Tuesday, May 24, 2011


RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) - Saudi authorities have re-arrested an activist who defied a ban on female drivers in the conservative kingdom, a security official said Monday. Manal al-Sherif was accused of “violating public order” and ordered held for five days while the case is investigated, the official said. Al-Sherif launched a campaign against the longtime ban last week by posting a video clip on the Internet of herself behind the wheel in the eastern city of Khobar. Through Facebook, the campaigners set June 17 as the day all women should drive their cars. The page, called “Teach me how to drive so I can protect myself,” was removed after more than 12,000 people indicated their support for the call. The campaign’s Twitter account also was deactivated. Al-Sherif was detained for several hours on Saturday by the country’s religious police and released after she signed a pledge agreeing not to drive.

A security official said al-Sherif was re-arrested Sunday at dawn. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media. Khobar prison chief Ayoub ben Nahit was quoted as saying in the daily Al-Watan that al-Sherif faces accusations of “violating the rules and the system by driving her car, roaming the streets of the province.” The activists argued they should have the freedom to go the store or drive to work by themselves, were cheered as whores and worse by the mutaween, the young thugs that the government allows to enforce public “morals” as interpreted in the Saudi Arabian version of Islam. Most of the women involved were banned from traveling abroad for a year as punishment.

Saudi authorities have re-arrested an activist who defied a ban on female drivers.  Hard-line clerics believe that women at the wheel create situations for sinful temptation. They argue that female drivers would be free to leave home alone and interact with male strangers, such as traffic police and mechanics.  We should not be too much concerned with material conceptions.  Am I only this body, this sex, this color, this caste?  We have to develop the transcendental eye, the divine eye, to recognize that we are all individual souls, part and parcel of the Supreme Lord Krishna. 

I am not this physical body. My own physical identification should be challenged if I am too much addicted to the physical guru parampara. “Who am l? Am I this physical body?” If I am spiritual, then in the spiritual sphere I shall have to look with spiritual eyes, and pursue whoever will come before me who is really following the path of Mahaprabhu. When the Pandavas retired to the Himalayas, Yudhisthira Maharaja was going ahead. Nobody believed they would fall. Arjuna couldn’t believe that his brothers had fallen. But even after Arjuna had fallen, a dog was going on, following Maharaja Yudhisthira. We may see many men fall down in the path of our journey towards the spiritual goal, but still we should try to reach the goal. And with the help of whoever comes along, I shall go.

Śrīla Bhakti Raksaka Sridhara Mahārāja :
“Sri Guru & His Grace”
“Instructing Spiritual Masters” - “Am I This Body?”
http://bvml.org/SBRSM/index.htm - Bhaktivedanta Memorial Library

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