Saudi Arabia’s most senior cleric has defended a ban on female drivers, saying it is “a dangerous matter that exposes women to evil”.
Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdul Aziz bin-Abdullah al-Sheikh told religious television channel Almajd that men with “weak spirits”and who are “obsessed with women” could cause female drivers harm. He also said family members would not know the whereabouts of women if they were allowed to drive unaccompanied.
Women’s rights have long been a contentious issue in the ultraconservative Islamic country. Although driving is not technically illegal for women, it is essentially forbidden since a local license is required and they are not issued to females.
Last year, women’s rights campaigner Loujain al-Hathloul received a 10-week jail sentence after she defied the ban, driving from the United Arab Emirates to the Saudi border in protest. Read more