Two arrested over arson attack on Saudi woman’s car

Police are hunting for arsonists who torched the car of a Saudi female cashier in Makkah on Monday. (Via Social Media)
Updated 06 July 2018

Two arrested over arson attack on Saudi woman’s car

  • Saudis throughout the country have rushed to offer support and comfort to a woman whose car was set on fire by arsonists
  • Like thousands of Saudi women, Salma Al-Sharif took to the roads when the de facto ban on women driving was lifted last month

JEDDAH: Two people were arrested and referred to public prosecutors on Wednesday after a woman’s car was set on fire by arsonists.

Authorities in Makkah said one of the men bought gasoline at a garage and asked the other to help him set the car alight.

Meanwhile Saudis throughout the country have rushed to offer support and comfort to the victim of the arson attack.

Like thousands of Saudi women, Salma Al-Sharif, 33, who works as a cashier in Makkah, took to the roads when the de facto ban on women driving was lifted last month.

But her new freedom came to an end when a neighbor knocked on her door just before dawn on Monday, and told her father her car was on fire.

Al-Sharif said the car was deliberately set alight by men “opposed to women drivers.”

She said she had faced abuse from men in her neighborhood soon after she began driving in a bid to ease her financial pressures.

“Half of my salary of 4,000 riyals was spent on a driver to take me to my workplace and drive my elderly parents,” Al-Sharif said. “But from the first day of driving I was subjected to insults from men.”

Makkah police said the incident was being investigated, and “we are searching for the culprits.”

Saudis from across the social spectrum gave Al-Sharif their support. Lina Almaeena, a Shoura Council member and one of the first Saudi women to drive, said this was an “isolated incident, definitely,” and Saudi laws were strict.

Sahar Nassif, another driver, told Arab News: “This is no more than an isolated act, it will never make society back down on women driving.  Saudi society is 100 percent ready and supportive of women driving. There is no conflict at all.

“These attackers are sick minded and they will be harshly punished by law. This is an objection to royal decisions, and a form of harassment, and I hope they receive what they deserve.”

Saudis on social media took the same view.  Manal (@mnal50) tweeted: “I pray that they get captured, jailed, and pay double the worth of the car for the psychological harm they caused her.”

Hanouf BinHimd (@DrHanouf) said on Twitter: “Where are their education, morals, ethics, religious value?! I hope she gets compensation, and those offenders get captured.”

Some even volunteered transport for Al-Sharif until justice is done. @capt_haitham said: “I am ready to get her a car until things get easier for her.”

 


GCC summit calls for greater economic integration among Gulf countries 

Updated 8 min 32 sec ago

GCC summit calls for greater economic integration among Gulf countries 

  • Heads of the delegations land in Riyadh before the 40th Supreme Council meeting gets under way
  • King Salman tells the summit that the GCC has overcome many crises in its history

RIYADH: The GCC summit called for greater regional economic integration as the meeting chaired by King Salman came to a close in Riyadh on Tuesday.

The final statement, read by GCC General Secretary Abdullatif bin Rashid Al-Zayani, called for finalizing legislation for financial and monetary unity by 2025, according to the meeting's final communique.

The statement also called for boosting military and security cooperation to maintain regional security.

The 40th Supreme Council meeting was chaired by King Salman, who met the heads of each delegation as they landed.

They included the UAE Vice President and Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, Bahrain's King Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa, Oman's Deputy Prime Minister for the Council of Ministers Fahd bin Mahmoud Al-Said and Qatar's Prime Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al-Thani.

In his opening remarks, King Salman said the GCC had managed to overcome many crises that the region has faced.

At a preparatory meeting on Monday, Gulf foreign ministers approved the nomination of former Kuwaiti Finance Minister Nayef Al-Hajraf as the next secretary-general of the GCC.

His term will begin in April 2020 following the end of Al-Zayani’s term.