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Meanwhile, in Saudi Arabia...

A woman was sentenced by a court in Saudi Arabia to receive ten lashes for driving a car.

That fact alone demonstrates Saudi barbarism. But what's extra fascinating to me is that "driving while female" isn't against the law in Saudi Arabia. That's right. There is no law against it.

Which raises the question: How do judges view their role? Usually, a judge's role is related in some way to laws.

In Saudi Arabia, however, you can be accused of something that isn't a crime, isn't against the law, and the judge can simply say: "Yeah, I don't really like the sound of that. Therefore, somebody is going to whip you."
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that would be in case you are a woman.. i think men can defend for a judge bad call...
Unfortunately, in Saudi Arabia, as in a number of other countries, Sharīʿah Law trumps Civil Law.
+Mike Elgan Good post. I think its good to see people with a lot of followers like you posting about social subjects like this as well - can really build awareness of important issues.
I think the law is that women are not allowed to drive unless accompanied by a man who is either a husband , brother or father. Also in the court of law I believe a woman's testimony is considered half as worthwhile as a man's.
Pretty disgraceful in this day and age.
God said women cannot drive, because if she did she and all her female friends would leave the country (and its laws) that torment them. Imagine...a country with only men and no women to torment. What would those boys do then?
Meanwhile in Iran 4.000 people were killed (hanged, etc.) just because their sexual nature... ignorance?, brutality?, prejudices?, religion? No thanks :(
Horrible, I know it's tradition and religion over there for things like this, but in this modern world you would think they would have evolved a bit. Horrible, I feel bad for their situation.
+Gabriel Bousquet Thanks for the clarification. I wonder why there hasn't been more of an uprising in Saudi - seems absolutely ripe for change with half the population repressed by archaic laws.
+Steven Clark That's the thing. There's nothing in the Koran about driving cars (or wearing veils, for that matter). They're just making this shit up!
'Law' in Saudi is Sharia law, and then further explanations of it. So I can't imagine that 'driving' was mentioned in the Koran. So it's not against the law. How could it be.

The anti-driving rules are really about keeping the sexes apart and under control. Restricting movement and therefore opportunity. It's holding the whole country back, but the clerics that are the power behind the throne hold on to their ancient beliefs about how to organize society.
+Giselle Minoli I think they're afraid driving is a "gateway drug." Next thing you know, women will be making meaningful contributions to Saudi society and the economy, benefitting everyone. Nobody wants that.
+Aaron Howell lol thinking the same thing
I don't think it was in Saudi, however there was a report earlier this year of a women being punished for being raped. It's just horrible.
When we smashed Iraq's army, just exactly where do you all think the airfields were that allowed us to fill the sky with B-52's, F15's, etc? They were in Saudi!
If it is not permitted in Koran, then it must be against to Koran. Unless, of course, it happens to benefit the clergy.
Crazy how people are suppressed in the world by others. So sad.
let it be a lesson
This is probably a weird and sort of twisted question, but who administers the lashes? If they are given through the clothes, they won't be very effective. If they are given on naked skin, then the person administering them will have a clear view of the woman's body.

I could imagine a situation where an unrelated male was able to see the body of the woman he was punishing, which I'm sure the justice system would somehow twist around and make her fault. The ultimate irony would be if the punishment for that was more lashings.
+Mike Elgan My In-Laws lived in Saudi Arabia for 10 years - returned a couple of years ago. While it's probably true there is no civil law preventing women from driving, there is most definitely a religious law against it. They have 2 sets of laws and, interestingly enough, 2 sets of law enforcement "officers"
+Jeff Wolfers it's all about interpretation. Every religion has some stupid stuff in it that has been seen as what this means to us in modern life that's followed by the mass majority of people. Really makes you think about things.
In a society so repressive that even innocent drivers are punished, the government has a bigger challenge: dealing with the normal, healthy rebelliousness of teenagers and young adults. How do they channel this normal desire to question authority and their rule? By getting people all stirred-up against outsiders, such as the West. This may be one reason 15 of the 19 hijackers came from there. 
Welcome to the world of fundamentalist Islam. The original source of this stuff comes from pronouncements made by Mohammed and recorded in the Hadith. The Hadith consists of things Mohammed is reported to have said as reported by his close associates. It is second only to the Koran as the source of Sharia law.

There's an interesting effort going on in Turkey where Islamic scholars are examining the Hadith, under the assumption that many of Mohammed's statements were intended to address particular issues at the time, and not meant to be eternally binding. This issue is a subset of the proscription against a woman traveling alone. When it was made, there's a good bet it was intended to protect women, as it simply wasn't safe for a woman to travel alone. The Turk group is examining whether this still makes sense and whyether Mohammed really meant it to be permanent.

No surprise Saudi Arabia should be conservative about this. The house of Saud came to power in what was in many ways a fundamentalist uprising against the previous rulers, and the Wahabi strain of Islam they practiced was a fundamentalist one. The current Saudi rulers remember how they came to power, and are treading carefully, lest someone else do it to them. Saudi Arabia is still largely fundamentalist society, and it's a good bet most living there will approve this action.
+Gabriel Bousquet Yes I have read about a few "honour" killings in the UK as well. Saudi truly is a country in need of a revolution and some democratic change. Then again they are such stauch allies and so important to "energy security" that this would never be allowed to happen. Anyway I digress.
There's just as much injustice going on right here in the United States every day.
It's a fascinating place.... I lived there for a few years and am just back in the west now. Politics is never spoken about in polite company, and there is no 'stirring up'. Unemployment, education, and corruption are the big issues spoken about. The justice system is incredibly corrupt.

And of course there are significant injustices in every country, but in Saudi it's all quite amazing.
guys Im from saudi arabia and this is how we live , this is what we grew up with (women must live in service of his house , nothing more) and 99.9% of ppl here want it to just stay like that , and Im one of them.

+Dennis McCunney that is the best description of why it happens and a bit of incite that I've seen in a long while. Thanks for the reasoning.
+Jeff Wolfers the justice system in ksa is derived from Kuran (god's orders); so i think you're the currupted one.
This morning on CBC Radio, the "Voice" satirically commented that women will be allowed to vote in Saudi Arabia, but only if they can provide a valid driver's license.
+'Uday Al-Jibouri - Fair enough, but those "traditions" are enforced as if they were law.
+Alarashi Awaji Well, what you grow up in is what you see as right and proper. But the world has a nasty habit of changing around you, and "what you grew up with" may no longer work. Fundamental changes are going on in Muslim countries around you. Don't assume you will be immune. Changes will occur in your society, too, whether you like it or not, and you're simply going to have to deal with them.
+Alarashi Awaji Thanks for the input .... when I lived there I had several employees who got in trouble. It was easy to find the right official to bribe to get my employee out of jail. I was using the system to help an employee, but that my friend is a corrupt system.
This woman is Muslim and living in Saudi Arabia. You're telling me she didn't know that her government doesn't allow women to drive?!
+Imaad Mohammad Back up your statements with some "scholarly resources" as you put it. Until then I will stand by my statement which I will happily revise if you prove otherwise with some proper proof. Anyway not sure how you explain the article in the washington post - are they making this stuff up?
+Alarashi Awaji Are you sure 99.9% of the people in Saudi Arabia 'want it that way"? Sure must have changed a lot in the past 4 years.

2007 Gallup poll in Saudi Arabia:

66% of Saudi women and 55% of Saudi men agree that women should be allowed to drive a car by themselves.

More than 8 in 10 Saudi women (82%) and three-quarters of Saudi men (75%) agree that women should be allowed to hold any job for which they are qualified outside the home.

Women and men should have equal legal rights: 79% of women, 67% of men.

Women should be able to hold leadership positions in the cabinet and national council: 66% of women, 52% of men.

+Alarashi Awaji "the justice system in ksa is derived from Kuran (god's orders); so i think you're the currupted one."
Nonsense. The Saudi justice system derives on part ftom the Koran, in part from the Hadith, and in large part from existing customs and practice that were in place before the Prophet was even born. Mohammed incorporated existing practice into Islam.

Your ignorance of your own society is truly profound.
+Dennis McCunney i admit it.. i agree with you but the change u're talking about is pretty wrong step to go through
and mark my words: once these changes take place; the whole world will be at very big trouble! >>something like world war maybe<<
+Mike Elgan. The hatred and abuse of women in some countries is so extreme that it is hard for any free woman to believe our sisters are treated this way. As for the sexual and economic control of women, I'm sorry to report that years ago when I was a (very) young executive at CBS Records I replaced a man who was a company where there were few women at the top. I was accused of having taken a man's job and when I found out that the fired man made 3 times as much as I did for the same job, I was told that I didn't "need" the money because I wasn't married, didn't have children, didn't have a mortgage and...this part I particularly loved: my boyfriend could take me to dinner and buy my lingerie and perfume. It was an extremely sexist company.

Still, in this country, a woman can make more money spending one night with Tiger Woods than she can in a month as an executive secretary to a Fortune 500 company CEO. But we are seen as progressive and free compared to the Saudis.

This stuff runs very deep culturally and takes a long, long time to rinse out of the system. And yes, from country to country it is very different.
+Joel Krugler dont ever believe what media says it is all have a politic background
for example: the last announcement by king abdullah about the "vote right" is all to calm down the ppl around us (like u)
in the meantime king abdullah knows that peaple of ksa wont let that happen wont be satisfied wont agree with that call.
that's the story..
+Imaad Mohammad Of course it dosent say anything about women being allowed to drive or not in the Koran. I think the issue being discussed was more with regards to women being not allowed to go out in public unchaperoned. From what I understand this is punishable by lashes in Saudi Arabia. Clearly Saudi being a very strict country that imposes a Wahabi interpretation of Islam and is quite different to many other Islamic nations that do not impose such harsh rules.

Are you from Saudi and why do you not want to believe what is being reported by a reputable newspaper?
+Luke Lewis and all of yall this is something concerning just us (saudian people) no1 else can understand
try to leave us alone and concern ur own problems wich is so much more and abusive and funny than ours.
+Alarashi Awaji attacking me for no reason, or without understand what I'm even talking about, or believe. Yeah, hope you're a golfer. Par for the course.
Meanwhile, back in America...our government continues to spend money we do not have and passing the responsibility on to future generations. Where are there lashings?
"Im from saudi arabia and this is how we live, this is what we grew up with (women must live in service of his house, nothing more) and 99.9% of ppl here want it to just stay like that, and Im one of them."

I grew up in India, a country that treated people differently based on caste. Just because that's the way we lived doesn't mean that's the way we have to live. When you realize that there are flaws in the culture/system, you make the changes. Either that or the system/people figures out a way...
+Roxroy Bollers im talking about different rights and duties that is stated by GOD; while u're complaining about something stated by humans.!
+Daniel Voyles Excellent point, but who should be the one(s) getting the lashings, and who should be the one(s) administering them?
+Alarashi Awaji There is absolutely no defense of mistreating or abusing your country, our country, or any other country. Fortunately for Saudi women, social media is bringing attention to issues like these and it will change. It will most certainly and most definitely change.
+Imaad Mohammad I am going to end this to and fro with you now as it seems rather pointless and you are not really answering the simple question of why you dont believe whats in black and white in font of you. I am sorry to say that you are just being an apologist for the mistreatment of women and the barbarous practices in KSA. Anyway lets just agree to disagree and move on as we will not reach any common ground.
+Ramesh Prabhu I guess it is the whole "... those without sin cast the first stone" kinda situation. We are all guilty in some way, either by contributing or by doing nothing.
+Gordon Shumway i understand what tryna tell me
but you really wont understand espacially when u r not muslim.
and i will agree with all of you people* only if Iam not saudian , not muslim, depends on media to judge people*. unfortunately Im not
Im done with this
I have pretty long difficult exam tomorrow
I just couldnt resist to see you ppl talking about things that u dont actually have the enough info about it, just based on what awfull media tells.
sorry about any bad thing i said
+Dustin Bursley - This is awesome I can directly talk, pretty intelligently, to people from outside my country... Africa, China, and Saudis all brought together for 10 minutes in this 'chat room' :) Google+ is awesome

the best comment so far
I couldn't imagine living there, nor visiting.
Saudi and most other Middle East and North African countries have a high reliance on the sale of oil. If you want to do something that changes their world then buy a car that runs on biofuel.
+Imaad Mohammad What you are essentially saying (I think) is that there are conscious and unconscious people in every country and every religion and culture. There are those who interpret their religions, laws and cultures in a positive and constructive and forward thinking way, and those who interpret them in a negative, destructive and regressive way. I hope that Google+ is a place where those of us from all over the world who wish to see our countries collectively obliterate oppression and destructive, regressive and profoundly negative practices, whether they are religious, economic or cultural, can come together and help one another accomplish that. That would be quite something.
+Dustin Bursley Can't speak first hand to the statistics of this particular suvery, but my inclination is to view the results as pretty reliable. Properly designed, a survey with 1000 ppl may have significant error bars (may +/- 5% or even 10% - wild guess) - but certainly can be reasonbly representative of the population as a whole. And Gallup is pretty professional: I have no a priori reason to doubt their skills or integrity. (Not impossible, but I'd be very surprised if the sponsorship biased Gallup - to the point of completely reversing reality. Possible, but low cred, with me.)

Still, as you suggest, the survey certainly isn't infallible by a long shot. But do you REALLY think results in the 60%-80% positive range - even with this 'small' sample - are consistent with 99.9% negative?
+Gordon Shumway thanx for the advice
and to be honest "allowing gurlz to drive or not" is not what my country needs to improve.
and just if u havent noticed Im tryna tell what most of citizen believe here
all mens disagree with this issue
maybe 60% of women disagree too
and ofcourse this disagreement is for a very strong reason, witch is our relegious believes that can't be a subject for discussion or change
I don't know that much about islam, but only the fact, that someone's right as a human being, is being denied, tells me that this is wrong- muslim or not.
The only way I can agree that this is "just their culture", is if the women in Saudi don't want this right. But even if only one female wants to drive, then she should be able to!
The psychology of change is being left out of this conversation. While it may be true that a significant percentage of Saudis do not want this, that may well be because of cultural and religious conditioning, just like in China they used to bind women's feet and in the US women weren't allowed to vote. Fundamentally people resist change. But, if economically all of our countries are exchanging currencies and goods and we are all indeed wrapped up in a global exchange, there has to be some universal agreement about basic rights and freedoms. It is no longer "good enough" to say that a particular behavior, habit, or custom is traditional, or religious based or locally accepted. It no longer works in a global economy.
i guess this is the top commented post so far
+Imaad Mohammad Thank you for your thoughtful reply and for yours +Gordon Shumway...there are so many others as well, I do not mean to exclude anyone. And this distinguishes Google+ once again...the conscious decision to participate in a discussion. To those Muslims among you, although my city has a large community it is rare to have opportunities for this in real life, in I thank you.
What else can there be but arbitrary rules and fascism when a society is entrenched and sometimes founded on ignorance and superstition? Also just because Middle Eastern countries are in the spotlight don't think we here in western world (especially America) don't fall prey to fuzzy thinking either. Just look at the Republican debates.
But...but...Islam is a religion of peace and love...I thought....And there is this wonderful bridge in Brooklyn for sale....$100!
+john willis Have ever heard of Dominique Strauss-Kahn case? .. and how did it end?? ... He had been in headlines for weeks and turned out that he didn't do anything, or may be he did but the accuser couldn't provide an evidence to convict him?? .. do we need to judge french people based on what he did? no we shouldn't do that .. These countries consider sex outside of marriage illegal and impose penalties on it, so it is not their problem if you didn't give them the evidence to support your accusation and they found you guilty... this may be injustice, yes it is.. What I want to say here is that you can't make your judgement on cultures based on what you have heard, not experienced...
A mere 20 yrs ago, women in Spain weren't allowed to drive while pregnant, or serve behind a bar, even if they owned it. I know because I owned one, and even being western, the rules applied, though a tad more flexible in my case. While 10 lashes wasn't the punishment, I can go on and on about the horrors inflicted upon women under fascist regime. And against men, just as much. My knowledge of these from personal experience as translator to Sp.Dept. of Tourism and American Consulate. My point: if there's anything good to come of e-media, its the potential held for uniting the world voice and causing political change within regimes who disregard civil liberty. That is, of course, as long as our social networks don't cower to political agenda.
There was no fascit regime in Spain 20 years ago, it disapeared in 1975! Now Spain is one of the most progressive countries in the world, fortunately.
Apparently women in Saudi Arabia can vote now - but of course they'll have to catch a lift to the polling booths.
+Eve Appleton - I think the real magic is that all countries have the opportunity to see the valuable or desirable practices put in place in other countries, so it's easier to fight for it because it's a little more tangible and acknowledgeable. Even strictly amongst 1st world democratic nations, not just in regards to regimes who disregard civil liberty. E-media is like a Michael Moore documentary on steroids. The awareness brought about by the internet makes it easier to say "hey, this is working in France/Denmark/Spain/etc, we want that here!!".
+Philip Alexandre Bolay Looks like you let all your emotions out with that comment haha. But keeping in line with the generalizations, and looking at their point of view... these "insensitive" Saudis you have encountered may not have been taught the basic "Westerner" quality of public decency, and you might have indeed taught those people a lesson. Their behavior may be labelled as ignorance, but perception gives it ten other meanings... There is no assumption of rationality when it comes to encountering strangers who have led lives which are extremely different from the one you have led. Plus, their sex lives aren't that great either, as you surely know.... By the way, I have many Saudi friends (I live in Dubai, UAE) and they are educated enough to know not to provoke someone as you have been provoked. What can I say... staring at nice looking women is in human nature! Even "civilized countries" have uncivilized civilians, if you know what I mean....
will come changes on there....
. The term also finds mention in the Greek civilization, meaning "anyone who is not Greek".
+john willis lol. i could say the same thing, ya! science has caught up to the signs of science in the Quran which was indicated more than 1400 years ago. Here are your list of acedemic intelectuals, who appreciate the intellect.

1)Professor Keith Moore (USA)
2)Professor Van Bersoud (canada)
3)Professor Joe Leigh Simpson (USA)
4)Professor Marshal Jhonson
5)Professor Gérald C (USA)
6)Professor Youchedi Kuzane (Japan)
7)Professor Tejatat Tejasen (Thailand)
He embraced islam after reading the Quran
8)Professor William W. Hay (USA)
9)Professor Alfred Kroner (Germany)

you can youtube or google them :).

* [Holy] Quran : Top Scientists Comments on Scientific Miracles in the Quran * # Faith and Science #. A Scientist from Tchechoslovakia reverts to Islam.

I appreciate the struggle of already given knowledge.

update on women lashes
Saudi woman driver's lashing 'overturned by king
28 September 2011

Also Read:

*The Princess says the region is making progress, denies that Middle Eastern women are second-class citizens and argues that Saudi women must be granted the right to drive to join the rest of the world. * +Kartik Natarajan

The greatest enemy of
knowledge is not
...It is the illusion
of knowledge.
I don't mean to be derogatory in any way. I just fight for truth and innocence when i see it. just like i would for +Kartik Natarajan if anyone imposes something on him and blames something on him that's not true.. I would tell individual to stop.

Lets use Google+ as tool to share knowledge, and continue to express ideas and share things with each other. putting people down because they are not cognizant of certain things is unmotivational, misleading to others, adds confusion and can lead to discrimination and unessesary division among many people. This will result in not sharing knowledge, because of the discomfort level produced among each other. rather we should develope and invitational way of communication. so people can speak their mind out, and with collaboration of many people, understand things.
i wonder why usa is never accuse ksa for such rules and do nothing. what a shame!
about the law..prince Ahmed bin Abuldaziz the Deputy Interior Minister said that Saudi government put the law of Preventing women driving in 1991
and also in Saudi Arabia men can not do somethings without women
calm and peace of soul???? beat your women, treat them as your property,then you can have peace of about them?
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