A Saudi cleric, who said that women do not deserve to drive because they only have a quarter of a brain, has been suspended from all religious activity, reported Reuters. Saudi Arabia is the only country in the world that bans women from driving.

Head of Fatwas in Saudi Arabia’s Asir governorate, Sheikh Saad Al-Hijri, said that women only have half a brain to begin with, but when they go out shopping, they “end up with only a quarter”. He was giving a lecture on “the evils of women driving”.

He asked if the traffic department would give a man with half a brain a licence. “It would not. So how can it give it to a woman when she has only half?” he said. “If she goes to the market, she loses another half. What is left? A quarter.”

Hijri added: “We demand the traffic department check because she is not suitable to drive and she has only a quarter [of a brain].”

The speech had comments that diminished “human value”, a spokesperson for the governor of Asir said, adding that Saad Al-Hijri is now banned from preaching, leading prayers or any other religious activity.

The ban intends to limit the exploitation of preaching platforms, which some use to suggest controversial opinions and views that detract from the value of human beings, the spokesperson said. Others who use religious platforms to preach such views that do not serve the national interest would also be banned, the spokesperson added.