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Thu, Jun 05, 2003

Saudi Arabian Woman Starts Flying

24-Year-Old is First Saudi Woman to Admit Flying, in Public

Hanadi Hindi is flying airplanes. That's strictly forbidden in her country of Saudi Arabia; penalties are severe. That's why she has spent the last seven months in Jordan, where she is learning to fly.

According to a Manila Times article by Wafa Amr, Hindi has joined two other women (and 70 men) at Jordan’s Mideast Aviation Academy.

The Mecca native knows she's causing trouble back home, and creating a scandal. She told the Times, "You know women are banned from driving in Saudi Arabia, so being a pilot is unthinkable for a woman." Unthinkable, perhaps, but she's flying an Archer.

Not only did she leave her country to commit a prohibited act, she did so alone -- Saudi women, Amr notes, must be accompanied by men, on journeys. "At home I wasn’t allowed to even visit my girl friends, and when I found I was on my own I was afraid of both women and men," she told the reporter. "Now I find it easier to deal with men."

She hasn't renounced her country; she says she's trying to change it. Her plans include returning, and landing a job with Saudi Airlines. "I will go back and apply, I’m a Saudi and I love my country. I want to be able to serve my country," she told the reporter.

FMI: www.saudiairlines.com

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