Women in Saudi Arabia can now stay in a hotel or a furnished [?] apartment without a male guardian, according to a government decision that comes as the country faces increasing criticism for its severe restrictions on women.
The daily Al-Watan, which is deemed close to the Saudi government, reported Monday that the ministry issued a circular to hotels asking them to accept lone women — as long as their information is sent to a local police station.
The decision was adopted after a study conducted by the Interior Ministry, the Supreme Commission of Tourism and the religious police authority known as the Commission for the Propagation of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice.
Saudi women, under strict Islamic law, suffer severe restrictions on daily life: They are not allowed to be anywhere with an unrelated man, cannot drive, appear before a judge without a male representative, or travel abroad without a male guardian's permission.
The paper interviewed some Saudi women who complained that they had been severely inconvenienced by the rules banning them from staying in the hotels alone.
It quoted a woman identified as saying that she once arrived late at night at King Fahd airport on an internal flight and was denied a hotel room because she was alone.
Another woman, Fatima Ibrahim, said her son-in-law quarreled with his wife and daughters and threw them out of the house. When they tried to get a hotel room, they were asked to get a permission from the police. . . .
Monday, January 21, 2008
Progress in the Middle East
Posted by the blogger at 4:26 PM