This is in connection with a campaign challenging the ban on women drivers in Saudi Arabia:
Saudi traffic police have fined several car owners after six women were found defying the kingdom's male-only driving rules, a Saudi daily reported on Wednesday.
The fines in Eastern Province coincide with a campaign called by women's rights activists to challenge the ban on women driving in the conservative Islamic kingdom late next month.
Traffic police issued fines totalling 5,400 riyals ($1,400) for allowing "an unqualified person to drive", al-Sharq newspaper reported, quoting an acting police spokesman.
"The cases were stopped near the beach and in uninhabited areas that are still being developed," Major Mansour al-Shakra said. "They were driving for fun and not to learn how to drive."
Women are told to put reason ahead their hearts and passions by a Saudi cleric who tells us this:
"If a woman drives a car, not out of pure necessity, that could have negative physiological impacts as functional and physiological medical studies show that it automatically affects the ovaries and pushes the pelvis upwards," he told Sabq.
"That is why we find those who regularly drive have children with clinical problems of varying degrees," he said.
Let's use that reason, then. If driving is bad because it tilts the pelvis upwards, so is all sitting. And if driving is bad because of some movement related aspects, well, then sitting in the car as a passenger is equally bad, right? Finally, there are no studies showing that driving causes the kinds of problems this cleric makes up.
All this reminds me of the Victorians' arguments against higher education for women in Europe and the US. Your uterus will leak out of your head if you cram your brain with facts! It will start roaming about and you end up hysterical! And the puny energies of women are not sufficient for both studying and birth-giving.
That's because the two are motivated by the same imperative urges, of course: to keep women out of some activity.
In somewhat related news:
Two prominent female rights activists who went to the aid of a woman they believed to be in distress are expected to go to jail in Saudi Arabia on Sunday after the failure of their appeal against a 10-month prison sentence and a two-year travel ban.
Wajeha al-Huwaider, a writer who has repeatedly defied Saudi laws by driving a car, and Fawzia al-Oyouni were arrested for taking a food parcel to the house of someone they thought was in an abusive relationship. In June they were found guilty on a sharia law charge of takhbib – incitement of a wife to defy the authority of her husband, thus undermining the marriage.
Campaigners say they are "heroes" who have been given heavy sentences to punish them for speaking out against Saudi restrictions on women's rights, which include limited access to education and child marriage as well as not being able to drive or even travel in a car without a male relative being present.