Saudi Arabian activist Manal al-Sherif tells women to demand the right to drive

A female Saudi Arabian activist has stepped up pressure on the country’s religious authorities to overturn the ban on women driving.

Manal al-Sherif has appeared on national television urging women to follow her example and take legal action demanding the right to drive, AP reports.

Sherif was detained for nine days last year after posting a video of herself driving on the internet. The move inspired the "Women2Drive" campaign, demanding the right for Saudi Arabia’s women to drive and travel freely.

As part of her new campaign, Sherif argues that there is no law prohibiting women from driving. Officials, she says, are merely complying with conservative religious edicts.

“The theme is drive your own life,” the ABC quotes Sherif as saying.

"We're trying to push women, encourage them to go and apply for their driver's licence, because it's not illegal and there is no law banning them or forbidding them from driving . . . We will ask them to object and this will prepare them to file lawsuits against the traffic police,” she reportedly said.

CNN says
that Sharif filed a lawsuit against the General Directorate of Traffic in the Saudi Arabian capital Riyadh last year, after her application for a driving license was rejected. CNN says the case has been transferred to the country’s Interior Ministry, who were not available for comment.

"It's just creating positive pressure on the officials to get back to us — and it will encourage more women to apply for licenses and file lawsuits," Sharif said.

Other religious edicts in Saudi Arabia prevent women from opening bank accounts, obtaining passports and going to school without the presence of a male guardian, CNN adds.

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