If you’re reading this, the world did not, as predicted, end this weekend. Nor, alas, did the stupidity of Muslim clerics, like the unlovely Sheikh Saad al-Hajari, above.
According to this report, al-Hajari, the head of the Saudi government’s religious edict authority in the southern province of Assir, recently spoke out against “the evils of allowing women to drive” at a lecture.
Arguing that Saudi’s the ban on women drivers should not be lifted, he claimed claiming that their “lack of intellect” made them unfit to control a car.
Al-Hajari said that women have just half the brainpower of males – but this fell to a quarter when they went out shopping.
And if they go out to the market this gets halved again! So they now have a quarter of an intellect.
Their lack of intellect does not harm their piousness because they are made that way.
And the imbecile asked:
Would you give a man with half an intellect a driving licence? So how would you give one to a woman when she has half an intellect?
But he tried to soften his criticism by adding it was “not their fault” they were not on the same cerebral level. Their half-wittedness was caused by their inability to pray as much as men because they menstruated, and women, during their “unclean” periods, are forbidden from praying.
Predictably, his lecture drew fire on social media. You can read some of the comments here.
Meanwhile, it was reported here that there were red faces at Saudi’s Ministry of Education after officials discovered that a history textbook included a doctored photograph of King Faisal sitting next to Yoda, the little green Star Wars character.
Officials are now scrambling to withdraw the book. The picture was supposed to illustrate a section on the King’s rule but somehow the book’s editors used a version that showed Yoda perched next to the monarch as he signed the UN charter.
Said Ahmed al-Eissa, the Saudi Education Minister.
The Ministry of Education regrets the inadvertent error. The ministry has began printing a corrected copy of the decision and withdrawing the previous versions, and has formed a legal committee to determine the source of the error and to take appropriate action.
The black-and-white photograph of Faisal and Yoda is the work of a 26-year-old Saudi artist named Abdullah al-Sheri, who said:
I am the one who designed it, but I am not the one who put it in the book.
The Riyadh-based artist goes by the nickname Shaweesh, and the picture was part of a series that showed film characters discreetly added to photographs of major moments in Arab history. You can see some of his other works here.
One image shows Darth Vader standing behind Lawrence of Arabia and the king of Iraq at the Paris peace conference in 1919, which divided up much of the Middle East.
Another has a young Arab boy looking down at Captain America from the back of a truck.
Al-Sheri said that he paired up the king and Yoda because both were intelligent and because Yoda’s green skin and green light sabre matched the green of the Saudi flag.
He was wise and was always strong in his speeches. So I found that Yoda was the closest character to the king.
He only became aware that his picture had found its way into a textbook when his mother, who is a teacher, texted him after seeing a copy.
I meant no offence to the king at all.
Hat tip: Brian Jordan (Al-Sheri report)