Senior Saudi clerics appeared to be onside, responding with an apparently coordinated series of public statements, aimed at shifting a widely expected conservative pushback.
The commission of top Islamic clerics tweeted: “May God bless the king who looks out for the interest of his people and his country in accordance with sharia law.”
Dr Abdel-Latif al Sheikh, the former head of the religious police, tweeted: “Women driving is not against sharia and women will choose what best suits them.”
…Amal al Dayyem, 23, another university student in Riyadh, described the announcement as “real beginning”. “Most families will be on board with this simply because people no longer want to spend a huge chunk of their salaries on drivers and transportation. We can do this on our own,” she said.
…Maysoon Sleiman, 55, a doctor from Riyadh, said: “The thing is, a house cannot function properly without a driver and a lot of families cannot afford to hire one.
“This has nothing to do with religion, it’s our customs. Which is why I expect backlash and disapproval from a lot of women not just men. A long time ago, they used to shoot at satellite dishes because they were dubbed haram [forbidden], now they sell them. It’s going to be the same in this I believe. At least mothers can now safely drop their kids to school.”
What a wonderful turn of events!