Saudi cleric suspended over 'quarter-brain' women drivers quip

Published: September 22, 2017
SHARES
Email
Saad al-Hijri. PHOTO: ONLINE

Saad al-Hijri. PHOTO: ONLINE

DUBAI: A Saudi cleric who said women should not drive because their brains shrink to a quarter the size of a man’s when they go shopping has been banned from preaching, state television said.

Saad al-Hijri was suspended from all religious activity after advising against allowing women to drive in a speech that contained comments “diminishing human value”, the broadcaster quoted a spokesperson for the governor of Asir province as saying.

Ultra-conservative Saudi Arabia is the only country in the world that bans women from driving, despite ambitious government targets to increase their public role, especially in the workforce.

Women in the kingdom are also bound by law to wear long robes and a headscarf and require the consent of a male guardian for most legal actions.

In a video identifying him as the head of the religious edicts department in the southern province, Hijri asked what the traffic department would do it if it discovered a man with only half a brain. “Would it give him a license or not? It would not. So how can it give it to a woman when she has only half?” he said. “If she goes to the market she loses another half. What is left? A quarter…We demand the traffic department check because she is not suitable to drive and she has only a quarter.”

Saudi police arrest woman for wearing miniskirt in video

The comments sparked anger on social media, which is hugely popular in the kingdom.

Twitter users shared the video, many criticising it and making jokes about his remarks, under the Arabic hashtag “Al-Hijri_women_quarter_brain”.

Some users posted pictures of Saudi female scientists and academics in response and questioned Hijri’s own intellectual capacities. His suspension, ordered by the provincial governor, was aimed at preventing the spread of views that spark controversy and do not serve the national interest, the provincial spokesperson said, according to Ekhbariya TV‘s official Twitter account.

Any others who used religious platforms to preach such views would also be banned. The government’s modernising reforms, backed by Saudi Arabia’s business class, have sparked tensions with influential clerics upon whose support the ruling family relies. Some clerics have millions of followers on social media.

Facebook Conversations

Reader Comments (3)

  • BrainBro
    Sep 22, 2017 - 9:19PM

    I believe, I’m the authority on this topic, since I have got the word brain in my username.
    He probably meant to say that women aren’t very smart. Thank you.Recommend

  • duster
    Sep 23, 2017 - 6:02PM

    This guy wouldn’t last two seconds in a debate with my daughter let alone Angela Merkel, Theresa May etc. Kudos to Saudi Arabia for finally putting a muzzle on these Neanderthal’s. Recommend

  • MS
    Sep 23, 2017 - 9:07PM

    According to every Islamic scholar, women are half of men but this preacher went too far and tried to change Islamic law. If he had preached the exact ratio, state had not punished him. It’s funny that no one is saying anything about 50% theory.Recommend

Leave Your Reply Below

Your comments may appear in The Express Tribune paper. For this reason we encourage you to provide your city. The Express Tribune does not bear any responsibility for user comments.

Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive. For more information, please see our Comments FAQ.

More in World