Hindus have welcomed Saudi Arabia’s historic announcement of giving right to women to vote and run in future municipal elections and to be appointed to all-male influential advisory Shura Council from next term.
Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, hailed it as a “step in the right direction”.
Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, commended Saudi Arabia King Abdullah Bin-Abd-al-Aziz Al Saud for this extraordinary, groundbreaking, bold and long- awaited political reform, giving women an important role in the kingdom and society in an announcement made on September 25.
Rajan Zed also praised senior ulema for reportedly supporting King’s initiative, which is a major advancement for the rights of women in this conservative society.
Zed pointed out that women had made significant contributions to Saudi society and this step would further their roles in the advancement of the country and world. This was an important positive step forward and raised hopes.
According to reports, women are not issued driving licenses in Saudi Arabia, need permission from a male relative to participate in public life and segregation of the sexes is enforced. Municipal elections are the only public polls in Saudi Arabia filling half of the council seats, while other half are government appointed. Next municipal elections with women participation will be held in 2015.
Established in 1932, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, reportedly world’s dominant oil producer sitting on largest hydrocarbon reserves, is birthplace of Prophet Muhammad, cradle of Islam and land of two holiest mosques in Mecca (Masjid al-Haram) and Medina (Al-Masjid al-Nabawi). It is also home to Madain Saleh, huge sand dunes, Arabian oryx, spectacular reefs, and traditional Bedouin hospitality.