There are numerous issues and conflicts in the Middle East, but in Saudi Arabia key leaders believe what must be addressed are important issues such as whether or not a woman can travel without a male escort. Sheikh Al-Obaikan said his research indicated Muslim women can travel without a male escort if she feels secure. The research has sparked a new interest in the Shoura (Consultative Council) to investigate the possibility of women traveling without a male family escort-mahram. Aziza Mansour, a businesswoman who owns her own company, has to ask permission of her brother-in-law in order to travel because her husband is dead. “The existing regulations on women’s travel make my business trips difficult and it delays several of my business deals.”
Dr. Ahmad Al-Sheaibi of King Saud University argues the problem can be overcome by ensuring if a woman is on a plane she is not seated next to a man! If the woman is being served by a male airline attendant, can she touch his hand when he hands her the peanuts? The argument of many multiculturalists is the need to “respect” other cultures, but this is a blatant example of discrimination against women who are trying to function in a modern global economy.