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Saudi cleric suspended for calling women ‘quarter-brained’ as compared to men


Saad al-Hijri, an Saudi cleric has been suspended from all religious activity in the southern province of Asir, after his comment on women and driving received world wide condemnation.

The Islamic cleric reportedly said women who are “half-brained” when compared to men , “end up with only a quarter” when they go shopping and therefore must denied driving licenses, according to an online video identifying him as a senior religious figure.

Ultra-conservative Saudi Arabia has some of the world’s tightest restrictions on women and is the only country where they are not allowed to drive, despite ambitious government reforms aimed at boosting female employment.


Under the country’s guardianship system, a male family member – normally the father, husband or brother – must grant permission for a woman’s study, travel and other activities.

“The ban sends a message that preaching platforms will not be used to undercut the values of equality, justice and respect for women that are inherent in Islam,” an official statement said, citing a spokesman for Asir’s governor.

“Anyone using preaching platforms to undermine those values will be banned in future.”

Hijri’s comment sparked a storm on social media, with women’s rights activists calling for his suspension, but he also had pockets of support from conservative followers. He however later claimed his comment was a “slip of the tongue”, according to Sabq online newspaper.

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