A top cleric in Saudi Arabia is banned from all religious activities after he suggested women shouldn't be allowed to drive because they have smaller brains than men.
In a video lecture, Saad al-Hijri, who is the head of fatwas (religious legal opinions) in the Asir governorate, was discussing driving licenses and quipped if the traffic department would give it to a man with only half a brain.
“Would it give him a license or not? It would not," he said. "So how can it give it to a woman when she has only half?”
And al-Hijri didn't stop there.
“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.”
Such sexist comments coming from a religious cleric in Saudi Arabia are not surprising since the country is the only one in the world where women are not allowed to drive.
Women in the ultra-conservative Gulf kingdom, among many other things, need a male guardian or a chauffeur in order to travel in a car.
However, what is surprising is that al-Hijri was suspended for his comments. In the past, Saudi clerics have stated various sexist — and nonsensical — reasons for not allowing women to drive, one going as far as to suggest that driving might damage a woman's ovaries.