Saudi woman driver sparks new debate
Manama: A Saudi woman said she was forced to drive her car in Dammam after she fell out with her driver and he walked away.
The video clip of the veiled woman behind the steering wheel, explaining the reasons why she was driving, went viral on social media, and sparked the usual arguments between those who call for allowing women to be able to drive and those who oppose that right.
The woman said she was being driven to King Fahd Specialist Hospital in Dammam, the largest city in the Eastern Province, to conduct a study she needed for her work.
However, on the way, she had an argument with the driver who handed her the car keys and left her, Saudi news site Al Marsad reported on Thursday.
The woman added she was forced to drive the car.
Those who opposed her move said she broke the laws and regulations and should be punished for her “misbehaviour.”
“It is obvious that she had plotted the whole thing,” a social media user, Badawi said. “She has no excuse whatsoever, and she is in fact stirring up the people. I am sure she is being used by people to foment trouble,” he said.
Sameer said she should have called her husband or a relative to give her a lift and take her wherever she wanted.
“Even if her story is true, why did she film it and post it on the internet? I am sure there is something totally wrong here,” he said.
However, those who supported her said she had the right to drive, especially that she was in a difficult situation and needed a practical solution.”
“It is her basic right to drive and whoever holds a different opinion has to engage in some form of introspection,” Moderate posted.
Mudeera, another user, said the woman was in her right to drive the car.
“We women suffer so much because of the driving restrictions imposed on us,” she said. “We are at the mercy of drivers who often take advantage of our weak situation,” she added.
The presence of thousands of male drivers to drive mainly Saudi women and girls has been regularly used by supporters of allowing women to drive to highlight negative social and economic problems.
The arguments have also been boosted by “grave concerns” felt by several women when riding with taxi drivers.
No legal text bans women from driving in Saudi Arabia and the issue is related mainly to social traditions.
The de facto ban has been at times challenged by women, but they were accused of “stirring up public opinion.”