Veiled Saudi women talk on their BlackBerry phones at a shopping mall in Riyadh
Women in Saudi Arabia were recently afforded the right to work as hotel chefs. Above, veiled Saudi women are shown talking on cellphones at a shopping mall in Riyadh, Aug. 5, 2010. REUTERS

Saudi Arabian women are slated to come out in protest of the fatwa -- or religious decree -- forbidding women from driving this Friday.

The decree has sparked a major debate in the Muslim world, as many theologians argue there is no evidence in the Qur'an that female drivers are haram, or sinful.

Behind the protest is the proponent for the Saudi woman's right to get behind the wheel: Manal al-Sharif, who was jailed for a little over a week after she posted a YouTube video of herself driving a car and discussing why the Saudi government should legalize driving.

Not all of us live luxurious lives and are spoilt like queens and have drivers, she said in the video.

What if there's an emergency, what's a woman to do, she said, noting that if a woman's husband has a heart attack, she sometimes has no way to get him to the hospital.

Women are ignorant and illiterate when it comes to driving. You'll find a woman with a PhD, a professor at a college, and she doesn't know how to drive.

Al-Sharif also explained that it is sometimes unsafe for an unmarried woman to ride with a cabby or chauffeur.

Earlier this month, a Saudi woman was raped by her chauffeur.

In the fashion of most movements in the Arab spring, Al-Sharif is advertising for her automotive women's rights movement via social media sites like Twitter.