A well-known conservative academic in Saudi Arabia prepared a report for the Shura Council, the country’s legislative assembly, to warn that giving Saudi women the right to drive would mean the end of virginity in the country. (photo, from bbcimg.co.uk)
Saudi women have organised several campaigns in order to try to lift the ban.
Even though there is no formal ban, Saudi women can be arrested if they get behind the wheel.
Women argued that on top of the practical difficulties it generates, this ban is illogical because while trying to keep them under family control and away from men, it puts them in daily contact with a male driver.
According to some Saudi women this subject, which has received an important international attention, has attracted too much interest and is hiding other issues that are just as meaningful.
The conservative religious elite, which is a key power base for any Saudi ruler, has been angered by King Abdullah’s careful reform process. He said women will vote in the next election and allowed suggestions that the ban on women driving might be reviewed.
As a result Kamal Subhi, a well-known academic in the conservative religious elite, has presented a report to the Shura.
The aim of the report is to get the legislative assembly to drop its plans to reconsider the ban.
In order to do that it comprises graphic warnings that letting women drive would increase prostitution, pornography, homosexuality and divorce.
A Saudi woman who has campaigned for women drivers told the BBC that the report was completely mad and added that the head of the Shura has assured women campaigners that he was still open to hearing the case for lifting the ban.