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This information got me thinking about the role of women in Islam, especially ones who live under Shari’ah Law. As our interview draws to a close, I asked Sera about her experiences as a woman in Saudi. She admits that it was not always easy. While women and men are viewed as equals under Islamic belief (the Qur’an introduced many legal rights and privileges to women), unfortunately some of these has been interpreted in a very strict fashion (Brodd et al. 517). Women are expected to always dress modestly, with their heads covered by a hijab. Sera says that women are also not allowed to travel alone. “Women can only do things with permission of their male guardians, whether that’s a father, brother, cousin, uncle, etc. This includes being out in public or traveling around or outside of the country.” She adds, “until we are 45 years old, we are required to have electronic authorization from our male guardian.” Sera does acknowledge that things are getting better. She says that more and more men are allowing their female family members to move around the country without needing their permission. 
A few months ago, Sera celebrated her first time obtaining a driver’s license. At the age of 34 she is now a full-fledged licensed driver, something we in the States take for granted. So it comes as no surprise that she is ecstatic about the news of Saudi lifting the ban for women drivers. “That really makes me so happy,” she says, a big smile on her face. Sera remembers the time when some of her friends were arrested when they participated in the women to drive movement in Saudi, a campaign to end the ban. “Lots of women took to driving on the streets of Jeddah to protest. It was an act of rebellion and I was really so proud of everyone who were there!” Sera remembers it as a “really crazy time.” On September 2017, King Salman of Saudi Arabia lifted the ban for women drivers, effective on June 2018. 
Alas, our interview had to come to a close. I thanked Sera for taking time out of her busy schedule to help me out with this project. She said that she was more than happy to give people an insight on her religion and beliefs. As such, this project has been a great experience and an eye-opener for me. The experience gave me a chance to get to know a dear friend of mine and connect in a way that we have not connected before. It also gave me a deeper understanding of Islam and how it can be interpreted differently by different members of the faith. It is fascinating to see how a centuries-old religion is adapted into a more modern context. For my last question, I asked Sera what being a Muslim means to her. She was silent for a moment, a contemplative look on her face. Finally, she responds. “Personally, being Muslim means being a good person and treating others with respect because you answer to God. It does not matter how removed I am from Islam at times, I will always carry and treasure its teachings because I will always be   Muslim at heart.” And I definitely believe her. 

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