Bravo to the courageous Saudi women who are defying a government ban on driving. This oppressive ban is so unjust; it relegates Saudi women to a suffocating role as subservient members of their own society unable to venture outdoors independently. Predictably, Saudi clerics heaped scorn and called women drivers ‘prostitutes’. Only male drivers are issued driving licenses.
Sadly, Islam does denigrate women to a lesser role than their male counterparts allowing men to continue to exert their dominant roles. CNN broadcaster, Fareed Zakaria, described Saudi Arabia “as the country with the most irresponsible foreign policy” – the epicenter of state sponsored terrorism spouting the Wahhabi message of “intolerance and hate.” Hillary Clinton described Saudi Arabia as a “critical financial base of terrorism.” Rivers of money continue to flow to Wahhabi clerics, madrasahs (religious schools) and Sunni mosques in many parts of the world. Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have documented extensive human rights abuses in Saudi Arabia systematically targeting the minority Shi’ite population, political dissidents and Saudi women. It is therefore baffling to understand why we consider Saudi Arabia as a key ally and strategic partner rewarding the monarchy with billions of dollars of military hardware which could easily be funneled to terrorist groups. It is also baffling to understand why the Obama administration remained silent when Saudi forces crushed pro-democracy demonstrators in neighboring Bahrain. By propping up the Saudi monarchy we are complicit in their acts of violence.