Saudi King Revokes Flogging Punishment For Female Driver

Saudi King Abdullah has again taken a step toward modernity. Yesterday, he revoked a sentence of 10 lashes imposed on a woman who drove a car. This follows his earlier decision to allow women to vote. The problem is that there is no law criminalizing driving by women. It is a religious edict which continues to apply to citizens with the same force of the law.

Sheima Jastaniah was sentenced on Monday in Jeddah. There is a brave group of civil libertarians and feminists in Saudi Arabia who continue to fight for basic rights. Prince Alwaleed, a nephew of the king, has been the most outspoken in promoting more freedoms for women in Saudi Arabia and civil libertarians in the U.S. need to offer more support to his efforts and the women who are on the frontline for individual rights in the Kingdom.

These problems will continue, however, so long as extreme religious views are given the force of law in the country — leaving women under the constant threat of religious charges and corporal punishment.

Source: Yahoo

7 thoughts on “Saudi King Revokes Flogging Punishment For Female Driver”

  1. The King actually is on the side of granting greater rights to women and his previous statement ( a couple of years ago) regarding women being allowed to drive garnered a big backlash from the religious right, the Whabists. The King backed down. Women driving themselves is the current touchstone of the women’s rights movement in Saudi Arabia and at least one Princess in the royal family is politically aligned with the movement.

    This one arrest was a deliberate slap in the face of the King. Keep in mind that the Royal family has bought off the radical clerics with both money and power for 50 years. The Clerics mostly run the society under their idea of Sharia law and the Royal run everything else. The pardon by the King is then a serious rebuke. This is either the subtle opening in a very serious dispute between the Royals and the Clerics for a new social direction or, well it’s not. It could simply be a way for the King to look Kingly. But it’s way more loaded as an issue than the MSM seems to be giving it credit for being.

  2. “These problems will continue, however, so long as extreme religious views are given the force of law in the country.”

    These problems will continue so long as extreme religious views are given the force of law in ANY country.

  3. It strikes me there are some similarities between judicial punishments that have no basis in law and our current system. Our government is doing (or enabling) all kinds of things that are clearly punishment with no basis in law.

    Unfortunately, the King seems to ‘get it’ better than our current and previous Presidents.

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