Saudi Arabian King Salman Lifts Ban on Women Driving

Saudi Arabia, driving Getty

Saudi drivers stop their cars on a Riyadh highway to make way for a caravan of camels, 11 March 2007.

Saudi Arabian state television in conjunction with the Saudi embassy in Washington D.C. announced today that King Salman has ordered by royal decree that Saudi Arabian women be permitted to drive.

The decree will take effect in June 2018.

Saudi Arabia was the only country in the world where women were not permitted to drive.

Human rights organizations both within and outside Saudi Arabia have campaigned for years to lift the ban. Muslim clerics have provided a multitude of reasons for the ban over the years, most recently a “lack of intellect” in women, according to Sheikh Saad al-Hajari, a regional head of religious edicts in the country.

Many have pointed to the growing prominence of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman as a driving factor in the decision.

Earlier this year King Salman announced Mohammed as his successor in a not-so-surprising royal shake-up.

GettyU.S. President Donald Trump (R) meets with Mohammed bin Salman, Deputy Crown Prince and Minister of Defense of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, in the Oval Office at the White House, March 14, 2017 in Washington, DC.

The crown prince has expressed more liberal views than his predecessor, and has spoken in interviews about hoping that his country would return to the times before it enacted such strict religious laws.

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