Sheikh Saad Al Hajari
Sheikh Saad Al Hajari

A Saudi cleric who made offensive statements against women has now officially been banned from giving sermons in the kingdom, Okaz newspaper reported

This comes after a now-viral video in which Sheikh Saad Al Hajari is heard saying women shouldn't be allowed to drive because they "have a quarter of a brain" resurfaced on social media late on Wednesday. 

Hajari's comments sparked outrage among users who deemed his statements offensive and unacceptable. 

Amid the intense online backlash, Assir governorate's Prince Faisal Bin Khaled Bin Abdel Aziz issued an order banning the sheikh from all "preaching activities."

In his statement on the matter, the governorate's official spokesperson, Saad Al Thabet said: 

"This ban aims to send a message to anyone who uses platforms available to them to denigrate people or stir up controversy."

Relief at the latest news

"This is a great decision."  

"In the hope that anyone who thinks it's OK to make such statements will face similar consequences"

"This news made my day"

"He deserves it"

The debate on women's right to drive continues to intensify in Saudi Arabia

The video of Hajari's sermon comes at a time when the debate on women's right to drive continues to intensify.

Under the country's current law, there is no official prohibition on women driving, however, officials have yet to issue driving licenses to women.

In the viral video, which has now been taken down from Youtube, Hajari made several offensive references to women. 

"A woman isn't equal to a man when it comes to brain power and this is how she was created," he said. 

He then explained that because women have "half a brain," Saudi Arabia's Road and Traffic safety authority shouldn't allow them to drive. 

"If a man had half a brain, would they issue him a driving license? They wouldn't." 

Hajari's insults didn't stop here, he went on to explain that when women go shopping, they lose another half of their existing "half brain" and end up with only a quarter. 

"Women don't deserve to drive because they only have a quarter of a brain," he reiterated.