UK
30/09/2013 09:14 BST | Updated 29/11/2013 10:12 GMT

Driving Damages Women's Ovaries, Says Saudi Arabian Cleric Sheikh Saleh Al-Lohaidan

Women who drive risk damaging their ovaries and bearing children with “clinical disorders” – that’s the opinion of a prominent Saudi Arabian cleric.

Sheikh Saleh al-Lohaidan made his laughable comments ahead of an online campaign urging a “day of defiance” against the country’s driving ban for women, due to be staged on October 26th.

"If a woman drives a car, not out of pure necessity, that could have negative physiological impacts as functional and physiological medical studies show that it automatically affects the ovaries and pushes the pelvis upwards," Sheikh al-Lohaidan told the news website Sabq.org.

saudi arabia woman driving

Saudi Arabian women are being urged to flout the driving ban on October 26

Al-Lohaidan, who is able to issue fatwas and advises the government in his role as one of the 21 members of the Senior Council of Scholars, added: "That is why we find those who regularly drive have children with clinical problems of varying degrees."

Thankfully, his comments have been met with the derision they deserve on Twitter.

More than 12,000 people have signed the "Oct 26 Driving" online petition, which NBC News reports was blocked inside the kingdom on Sunday.

Literature on the website reads: “The campaign has no anti-Islamic or political agenda for neither Islam nor the official laws of Saudi prohibit women from driving.

“Islam and the Basic Law of Saudi Arabia both ensure that all, regardless of gender, have the right to freedom of movement. King Abdullah has also stated the ban is only societal.”

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It urges women and men alike to sign the petition and share it on social media sites. Women are also encouraged to drive, have lessons and post videos of themselves doing so.

Allowing women to drive in Saudi Arabia would also mean no more virgins and an increase in homosexuality, according to academics at Saudi Arabia’s highest religious council, Majlis al-Ifta' al-A'ala, it was reported in the Telegraph in 2011.

More pornography would be used if women were allowed on the roads and rates of prostitution and divorce would also rise, the report added.