A rights activist has said that a new report emanating out of Saudi Arabia suggests that allowing women to drive could encourage premarital sex.
The report which was written by well-known academic Kamal Subhi and religious scholars from Majlis al-Lfta’ al-A’ala says that allowing women to drive would encourage socializing amongst genders, which could challenge Saudi Arabian traditions and lead to an increase in premarital sex.
The report investigates what the outcome of lifting the Saudi Arabian driving ban would be to the all male Saudi Arabian legislative assembly, the Shura Council.
The report holds that relaxing the laws regarding women and driving rights could mark the end of chastity and also cause a surge in prostitution, divorce, pornography and homosexuality.
Women currently face punishment if caught driving, although Saudi Arabian King Abduallah promised reforms earlier this year when women staged protests over the driving ban.
Abduallah has promised that by 2015 women in Saudi Arabia will be able to vote and will have the right to run for public office.
Abduallah announced in late September that he would “open all doors for Saudi women to enable them to make their full contributions to the nation…which is in great need of them.”
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Nevertheless, the promises for future freedoms for women in the country does not necessarily mean that reforms will really emerge.
For example, Shima Jastaniah, the Saudi Arabian woman condemned to 10 lashings this past September for driving in the coastal city of Jeddah, could still face the lashings even though she was personally pardoned by the 87-year-old king.
Although pardoned by the king following intense international backlash over the sentencing, Jastaniah still needs to win a legal appeal by mid-December in order to prevent her from being lashed.
Saudi Arabia follows the strict school of Islam known as Wahhabism and Saudi Arabian women have staged several protests in recent months defying the driving bans and calling for further freedoms in their country.