Cleric Suspended For Saying Women Have Small Brains, Shouldn’t Drive

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Anders Hagstrom Justice Reporter
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A Saudi Arabian cleric was banned from preaching Friday after saying that female brains shrink to a quarter the size of a man’s when shopping, and therefore women should not drive.

Saad al-Hijri, the head cleric of the religious edicts department in the country’s southern province, was banned from broadcasting any religious activity two days after he made the comments during a Wednesday lecture “on the evils of women driving,” the BBC reported. In order to make his point, Hijri posed the question of what a traffic department would do if it found a man with 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 Arabia is the only country in the world that bans women from driving, but it has been on a path toward changing the policy. The television company that broadcasted Hijri’s program, Ekhbariya TV, announced that it would refuse to give a platform to any preacher who espoused such views, according to Reuters.

The country’s social media exploded with arguments over the comments, with some offering support for the cleric. Others, however, were less charitable and applauded the disciplinary measures taken against Hijri, even going so far as to reference the cleric’s mother.

“She became pregnant with him, gave birth to him, raised him, spent sleepless nights for him until he grew up and now he calls her a woman with a quarter of a brain. He and his like must be banned from appearing anywhere,” a Twitter user wrote.

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