Saudi Cleric: Women Have 'Half' A Brain, Shouldn't Be Allowed To Drive

It all started with Saad al-Hijri asking what the traffic department would do it if it discovered a man with only half a brain.

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.

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