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Jun 16 2011

Let’s go out driving (and cycling) on 17 June

Manal al-Sharif is the young woman behind the Saudi Women2Drive Campaign, which calls on women to come out driving in contravention of the driving ban in Saudi Arabia on 17 June as a form of protest. Whilst al Sharif has been forced to pledge that she will withdraw from the campaign in order to secure her release from prison after having been arrested for posting a video of herself driving on Youtube, others are preparing to come out on the day in full force.

And we must stand (drive) with Manal and them.

Since I don’t drive*, I will be cycling.

Cycling – by the way – is just as ruinous a feat for women as driving so it should be just as fun.

According to Ayatollah Alamolhoda, the Friday Prayer leader of Mashhad, Iran, a woman who wears her headscarf back and cycles is more dangerous than any ‘ferocious animal and stinging insect’ (darandeh va gazandeh). Of course he says it is not ‘haram’ (forbidden) for a girl or woman to cycle in her own house. But on the streets! That is a different story.

According to him, a women cycling can result in ‘corruption’ and ‘prostitution!’

So I do hope you will come out with me on 17 June to defend women’s rights to drive and cycle and challenge these reactionaries of our times.

Don’t forget this isn’t just about driving or cycling. They are only indications of the status of women in countries under Islamic rule and one more very good reason why religion (rather than women) should be kept off the streets.

Upload a photo of yourself driving around if you can. I know I will. I think we should all do something to support this important cause. You can find out more and join the campaign on its Facebook page.

You can also sign a petition here.

Here is the video of Manal driving that got her arrested:

* I know – it is embarrassing that I don’t drive and I do have a long-winded story to justify it, which I will tell you sometime.

6 comments

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  1. 1
    muhayman jamil

    Well done Maryam. I will be out there too, Cycling tomorrow, supporting the right of the down-trodden women of Iran & Saudi

  2. 2
    proud-hijabi

    "* I know – it is embarrassing that I don’t drive and I do have a long-winded story to justify it, which I will tell you sometime."

    looool sorry but that is hilarious, how you can you lecture hijabed women for not being able to drive when you can't even drive yourself. you are one big enormous JOKE!

  3. 3
    humble-cyclist

    @proud-hijabi
    Logic fail.

  4. 4
    theObserver

    "According to him, a women cycling can result in ‘corruption’ and ‘prostitution!’"

    The Roman Catholic priests banned women cycling in my home town in Ireland during the 1960's because they feared the flashing of ankle could lead to sinful thoughts.

    Differnt religion, same shit.

  5. 5
    Bloc hornet

    good luck to you guys

  6. 6
    Kev

    This is shocking, the first I have ever heard but this may be due to me staying away from religious stuff.

    I do not agree at all though, women should be able to ride a bike or drive. It is ridiculous to think that they can not!

    @proud-hijabi how on earth is this an enormous joke? You don't have to do something to be able to comment on that subject or have an opinion about it. I have proven this many times in my life but I guess some people just don't see things the way I do.

    I've often had an opinion on something, did it and then my opinion the majority of the time has stayed the same as before I had done it.

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