Saudi cleric banned for derogatory remarks against women

Saudi cleric banned for derogatory remarks against women
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RIYADH (AFP) - A Saudi cleric who said women should not be allowed to drive because they have a "quarter" of the brainpower of men has been banned from preaching, the government said Friday.

Saad al-Hijri was suspended from leading prayers and all other religious activity in the southern province of Asir after he was widely pilloried on social media for his comment.

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.

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.

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