz Shah praised Crown Prince Mohammed for promoting a moderate interpretation of Islam. (AFP)
Updated 08 March 2018
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British MP praises Saudi crown prince for ‘ideological commitment’ to women’s rights

LONDON: Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has made important steps toward improving the rights of women in the Kingdom, a prominent British female MP said this week.
Writing for the UK’s news website on Tuesday, Naz Shah, vice chair of the all-party parliamentary group on British Muslims, praised Crown Prince Mohammed for promoting a moderate interpretation of Islam.
She said that he had acted out of both “ideological commitment and practical necessity” by diluting the powers of Saudi Arabia’s religious police, granting women the right to drive and tackling corruption.
Shah, an MP for the opposition Labour Party, urged Britain to be a “candid friend” to Crown Prince Mohammed during and after his visit to the country.
“Like many British Muslim girls, I was taught to look to Saudi Arabia as an example in religious matters. Many Muslim Brits won’t even start their Ramadan fast until the Saudi clergy have confirmed the moon sighting, and I have family and friends whose lives have been changed through a pilgrimage there,” she wrote.
“This makes it all the more painful when the example that is set is one of the default marginalization and subjugation of women and girls. This has been the case for too long. But in the past few months things have started to change,” she wrote.
Meanwhile, another Labour MP, Graham Jones, called on his party’s leadership to rethink its critical stance toward Saudi military involvement in Yemen.
Writing on the PoliticsHome website on Tuesday, the chair of the committee on arms export controls said: “No government in the world would accept a rebel force in a neighboring country attacking its citizens and its territory. Why should we expect Saudi, and its allies, to be any different?”


FaceOf: Aseel Al-Hamad, board member of the Saudi Arabian Motor Federation

Updated 28 min 36 sec ago
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FaceOf: Aseel Al-Hamad, board member of the Saudi Arabian Motor Federation

  • Al-Hamad is an interior design engineer graduate, painter and businesswoman who followed her dream about Ferrari cars
  • Al-Hamad is also a member of the Ferrari Owners’ Club in Saudi Arabia

Aseel Al-Hamad, the first Saudi woman board member at the Saudi Arabian Motor Federation (SAMF) and the first Saudi woman to own a Ferrari, is confident that allowing women to drive will have created a positive reflection of Saudi Arabia around the world.
Al-Hamad was appointed as a board member of SAMF in December 2017. She also works as the sports cars section manager at Rose Auto Magazine, the first ladies’ auto magazine in the Middle East.
Al-Hamad is an interior design engineer graduate, painter and businesswoman who followed her dream about Ferrari cars. She owns a successfully run design company called IDegree Design.
She received her bachelor’s degree in interior design from Prince Sultan University in 2009 and did a short interior design course at University of the Arts London in 2013. Al-Hamad is doing her master’s in business administration at Al-Faisal University.
PR Arabia awarded Al-Hamad in February 2018 for her efforts in educating Saudi women on motorsports and driving safely. She was also selected as the jury member of the 6th edition of PR Arabia Auto Awards in Saudi Arabia.
She has won many prizes in drawing and painting competitions. In 2000, Al-Hamad won first prize for the Art Painting Competition in Riyadh, followed by another one the following year, for L’art Pur.
Al-Hamad is also a member of the Ferrari Owners’ Club in Saudi Arabia, the International Automobile Federation and the Saudi Council of Engineers. She believes that the new generation is talented and full of new business ideas.
Earlier, speaking to Arab News, she said: “I was so pleased by the decision, just like any other Saudi woman, and I was assured that my decision to buy the car of my dreams was the best decision to make. I am so happy because I will drive in the Kingdom.”