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Saudi Cleric: Driving Hurts Womens’ Ovaries

From today’s Kuwait Times:

RIYADH: A Saudi cleric sparked a wave of mockery online when he warned women that driving would affect their ovaries and bring “clinical disorders” upon their children. The warning came ahead of an October 26 initiative to defy a longstanding driving ban on women in the ultra-conservative kingdom.

“Physiological science” has found that driving “automatically affects the ovaries and pushes up the pelvis,” Sheikh Saleh Al-Luhaydan warned women in remarks to local news website Sabq.org. “This is why we find that children born to most women who continuously drive suffer from clinical disorders of varying degrees,” he said. His comments prompted criticism on Twitter, which has become a rare platform for Saudis to voice their opinions in the absolute monarchy. “What a mentality we have. People went to space and you still ban women from driving. Idiots,” said one comment.

Luhaydan, a member of the senior Ulema (Muslim scholars) Commission and former head of the Supreme Judicial Council, said that “evidence from the Holy Quran and Sunna (the teachings of the Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) completely prohibit (women’s driving) on moral and social background.”

An online petition titled “Oct 26th, driving for women” amassed nearly 12,000 signatures, while access to it was blocked in the kingdom yesterday. Saudi Arabia is the only country where women are banned from driving. Activists declared a day of defiance against the ban on June 17, 2011, but few women answered the call to drive. Some of those who did were stopped by police and forced to sign a pledge not to take to the wheel again.

Saudi Arabia imposes other restrictions on women, including a requirement to cover themselves from head to toe when in public. The 2011 call, which spread through Facebook and Twitter, was the largest mass action since November 1990, when 47 Saudi women were arrested and severely punished after demonstrating in cars. – AFP

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September 30, 2013 - Posted by | Cross Cultural, Cultural, ExPat Life, Family Issues, Interconnected, Living Conditions, Saudi Arabia, Social Issues, Women's Issues, Work Related Issues

10 Comments »

  1. Driving also reduces the size of testicles. Especially in clerics.

    Wait…. were cars around when the Prophet (PBUH) was alive?

    Comment by Desert Girl | October 1, 2013 | Reply

  2. Did you see that the head of the Mutawa said in response that nothing in sharia prohibits women driving and that since he became head (in 2010 I think) the Mutawa have neither prevented nor stopped women driving. Very interesting sign of an internal debate!

    Comment by adiamondinsunlight | October 1, 2013 | Reply

  3. No! Little Diamond, I had not seen that! That is momentous! It seems to me that the weight of opinion is rolling toward women driving. It’s not as if Saudi women don’t drive; they drive in Seattle, they drive in Kuwait, they drive in Paris and London, Geneva, they drive out in the deserts where their brothers teach them to drive . . . the only place they don’t drive publicly is in the cities in Saudi Arabia. But the head of the Mutawa . . . that is good news.

    Comment by intlxpatr | October 1, 2013 | Reply

  4. lol

    Comment by Hayfa | October 1, 2013 | Reply

  5. Does His Unholiness even understand what ovaries are; let alone, where they are located in the body?!
    Desert girl is quite right in pointing out that, if anything, the testicles should and could take a direct hit from long hours of driving in the Sody desert. This is one country that will never cease amusing me. Coming from Riyadh or Jidda even Tehran start to feel a bit like Beirut or Paris.

    Do we know if women are allowed to drive in Afghanistan?

    In a sense, the international community should rally for unification of Afghanistand and KSA which truly is one country separated by differences in wealth. In the bargain the Saudis could actually, benefit from the hard working attributes of the Afghan people.

    Comment by I Love Intercourse, PA | October 2, 2013 | Reply

    • LOL, BL! And yes, women can drive in Afghanistan. Saudi Arabia is the only country in the world where women cannot drive. Interestingly, there is NO law forbidding them to drive, only the enforcers of moral purity, who, as Little Diamond mentioned above, have backed off since 2010. I think the times are rolling toward women driving.

      Saudi men are greatly inconvenienced by having to do all the driving. There is a middle class in Saudi Arabia, living comfortably, but not wealthily, maybe with a house girl but no driver. It is on these men that the burden of supporting a family, AND all the driving needs falls. I think it will be a matter of convenience to men that drives the movement forward.

      Comment by intlxpatr | October 2, 2013 | Reply

  6. DG; if twisted = hilarious LOL. As you can read, my commenter Beautiful Liar (who is a doctor) says you are entirely correct on your comment here 🙂

    Comment by intlxpatr | October 3, 2013 | Reply


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