In Saudi Arabia, the right to drive has become an emblematic quest for women in the country, who have long struggled for rights and protections in the conservative Muslim culture. But now, the Saudi Royal family may be preparing to grant that right and others to women in the country, according to a report in Bloomberg. A former senior U.S. military officer told the news organization that crown prince Mohammed bin Salman, son of the Saudi king Salman, is ready to grant women the right to drive, and said he heard the prince saying, “If women were allowed to ride camels [in the time of the Prophet Muhammad], perhaps we should let them drive cars, the modern-day camels.”
The prince has told Bloomberg separately that he recognized that half of the country is made up of women and wants that half to be productive members of society. He also criticized those who “distort the facts of the religious establishment so that women don’t get their complete rights granted them by Islam.”
“We believe women have rights in Islam that they’ve yet to obtain,” he said.