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Saudi cleric suspended for calling women 'half-brained' as compared to men

Saad al-Hijri was suspended from all religious activity in the southern province of Asir after his comment was widely pilloried on social media

AFP/PTI  |  Riyadh 

A who said women should not be allowed to drive because they have a "quarter" of the brainpower of men has been banned from preaching, media reported on Friday.

was suspended from all religious activity in the southern province of Asir after his comment was widely pilloried on social media.


Hijri said women -- who normally are "half-brained" compared to men -- "end up with only a quarter" when they go shopping and therefore must be denied driving licences, according to an online video identifying him as a senior religious figure.

applies a strict interpretation of Sunni Islam, which imposes a range of restrictions including a ban on women driving.

Unrelated men and women are normally segregated in Saudi Arabia, where offices and restaurants have separate sections for single men and families.

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.

Hijri later said that his comment was a "slip of the tongue", according to Sabq online newspaper.

First Published: Fri, September 22 2017. 22:54 IST
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