Victim blaming much? Saudi Grand Mufti says women cannot drive because men are dangerous

Published April 12th, 2016 - 08:48 GMT
If 'obsessed men with weak spirits' are the problem, why not just ban men from driving? (Twitter)
If 'obsessed men with weak spirits' are the problem, why not just ban men from driving? (Twitter)

Saudi Arabia's top cleric has defended a ban on women driving claiming it would 'expose them to evil'.

Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdul Aziz bin-Abdullah al-Sheikh added 'obsessed' men with 'weak spirits' could end up causing female drivers harm.

Women driving in Saudi Arabia is not technically against the law, but is banned in practice because women are not able to obtain driving licences.

Some exceptions have been made in rural areas if a woman driving is essential for her family life.

According to The Independent, the religious leader was speaking on a Saudi television channel and also claimed women driving alone could cause problems for families as they 'would not know where they were'.

Last year campaigner Loujain al-Hathloul was jailed for 10 weeks after violating the ban by driving from the United Arab Emirates to the Saudi border.

And in February 2015, Saudi historian Saleh al-Saadoon caused controversy in trying to justify the ban, claiming women 'could be raped' if their cars broke down.

The historian was speaking on Saudi Rotana Khalijiyya TV and added his opinion that in countries like America sexual crimes 'are no big deal' to women.

But some progress on women's rights has been made recently, with females allowed to stand and vote in municipal elections for the first time last December.

The Grand Mufti is known for being outspoken and earlier this year ruled that chess is forbidden for Muslims because it is a 'waste of time' and promotes gambling.

He issued the fatwa ahead of a major chess tournament in Mecca in January.

Muslims often follow personal religious guidance given by senior clerics, but their declarations are not legally binding.


© Associated Newspapers Ltd.

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