Saudi Arabia is lifting its ban on women driving [“In a sharp turn, Saudi Arabia to let women drive,” front page, Sept. 27]. Many liberal Saudis celebrated the news, hailing it as a profound and promising step toward women’s rights in Saudi Arabia. I think it is, particularly in regard to men and women’s equality in Saudi Arabia.
The announcement came as Human Rights Watch raised serious concerns over religious minority rights in Saudi Arabia, accusing the Saudi government of allowing hate speech against Shiite and Sufi minorities.
Driving a car is not a human right, but equality and freedom of movement are, and so are freedom of speech and freedom of beliefs. Human rights should be allowed and protected in Saudi Arabia by allowing people of different color, race, gender, sexual orientation and beliefs to live freely — and by granting them equal responsibilities and obligations as citizens. No one in Saudi Arabia should be persecuted because of their political beliefs.
Freedom of expression and freedom of assembly also should be allowed and protected. Soon, both sexes in Saudi Arabia will be free to drive, but is everyone going to be free to express their own opinion without fear of persecution? Which freedom matters to you the most: the freedom to drive or the freedom of expression and choice?
Tareq Alabdi, Sydney