Don’t allow women to drive: Saudi parliament told

Saudi Arabia’s appointed parliament has received more than 1,000 letters asking it to maintain a long-standing ban on driving cars by women despite mounting pressure on the government to let them drive. Although Shura council has not yet discussed the issue, it believes there are no barriers for such a debate, newspapers reported on Sunday.

“We have received at least 1,000 letters from the public urging the council not to discuss the issue of driving cars by women,” said Mashaal Al Ali, head of the human rights committee in Shura.

“Not a single letter supported the idea of driving cars by women….but as far as we are concerned, there are no red lines for us to debate this issue.”

Several defiant Saudi women were reported to have been arrested over the past two weeks after they caught driving. The move was part of a campaign launched by thousands of women on Facebook on June 17 to press for an end to the unofficial ban on female driving in the conservative Gulf kingdom, which controls over a fifth of the world’s proven oil wealth.

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