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September 28th, 2011

RIYADH, SAUDI ARABIA – King Abdullah announced on Saudi television that women in his country would be allowed to vote for the first time ever and run for office in future elections.

  • Saudi women will be granted the right to actively participate as full members of the Shura Council, the Consultative Council appointed by the King, and become involved in future elections.
  • Municipal elections will be held on Thursday – the second time in 50 years. There is no set schedule for the next set of municipal elections as of yet.
  • Saudi women may exercise their newly granted right to vote in the Kingdom’s local elections in 2015.
  • Women’s rights have been a central topic of discussion in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for many years. Just recently, small numbers of Saudi women have taken the initiative to drive in defiance of the current law that forbids them to do so.

Original sources: AP; AFP; Reuters; BBC News; Sky News; Al Jazeera; CNN; News24; Arab News; TIME; Vancouver Sun; Business Week; Saudi Gazette; Detroit Free Press; San Francisco Chronicle; The Guardian; The Independent; Gulf Daily News; New Zealand Herald; Le Monde; The National; The Wall Street Journal; The New York Times; Atlanta Journal Constitution; Bloomberg.

Analysts available for comment:

Nimah Ismail Nawwab is a Saudi activist, youth leader, writer, photographer, lecturer and internationally recognized poet. Dubbed a ‘voice for Arab women’, she touches on present and past issues relating to women and youth.

CONTACT: nimah.nawwab@theglobalexperts.org

Location: Middle East

Languages: Arabic; English

Zainah Anwar is the Executive Director of Sisters in Islam (SIS), a non-governmental organisation dedicated to strengthening the rights of Muslim women within the framework of Islam. She is also a former member of the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia.

CONTACT: zainah.anwar@theglobalexperts.org

Location: Southeast Asia

Language: English

Abdallah Schleifer is a veteran journalist who has covered the Middle East for American and Arab media for more than thirty years. He is Professor Emeritus at the American University in Cairo.

CONTACT: abdallah.schleifer@theglobalexperts.org

Location: Middle East

Language: English

Asma Afsaruddin is Professor of Islamic Studies and chairperson of the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures at Indiana University, Bloomington. Her fields of specialization are the religious and political thought of Islam, Qur’an and hadith, Islamic intellectual history, and gender.

CONTACT: asma.afsaruddin@theglobalexperts.org

Location: North America

Languages: Arabic; English

Ndeye Andujar is Vice President and Co-Founder of Junta Islamica Catalana (Catalan Islamic Board). She has been co-organized of the International Congress on Islamic Feminism and director of webislam.com. She has also been member of international networks such as WISE and Muslim Leaders of Tomorrow.

CONTACT: ndeye.andujar@theglobalexperts.org

Location: West Europe

Languages: French; Spanish

Bernard Haykel, Ph.D. is a professor of Near Eastern Studies at Princeton University, specializing in the study of the politics and history of the Middle East, particularly Islamic political movements and law.

CONTACT: b.haykel@theglobalexperts.org

Location: North America

Languages: Arabic; English; French

Abdulaziz Sachedina, Ph.D. is an expert in interfaith relations and religious affairs. He has published numerous works, which discuss Islam in relation to human rights and interfaith relations. He is a Frances Myers Ball Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Virginia, Charlottesville. Schleifer’s knowledge of the Middle East often leads the media to call upon him for commentary on issues relevant to his field of study.

CONTACT: abdulaziz.sachedina@theglobalexperts.org

Location: Middle East; North America

Languages: Arabic; French; English

Kjell Magne Bondevik is the former prime minister of Norway and the founder and president of the Oslo Center for Peace and Human Rights. Mr. Bondevik also has unique theological experience, providing him with a unique perspective regarding human rights and government work.

CONTACT: kjell.bondevik@theglobalexperts.org

Location: West Europe

Language: English

Carool Kersten, Ph.D. is a lecturer in Islamic Studies at King’s College London. His areas of expertise include contemporary Islam and current affairs in the Muslim world, Islam in Southeast Asia and modern Muslim thought. He has a particular interest in liberal Islam, alternative Islamic discourses and the work of progressive Muslim intellectuals.

CONTACT: carool.kersten@theglobalexperts.org

Location: West Europe

Language: Dutch; English

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