Time: Apr 4, 2018
“I support Saudi Arabia, and half of Saudi Arabia is women. So I support women,” shared Crown Prince Mohamed Bin Salman in an interview with The Atlantic. Since his pledge last year to modernize Saudi Arabia, the Crown Prince has brought about many historic reforms supporting the rights of Saudi women.
In May, the Crown Prince issued a directive allowing women to seek medical procedures, higher education, and jobs without the permission of a male guardian. The ambitious steps by the prince support an evolving attitude towards social and economic reforms in order to expand women’s rights in the Kingdom. The Crown Prince went on to share with The Atlantic: “Before 1979 there were societal guardianship customs but no guardianship laws in Saudi Arabia. It doesn’t go back to the time of the Prophet Muhammad. In the 1960’s women didn’t travel with male guardians. But it happens now, and we want to move on it and figure out a way to treat this that doesn’t harm families and doesn’t harm the culture.” The Crown Prince hopes to shift sands by reevaluating decades-old laws that have prohibited Saudi women from independently making decisions.
The prince most recently also steered the lift of the driving ban, which will take place in June and will allow Saudi women to get a driving license and drive without the presence of a male guardian. This decision was deemed a victory for all Saudi women, some of whom were quick to express their joy via social media platforms.
The Crown Prince also stated that women didn’t need to wear an abaya as long as their attire is “decent and respectful.” Speaking to CBS anchor Norah O’Donnell on 60 Minutes, the Crown Prince said, “The laws are very clear and stipulated in the laws of Sharia: that women wear decent, respectful clothing, like men” adding that the choice of clothing was entirely left to the woman so long as it complied with “modest” regulations.
Additionally, the Crown Prince shared, “We want to go back to what we were: moderate Islam. Saudi Arabia was not like this before 1979. We want to go back to what we were, the moderate Islam that’s open to all religions. We want to live a normal life… Coexist and contribute to the world.”