Time: April 12, 2018
On Thursday, 47 women participated in Saudi Arabia’s first ever women-only cycle race. As the BBC reports, the event was held in Jeddah, which will also host a series of landmark cultural sites being built by the Saudi government.
But while only some of those women who requested to join the race were able to do so, this is another important moment in Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s effort to move Saudi society towards modernity.
These plans include art exhibits, opera houses, museums, establishing a major film industry, and even building a super modern city called Neom.
And while it’s true that bin Salman has little time for his political opponents, the crown prince deserves U.S. support and encouragement as he unleashes his nation from Sunni Islamic fundamentalism. This is about realism and dealing with the world as it is, not as we would wish it to be.
Bin Salman’s success matters for America. Unless Saudi Arabia’s young population (at least 50-60 percent of which is under 25), are able to find pathways that benefit their own happiness and their nation’s economic and social development, America will have a big problem.
After all, in the context of systemic declines in oil prices, Saudi Arabia will become a terrorist dreamland — a land devoid of means of empowerment beyond the false offering of purpose via Islamic extremism.
In short, for reasons of morality and security, we should hope for many more female cycle races in the years ahead.