Officials in Saudi Arabia suspended an Islamic cleric from preaching after he allegedly claimed that women’s brains shrink to “quarter the size” of a man’s brain when they go shopping.
Saad al-Hijri was suspended after he said women shouldn’t be allowed to drive because they only have “half” a brain and that when they go shopping, they lose the other half of their brain.
“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,” the Daily Mail added.
Hijri, who identifies himself as the head of “the religious edicts department” in the southern province, asks the traffic department what it would do 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?
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.
Hijri’s comments quickly sparked outrage on social media which is reportedly very popular in Saudi Arabia. Multiple media outlets confirmed that Twitter users mocked Hijri using the Arabic “Al-Hijri_women_quarter_brain.”
It appears as though his suspension is not that serious in the eyes of the Kingdom who view it as more of a public relations controversy rather than a serious indication of human rights abuse.
“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 spokesman said, according to Ekhbariya TV’s official Twitter account,” Reuters noted.