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#King Salman bin Abdulaziz of #Saudi Arabia recently announced that driving laws will change in the highly conservative country, allowing women to drive in June 2018.

Soon afterward, a selfie was tweeted by Faisal BaDughaish, who works for a gas and oil company in Dhahran, eastern Saudi Arabia. The image shows himself and his wife seated in a car in an empty parking lot, with huge smiles on their faces. The caption accompanying the selfie said he had started to teach his wife to drive in a private parking area in a “safe and legal way,” in the run-up to the new law coming into effect.

Controversial tweet meets mixed reception

BaDughaish spoke to BBC Arabic about his selfie, saying he and his wife have waited “impatiently” for the law relating to #women driving to change.

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He said he hopes the image will lead to other Saudi men training their female relatives. However, he added that he also wants to inspire Saudi women to learn to drive in a legal way, as they are not currently allowed to drive on the roads in the country.

While he is mostly pleased with the response to the selfie, he did say some messages sent to him after he posted the image were so threatening, he reported them to the cybercrimes department in Saudi Arabia.

Social media reacts to driving lesson selfie

Meanwhile on social media, the general reaction to BaDughaish’s tweet – which has received almost 9,000 retweets at time of writing – went to prove how controversial the new ruling relating to women driving is. Many Twitter users objected to the fact that he had revealed his wife’s face in the controversial selfie, with Bderr1991 asking if he is embarrassed for posting her image, saying “Shame on you.”

However other Saudi men said they were encouraged by BaDughaish’s tweet, saying they will follow his lead in teaching their sisters, who are more than willing to learn, in the run-up to June 2018.

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Many women also responded in a positive way, saying they are looking forward to driving lessons from their male relatives. Some women did say the change in the driving laws has led to debates within their families, with one woman saying her son will teach her, as her husband refuses to do so.

Other men post viral selfies

As reported by Gulf News, BaDughaish was not the only one heading to Twitter with selfies. Many are posting photos of their wives, mothers, and sisters behind the wheel. Fahad Al Sharif, a film director, captured an image of his mother driving while outside of the country. They were reportedly heading back home from Kuwait at the time and most likely changed seats once they reached the Saudi border.

Prior to the announcement at the United Nations that Saudi women will be allowed to drive from June next year, it was the only country in the world that enforced such a ban.

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Currently, women who dare to get behind the wheel run the risk of being arrested and fined.

The video below shows Saudi women excitedly looking at buying their first car.