x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Reasons for allowing Saudi women to drive

Readers hail moves to enforce anti-smoking law and urge for consumer-friendly online sales

A Saudi woman looks out of her car in Jeddah June 17, 2011. Saudi Arabia has no formal ban on women driving. But as citizens must use only Saudi-issued licences in the country, and as these are issued only to men, women drivers are anathema. Outcry at the segregation, which contributes to the general cloistering of Saudi women, has been fuelled by social media interest in two would-be female motorists arrested last month. REUTERS/Susan Baaghil (SAUDI ARABIA - Tags: SOCIETY) *** Local Caption *** AMM02_SAUDI-DRIVING_0617_11.JPG
A Saudi woman looks out of her car in Jeddah June 17, 2011. Saudi Arabia has no formal ban on women driving. But as citizens must use only Saudi-issued licences in the country, and as these are issued only to men, women drivers are anathema. Outcry at the segregation, which contributes to the general cloistering of Saudi women, has been fuelled by social media interest in two would-be female motorists arrested last month. REUTERS/Susan Baaghil (SAUDI ARABIA - Tags: SOCIETY) *** Local Caption *** AMM02_SAUDI-DRIVING_0617_11.JPG

This is in reference to women driving in Saudi Arabia as described in the front page article Maha dares to go for a drive in Riyadh (June 18). I have met Saudi Arabian women in the past when I was living in the US and found them to be intelligent and practical. So I don't understand the Saudi government's position on not allowing women the legal right to drive. In the time of the Prophet Mohammed, women obviously rode camels and horses.

I don't think vice has anything to do with this issue. Anyone wanting to do wrong will find a way to do so. That is why educating Muslim people on what is correct and wrong and upholding social, cultural and religious values are necessary. But not when they impede on practicality.

Here is why I think it should be legal for women to drive in Saudi Arabia.

First, it is practical. This is the main reason currently being given by women who want the legal right to drive.

The government will benefit on each car sold if car companies are taxed, plus other fees associated with getting a driver's licence and title for the car. Millions of additional cars would probably be sold, boosting the economy.

By the end of the year the Saudi government could go on a public relations campaign telling the world that Saudi women, who are usually seen as oppressed, are helping to alleviate the current world economic situation.

Best of luck to the women in Saudi Arabia.

Irfan Syed, Dubai

Reactions to new smoking law

I refer to the front page news article Smoking law 'in force by year end' (June 16). I think it is great the Government will eventually enforce this law in Abu Dhabi. I hate going to a non-smoking mall where people are allowed to smoke in restaurants and cafes. You cannot separate people into two areas as the smoke drifts.

I also think that some of the big firms should start enforcing this law before December as they have a social obligation to do so. For example, smoking is not allowed at Starbucks in Abu Dhabi.

If people want to smoke, they should do so outside of the mall and I hope the malls create no-smoking zones as they have in Dubai.

Name Withheld by Request

There's a big difference between laws that are there to protect children and non-smokers from passive smoking and laws that protect children from seeing adults smoke. It's important not to confuse the two.

Ziad Q, Dubai

In praise of folk singer Joan Baez

The article Joan Baez, still touring, still campaigning (June 12) described how the American folk singer is still on the concert circuit at the age of 70. Like the Energizer Bunny, Joan just keeps going and going and going ...

Ken Holley, US

An example of hospitality

For the last three years, I have witnessed acts of hospitality by Emirati men and women and yesterday I observed one more.

As we arrived at the Wahat Hili district of Al Ain from Dubai for a wildlife park visit, we simply wanted to ask a driver the shortest way to the park. As the driver opened the window of the BMW, we saw that she was an Emirati woman in a black abaya.

She kindly described the way to the park in English and she even said: "It is a long way from here to the park. You can come to my house and meet my husband. I can offer you coffee, water, whatever you like."

In today's world, full of hostility, fear and dislike, her kindness, sincerity and hospitality deeply affected us and made our day beautiful. We admire the humane values that people still keep and show towards outsiders.

Gaye Caglayan, Dubai

Make online sales consumer friendly

I refer to UAE retailer's online presence does little for bottom line (June 14). The electronics store's website isn't exactly a model of how to make it work. If you look at buying a a printer, there is no picture, no description, no specifications. Most of the sales items are like this. If retailers want to sell online, they have to make it consumer friendly.

JM, Abu Dhabi

Appealing only to the very rich

M Magazine suggests lifestyles for its readers for reasons of comfort and fashion. May I ask who are its readers? Is the magazine talking to all the UAE population or just 2 or 3 per cent? Page six of this week's issue shows us a holiday holdall for Dh12,900 and a watch for Dh188,000. Does M stand for millionaires?

Samar al Husseini, Abu Dhabi