"Driving by women leads to evil," Munir al-Shahrani wrote in a letter to the editor of the Al-Watan daily. "Can you imagine what it will be like if her car broke down? She would have to seek help from men."
But al-Zulfa contends neither the law nor Islam bans women from driving. Instead, the ban is based on fatwas, or Islamic edicts, by senior clerics who say that any driving by women would create situations for sinful temptation.
It is the same argument used to restrict other freedoms. Without written permission from a male guardian, women may not travel, get an education or work. Regardless of permission, they are not allowed to mix with men in public or leave home without wearing black cloaks, called abayas.