Translation of My Right to Dignity petition

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My Right to Dignity has published an open petition addressed to the King on the occasion of one year since the beginning of the June 17th women driving movement. The petition renews the request to lift the ban. You can sign it by going HERE. Below is a translation:

To his majesty, the custodian of the two holy mosques, King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz, may God save and bless him.

Peace and God’s mercy and blessing be upon you,

We address your majesty with thankfulness and gratitude for the utmost care that you have granted to Saudi women issues and the progressive steps that you have taken to involve women in the national development projects. These steps that you summarized in your historical speech on September 25th 2011 when you said, “We will not approve the marginalization of women.” This was followed by the two decrees concerning women membership on the Shura Council and women participation in the municipal elections.

With the rise in the number of Saudi women granted the King Abdullah international scholarship to 27,500 recipients, many of them have returned hopeful to take part in building this nation side-by-side with their brothers. Due to your advocacy towards opening more fields to women and the implementation of your wise decree this past January to allow women to work in retail, more than 300,000 job opportunities for women have been created and billions of our immigrating riyals have been nationalized.

Thus it is our hope that you take into consideration our campaign I Will Drive My Own Car to encourage women who have obtained driving licenses from neighboring countries to forgo their male drivers and start driving themselves when they need to. This encouragement is nothing more than the practice of a right ensured to us by all religions and national and international law. A right that has been denied us by some customs and traditions that are not of God. We also hope that you advocate the opening of women driving schools and the issuance of driving licenses to women who qualify.

This campaign does not seek to disrupt the government or to violate any national laws or regulations. Here it is important to point out that there is no explicit law banning women from driving. We are not in cooperation with any foreign organizations or bodies nor do we represent a political party or opposition. We do not intend to start a public protest. We merely request that any woman who needs to go about her daily business and does not have a man to help her be allowed to help herself. We want this right to be an option for those who want or need to. As King Faisal (God rest his soul) historically said when he decreed girls’ education, “No one will be forced nor will anyone be turned away.”

Our Precious King, we trust in your majesty and our guardians but we are trying as adult capable women to do everything in our power for the betterment of our families and society.  We seek to facilitate the affairs of our lives and the lives of our families while maintaining respect and loyalty to the values of our gracious nation and to the principles of our faith. We are optimistic that our campaign will succeed, as did other campaigns and projects such as ARAMCO, KAUST and women in rural areas.

Our initiative comes as an inevitable result of the failure of ongoing initiatives that began more than thirty years and have included directly appealing to officials, writing in the media, and sending petitions and demands to the members of the Shura Council. These have all had no real results on the ground. Our hope is now hanging on the generosity of your response and support for this campaign. We hope that your majesty will instruct all those who have in their capacity to support us to do so, such as the regional princes, the police and the Commission for Prevention of Vice and Promotion of Virtue. We hope that you will command them to enable women who have valid licenses to drive their own cars when running their basic daily errands and thus lift the financial and social burden on some families that has lasted far too long.

We hope that your majesty would hasten the enactment of laws and regulations that criminalize and punish those that harm or harass women drivers. In this the government could gain from the experience of the other GCC countries. We also hope that your majesty will hasten the establishment of driving schools and the issuance of licenses for women. Until then, we raise to your royal court a number of urgent demands from those who have been gravely affected by the women-driving ban. These demands are that these families and women be compensated by waiving the Saudi entrance visa fee for migrant drivers and be granted by the government a monthly stipend equaling the amount it takes to employ, board and feed a driver. Another demand is that the salary transportation allowance be increased for women to three times what men are paid. The final demand is that government ministries and institutions and private employers be required to provide their female employees the option of safe institutional transportation.

We are still in great anticipation and hope that public transportation projects will see the light of day soon.

Your majesty is well aware that the simple yet essentially important request to allow women to drive is practiced easily by all women in the world. Hence lifting the driving ban should not be difficult here in the country of security and safety and under your wise leadership. With sincere efforts we are confident that our wise leadership will realize the ban lift in our compassionate and gracious nation for the benefit of our sons and daughters.

We pray that your majesty will remain our pride, strength, and empowerment and that God grant you and the nation perseverance and blessedness.

Date of petition 20 Rajab 1433, corresponding to June 10, 2012

22 Comments

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22 responses to “Translation of My Right to Dignity petition

  1. elaine

    It’s so sad to see women having to grovel to a dictator to get basic rights.

  2. Pingback: Saudiarabia: Translation of My Right to Dignity petition - Ikkevold | Ikkevold

  3. ummhussain

    Just think if SA was a democracy, women would not have to ask one person for permission or to advocate their permission to to drive. They would vote for the person who makes it a right for more than 53% of the population to live full complete lives. Just think how the government could generate an increase in funds and jobs they could create for women with minimal to advanced education, simply by granting women the right to drive. Female clerks, photographers for ID, computer technicians, auto driving teachers, etc. are some professions that could be created just to name a few. Families could ride share with one another and single women, divorced women, etc. could less dependent on the males in their family for the most mundane chores. Female drivers could provide services for women like myself who just don’t like to drive and thoser who do not want to be in the company of strange men.

    Muslims women throughout the world drive. Why does SA not provide the same right to their own. They never fail to claim how wonderful the life of a SA women is, but the women can’t even taken their ownselves to a doctor’s visit or to a pharmacy. They can’t claim it on moral grounds, unless the SA government wants to insult and/or slander all the Muslim women throughout the world, going to work, driving their children to school, family members to doctor’s appoiintments — and Saudi women lviing outside of Saudi and driving.

    The government of Saudi should enter the 21st century and realize that the entire world is still trying to figure out this arbitrary custom preventing women from driving that has absolutely nothing to do with Islamic law.

    Remember before any Saudi gets critical about my comments. There is absolutely no precendent for preventing women from driving. A 14 or 16 year old boy can drive a car, but his 40 year old mother can not?

  4. It feels really strange. Here in Bangladesh, which is the 4th most populous Muslim country, the Communications Ministry has been encouraging more women to drive because by nature men are aggressive and hence responsible for the many accidents that take lives regularly. And plus it saves the additional cost for a family of hiring a driver. So I can’t understand why KSA is hindering women from driving.

    • Maqsood Khan

      Is a poor country like Bangladesh the role model for Saudi Arabia? In one country you have flooding and famine, and in the other you hae one of the worlds highest standards of living and where crime rate is negligible. Needless to say Bangladeshis come to Saudi Arabia to work and not other way round, so there is no comparison
      Saudi Arabia is a unique country and probably the only country that follows Shariah. Please stop comparing every other country in Asia that does not know the ABCs of Islam with Saudi Arabia. May Allah protect the Kingdom from those who are intent on spoiling it

      • No one’s comparing between Saudi Arabia & Bangladesh. The two countries are poles apart in terms of natural wealth. I am not against the Shariah Law either. Each country has its own set of customs and codes and as foreigners we should all respect them. The Shariah Law has enabled Saudi Arabia to have one of the lowest crime rates in the world, like you already mentioned, but as for ‘one of the highest living standards in the world’ you are grossly blind or mistaken in your knowledge. The 3000 Saudi princes & their families do enjoy ‘one of the highest living standards’ but find out how many big businesses & corporations are owned by Saudi nationals not from the royal lineage.
        “Saudi Arabia is a unique country and probably the only country that follows Shariah.”—–wrong. Other countries also follow the Shariah Law (Iran,Sudan). Many other countries of the Islamic world also follow versions of the Shariah Law for Muslims in terms of wealth inheritance, and also in the various sectors of banking. No wonder countries with Islamic banking have more stable economies.
        “Please stop comparing every other country in Asia that does not know the ABCs of Islam with Saudi Arabia.”—–Just because Saudi Arabia has veiled women and a royal family ruling in accordance with the intolerant ulema interpretation of the Qur’an doesn’t mean other Asian countries don’t have Islam among its people. The Kingdom lags behind 15 countries in the list of countries with the highest Muslim populations. The first 4 are Asians, and not Middle-Easterners.
        “May Allah protect the Kingdom from those who are intent on spoiling it”—-the system that you are idolizing is spoiling the Kingdom itself. Go to Mecca and see the Holy Mosque. Overlooking the minarets, proudly rise the Binladen Group’s Royal Towers, the 2nd highest skyscraper in the world. The minarets of the Grand Mosque seem to be overwhelmed by the pride and wealth of the system that you claim to be the saviour of Islam.

  5. ahmad

    well if women driving is not forbidden by law,, i guess they can drive without fear. as we know the CPVPV cannot make any arrest now, so i believe they can claim their right openly! best wishes!

  6. I. Suspect Aristocracy and Elitism will always play some role in Bourgeois Capitalism. Even a Real Islamic Republic would be beset with the Contradictions of Democracy, and Philo-Semitic Globalizationist Gentrification. ( Obama/Clinton, Hollywood, the U.N. ) The recent Windfall of Socialism as result of failing Euro Economic Theorem, has punched a hole in the illusion of Capitalist Omnipotence. The Euro may not Crash Today. But a Hundred Years from now, will The People of the world look back at this point in history, much in the same way the Soviets did The October Revolution, or the Chinese the Guomindang ? Only Time will Tell.

  7. Reblogged this on Critical Thinking – A World View and commented:
    June 17th will mark the one year anniversary of the movement by Manal Al Sharif for women to drive. Let us hope the King of Saudi will one day honor is word to allow this to happen. Women deserve the right to determine their life choices and movement. So I ask my readers to support their efforts in obtaining the rights and privileges that almost all people on this planet take for granted.

  8. Pingback: Mich Café: Plea to Saudi King Abdullah: Let us drive

  9. Pingback: Sign the Petition to Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz requesting the right for #Women2Drive « Muslimah Voices

  10. mueen

    Saudi Arabia is an pure Islamic country it holds 2 Holy Grand Masjids by which it has got importance in Muslim World.Saudi Arabia is developed in all spheres as compared to other countries.Democracy has failed in all countries where ever it was/has been adopted because it is misused Whileas saudi government has adopted a system that has developed saudi Arabia from 0. Allowing or not allowing women to drive is a big question because it has advantages and disadvantages. Women is not made for subjecting to harsh conditions like changing puntured car wheels, driving oil tanker etc.If women starts driving ,there will be many backdraws which sweety Manal is not counting.

    • Juma

      “Saudi Arabia is an pure Islamic country ” – so no bad things happen in saudi? saudi men don’t drink, and hang out with women? they don’t lie, cheat and steal??? and the givt workd per pure islamic law for the welfare of ALL it’s citizens ????

      “Saudi Arabia is developed in all spheres as compared to other countries” — what spheres? ha ha ha

      “saudi government has adopted a system that has developed saudi Arabia from 0” — oh you mean dictatorship where the princes get the pil profits and the rest suffer🙂 ha ha ha .. great country if youa re a prince. else too bad .
      “Women is not made for subjecting to harsh conditions like changing puntured car wheels, driving oil tanker etc” — so men in saudi daily drive oil tankers and have punctured wheels? how many times will your wheel get punctured daily – 2,10,15???

      “there will be many backdraws which sweety Manal is not counting.” – i somehow doubt you will have the courage to call manal a sweety to her face, she doesn’t look like she’ll take kindly to a pious man calling her this :-0

      arghhhh…. apparently education does NOTHING ….

      • Alois Saint-Martin

        “Saudiwomen” come to well of Social Reform, like Conspicuous Consumers: When they can get a Ride, or when It please`s them @?..! If It were not such a Matter of Life and Death; I. would admire the Gentleman`s Cultured Arabian Chauvinism ~

    • Monica

      you wrote “Women is not made for subjecting to harsh conditions like changing puntured car wheels, driving oil tanker etc.”.. I said “men are nore made to manage and administrate world” (wars, world famine, ect.). So? How do we do?
      Insane argument, do you agree?

  11. BURHAN

    i think u should think of those thousand drivers who are going to loose there job . if womens of saudi arabia are given permission to drive. women who come in less income group can be given permission in a limited way too
    such that it cannot make a problem for any person

    • juma

      Then men need to qualify themselves to get a job in someother field.. just because men want to be drivers is no reason to stop women from driving..
      It’s ok for women who wants to drive to not have permission but oh we’ can’t inconvienience men you see!!!! what a bunch of bull shit.

  12. You advocate the opening of women driving schools and the issuance of driving licenses to women who qualify.

  13. Pingback: tabsir.net » What (who) drives Muslim women

  14. There are more and more people I see around, here in Turkey, who ideolize Saudi Arabia as a perfect example of Sharia. Funny thing, they used to ideolize Iran in the past and I guess they finally figured that Iran is from another sect. And when I see that people in Saudi Arabia have to fight even for the most basic human rights such as driving, i realize that i have to embrace the secular regime in Turkey, or what’s left from it despite of the so called Islamic AKP government, and try to improve it even more.

  15. Pingback: Pedro Pizano | Women Will Drive Today; Drops of Freedom in Saudi Arabia

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