Saudi women mark National Day behind the steering wheel

1 / 2
Hind Khalid Al-Zahid
2 / 2
Saudi women are celebrating the National Day behind the steering wheel. (Supplied)
Updated 24 September 2018
0

Saudi women mark National Day behind the steering wheel

  • Under King Salman and his crown prince, women have been able to obtain their rights and become ambassadors to all the countries of the world

MAKKAH/RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s celebration of its 88th National Day comes at a time when the Kingdom is achieving remarkable progress economically and socially, most notably lifting the ban on women driving.
This is the first National Day in which Saudi women can drive their cars. Writer Heba Qazi said it is a beautiful feeling, and Saudi women can now participate in celebrations and exercise their legitimate right nationwide.
The 88th National Day is a great opportunity to remember past glories and recognize the great sacrifices of those who have held high the banner of Saudi women’s rights, she added.
Under King Salman and his crown prince, women have been able to obtain their rights and become ambassadors to all the countries of the world, she said.
The king and crown prince are “consolidating the stature of this nation and granting women all their rights, including driving cars,” added Qazi
“We take pride in this great day and this important privilege, celebrating National Day for the first time from behind the driving wheel,” she said.
“We also take pride in the nation’s achievements at all levels, and we are endeavoring to highlight the status of women in all fields.”
Psychologist and sociologist Hasna Al-Tallahi said the Kingdom has established itself as the strongest nation in the region by promoting its political and economic position, winning the respect of the entire world and respecting women’s status.
“It also managed to hinder the efforts of many parties to diminish the role of women in all fields,” she added.
“When women obtained some of their rights, most importantly driving, they felt free. They were responsible for their time and family, and were not at the mercy of drivers and society.”
King Salman supports the rights of the most vulnerable worldwide, and the rights of Saudi women by listening to their demands, Al-Tallahi said, expressing great pride in her nation, its leadership and people.
“Challenges are always present and so are their solutions,” she added. “With each new challenge, solutions are created … to achieve women’s progress, growth and advancement.”’
Mesbah Abdulhakim, a supervisor at a hotel in Makkah, said the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 reform plan gives a great deal of attention to women’s issues.
“Lifting the driving ban imposed on women paved the way for many job opportunities in various sectors, not only in health and education,” she added.
Journalist Amira Qatabri said: “Lifting the driving ban on women led to a division between the conservative movement, which controls many aspects of social life in the Kingdom, and a more understanding and open elite.”
Women being able to drive is not just symbolic, but part of what may be the largest transformation in Saudi society in half a century, she added.
Hind Khalid Al-Zahid, the first female Saudi executive director — for the Dammam Airport Co. — and head of the Businesswomen’s Center at the Eastern Province’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said: “This is a very important year in the Kingdom’s history.”
She said: “It establishes a foundation for equal rights and opportunities for men and women, giving women an opportunity to be part of what is happening in the Kingdom regarding national transformation, in line with Vision 2030.”
Saudi actor and presenter Khairiah Abu Laban said: “I am really short for words, and do not know how to thank our leadership for this beautiful feeling.”


US Senate vote ‘will benefit only Iran’

The resolutions were based on “unsubstantiated claims and allegations,” Saudi Arabia said. (Shutterstock)
Updated 18 December 2018
0

US Senate vote ‘will benefit only Iran’

  • “We are a frontline state in the war against terrorism and the Iranian-aligned militias who are our common enemies”
  • The Saudi stance drew support from the Arab Parliament and the Muslim World League, along with analysts and experts

The Arab world threw its weight behind Saudi Arabia’s assertion of its sovereignty on Monday after what Riyadh described as “blatant interference” in its internal affairs by the US Senate.

The move followed Senate resolutions calling for withdrawal of US support for the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen, and blaming Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul in October.

The resolutions were based on “unsubstantiated claims and allegations,” Saudi Arabia said. “The Kingdom categorically rejects any interference in its internal affairs, any and all accusations, in any manner, that disrespect its leadership ... and any attempts to undermine its sovereignty or diminish its stature,” it said.

The Saudi stance drew support from the Arab Parliament and the Muslim World League, along with analysts and experts.

Arab Parliament speaker Dr. Mishaal bin Fahm Al-Salami urged the US Senate “not to interfere in Saudi Arabia’s internal affairs, not to disrespect its leadership and not to undermine its stature.” The Arab Parliament opposed any attempts to undermine the Kingdom or targeted its leadership, reputation and prestige, Al-Salami said.

Dr. Mohammed bin Abdulkarim Al-Issa, secretary general of the Muslim World League, said undermining the sovereignty and leadership of Saudi Arabia was “a red line that no one … is allowed to cross.”

“This interference is only in the interest of the wicked,” he said.

Salman Al-Ansari, founder of the Saudi American Public Relation Affairs Committee (SAPRAC) in Washington, told Arab News it was “unfortunate that members of the US Senate have buckled under the relentless information warfare that has been waged against Saudi Arabia.

“Any vote against the Saudi leadership is a vote against Saudi youth. It is a time of change, dynamism and limitless possibilities in Saudi Arabia, and the crown prince exemplifies that.”

Dr. Hamdan Al-Shehri, a Saudi political analyst and international relations scholar in Riyadh, told Arab News the US and Saudi Arabia were allies and only Iran would gain from a rift between them. “We are a frontline state in the war against terrorism and the Iranian-aligned militias who are our common enemies,” he said.

“Many Americans are unaware of what is happening in the region and how President Obama’s opening up to Iran emboldened Tehran to run amok. By creating this rupture, the US Senate surely realizes who benefits from it. Iran, of course, our common enemy.”