Driving may damage women's ovaries, pelvis, Saudi cleric claims

A Saudi woman poses in this picture to illustrate driving a car in Jeddah June 17, 2011. REUTERS/Susan Baaghil/Files (Reuters)

Driving may affect a woman's ovaries and pelvis, a Saudi cleric has warned in response to a new bid to lift the ban on driving in the Kingdom.

Sheikh Saleh bin Saad Al Luhaydan, a judicial and psychological consultant to the Gulf Psychological Association, said driving “could have a reverse physiological impact" on women and "automatically affects ovaries and rolls up the pelvis," Al Arabiya reported, citing Saudi news website sabq.org.

"This is why we find for women who continuously drive cars their children are born with clinical disorders of varying degrees,” Sheikh Al Luhaydan said.

The remarks were made in response to a new online petition urging Saudi women to drive on October 26, which has chalked up more than 11,000 signatures since its launch.

The sheikh also urged women to use "the mind before the heart and emotion and look at this issue with a realistic eye. The result of this is bad and they should wait and consider the negative effects."

His comments drew instant reaction on social media, with many ridiculing his statements.

User @Mshaal80 asked whether Al Luhaydan “studied Shariah, medicine or foolishness,” while another @Shams_AlShmous sarcastically applauded his “exclusive scientific achievement.”

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Saudi Arabia is the only country in the world that is banned from driving and women caught defying the ban have been arrested and fined.