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Apr 29, 2004
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Saudi Journalist Suheila Hammad Demands Rights for Saudi Women

#49 | 02:15
Source: Iqra TV (Saudi Arabia)

The Saudi-based Iqraa TV broadcast an interview with the Saudi journalist, Suheila Zein Al-'Abideen Hammad, who demanded that women be allowed to drive and be given other rights. Following are excerpts from the interview:

Hammad: If we examine the issue of women driving from the Islamic law's perspective… The car is a contemporary transportation vehicle...

Moderator: It is the camel of our time.

Hammad: Or the horse...

Moderator: Or mule or donkey...

Hammad: If we read the story of Khawla bint Al-Azwar, we can see that when she set out for one of the battles between the Arabs and the Byzantines, she was fighting on horseback to the point that some people thought she was Khaled ibn Al-Walid because she wore a veil. This means that all women among the Prophet's companions rode horses. Today's transportation vehicle is what it is. So what prevents a woman from driving a car herself…? I demand that this issue be discussed by the Shura council, but that we, women, will participate in the debate. This issue should not be discussed by one side only. A man views things from his own perspective. We women must also discuss this subject from our own perspective, so the picture will be complete.

Moderator:True.

Hammad:The picture will not be complete without our participation. We must open up the driving issue and examine what damage is caused to society by the existence of foreign drivers in comparison with the damage caused as a result of women driving. If one of them is greater than the other, we will choose the less harmful. Islam does not forbid women from participating in sporting activities, because these benefit them. I also demand that women learn self-defense sports like judo and tango...

Moderator: And wrestling.

Hammad:So if a woman should be attacked she will be able to defend herself. I also demand that women be trained in methods of popular resistance, as we are in a state of war with the enemy. We are under threat, any minute American planes can attack us, and what can a woman do then? Is she supposed to just stand there? She cannot defend herself, her town, her home, her children. Saudi women and Muslim women must be trained for this.

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