Friday, June 17, 2005

Saudi Women and Driving: Corruption is in the Eye of the Oppressor

Saudi Scholar Discusses Women's Right To Drive

[Report By Wahib al-Wahaybi: "Urging the Need To Avoid Anything That Leads to Corruption, Shaykh Al-Burayk Says: Religious Ruling on Women Driving Depends on Whether Their Driving Will Be a Cause for Righteousness or Corruption, Rather Than the Driving Itself.]

Riyadh -- His Eminence Shaykh Dr Sa'd Bin-Abdallah al-Burayk, the prominent Islamic preacher, has said that the shari'ah ruling on women driving depends on whether such a deed will be a cause of righteousness or corruption, rather than women driving per se.

Speaking to Al-Jazirah, his eminence said this polemical topic is in essence something to do with righteousness and corruption.

If it is thought, he explained, that it is likely that women driving leads to corruption, then they should not be allowed to drive. The ban would thus be to prevent corruption rather then to ban the driving itself. But if it is thought that their driving is in our interest and that it is not a cause for corruption, then one should say there is nothing to bar women from driving, he justified.

"I would like to point out here the fact that as far as I am concerned, I can see conspicuous corruption if women were allowed to drive. However, if one can establish that in the era in which we live today it is only a good thing that women should drive, then there is no harm in allowing them to do so. For example, women in rural areas are allowed to drive because it has been established that it is better for them to drive than walk in the open space as they might be attacked, and therefore it is in everyone's interest that they should be allowed to drive," he added.

"If the time and the place are right and no corruption will be ensuing thereof, then we should act accordingly because there is nothing in our religion that prevents us from doing what is in our interest. However, anything else that might only lead to corruption must be avoided. We must make sure that nothing that will only cause corruption is enacted. We must not feel inferior because others have allowed women to drive, and that we should follow suit," Dr Al-Burayk reiterated.

Reacting to the fatwas of senior scholars that banned women from driving, his eminence said such fatwas had taken into account the good and the bad.

"What I am saying here is in essence nothing but what senior scholars have been saying," he insisted.

"Had we been talking here about a total driving ban for women, rural women would have never been allowed to drive cars in their rural environment," he concluded.
(Emphasis mine)

I will leave it to the reader's imagination what horrible "corruption" will ensue if women are allowed to drive in the Magic Kingdom. (As Han Solo once said, "I don't know. I can imagine quite a bit.) The reader might also consider that these are the kind of thoughts probably pass routinely through the "pure" and frightened mind of Shaykh Dr Sa'd Bin-Abdallah al-Burayk, the prominent Islamic preacher, and potential corruptor.

The psychological process involved in the Shaykh's obsession with "corruption" is commonly referred to as "Projection".

UPDATE: Meanwhile, American women continue to soar (who need a car?). Although you wouldn't know it from the bleatings of our feminist intellectuals on campus.

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