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Reform? Saudi Arabia Detains Activists Who Pushed to End Ban on Women Driving

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The bar for the Muslim world is so low, the low expectations of soft bigotry manifest themselves everywhere. Yes, it was good that women were finally allowed to drive in Saudi Arabia. But then why were the activists who tried to get the ban on women driving overturned detained? Let’s not pretend that Saudi Arabia is really becoming “moderate.” Women are still chattel there. The status of women under the sharia is nothing less than abominable.

While assailing President Trump on women’s rights (what specifically, they never say), Western feminists ignore the institutionalized mistreatment of women in Islam. It is unlikely that 1 in 100 American feminists knows that Saudi women still can’t leave the house without a male guardian. Or that a woman needs a male guardian (mahram) whose permission must be granted for travel, medical procedures, obtaining permits. A woman’s guardian arranges her marriage. The system of guardianship is widely abused for economic and social reasons. In 2008, for example, a Muslim father married his eight-year-old daughter off to a 47-year-old man.

“Saudi Arabia Detains Activists Who Pushed to End Ban on Women Driving,” by Ben Hubbard, New York Times, May 18, 2018:

BEIRUT, Lebanon — Saudi Arabia has detained at least five people connected to the campaign to end the kingdom’s longtime ban on women driving, despite the fact that the government has promised to lift the ban next month, associates of the detainees said on Friday.

The Saudi government has billed the lifting of the driving ban as part of a reform push spearheaded by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. The changes have also included curtailing the powers of the religious authorities and expanding the entertainment options available in the conservative kingdom.

In the establishment media, you’re a “conservative” if you support strict application of Sharia, and a “conservative” if you oppose strict application of Sharia.

But those efforts have coincided with waves of arrests that have scooped up clerics, businessmen, members of the royal family and activists who have a history of challenging the government’s positions. Many of them have not been officially charged with crimes despite having been held for months.

In a message on Twitter early Saturday, the Saudi Interior Ministry confirmed that seven people had been arrested after being accused of communicating with “foreign entities,” infiltrating the government and providing financial support to “hostile elements abroad to undermine the security and stability of the kingdom.”…

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