Manal al Sharif


Saudi Arabia

Known for

Defiance of a Ban in Saudi Arabia


Hijri 1399-Present (AH); Common Era 1979-Present (CE)

Manal al Sharif


Manal al Sharif is one of the organizers of an online campaign that ecouraged women to drive en masse in Saudi Arabia on June 17, 2011.1 Presently, there is no law in Saudi Arabia prohibiting driving as it is not mentioned in the Quran and therefore cannot be prohibited based on religion. It is considered de facto illegal due to a number of fatwas issued to the effect.2 In May 2011, Manal posted a video of herself driving on YouTube. A few days later she was arrested and her video became inaccessible. Teach Me How to Drive So I Can Protect Myself, a Facebook page started by Manal with more than 12,000 fans was deleted and her Twitter account was copied and altered to make it seem as though she had canceled the event. One of the falsified tweets, discovered by Saudi blogger, Eman al Nafjan read that Manal had repented once she realized the call to lift the ban was an Iranian and atheist conspiracy to lead society to moral decadence. Despite the Kingdom’s efforts, Manal’s supporters made copies of the Facebook events page after her arrest and her online message about the June 17 protest have been featured on websites by news organizations such as Al Jazeera where they cannot be so easily deleted.3 Manal was eventually released from prison on the condition that she cease encouraging women to participate in the June 17 event.4 Her video is again available on YouTube.   [1] Saudi Woman’s Driving Video Preserved Online [2] Saudi Woman’s Driving Video Preserved Online [3] Manal al Sharif is Released in Saudi Arabia [4] Manal al Sharif Driving in Saudi Arabia