Beliefnet News

Saudi Arabian scholars have published their research findings that allowing women to drive automobiles leads to sexual promiscuity.

The desert kingdom is the only country in the world that denies females driver’s licenses. Saudi police recently arrested a number of women protesting the ban — and sentenced a repeat offender to a public lashing.

The report says Saudi experts are supporting the law, citing researchers from King Fahd University.

“Academics at the Majlis al-Ifta’ al-A’ala, which is Saudi Arabia’s highest religious council,” reports Andy Bloxham in the British daily Telegraph, “said the relaxation of the rules would inevitably lead to ‘no more virgins.’”

The academics, working in conjunction with retired university professor Kamal Subhi, presented their conclusions in a report for the country’s legislative assembly, the Shura Council.

The report warns that allowing women to drive would “provoke a surge in prostitution, pornography, homosexuality and divorce.”

The report concluded that relaxing the country’s rules that keep women from driving would lead to premarital sex and result in a lack of virgin brides, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Saudi King Abdullah (Photo by Ammar Abd Rabbo)

“The ultraconservative stance suggests increasing pressure on King Abdullah to retain the kingdom’s male-only driving rules despite international criticism,” reported the Huffington Post.

Saudi women have staged several protests defying the driving ban. The king has already promised some reforms, including allowing women to vote in municipal elections in 2015.

Within 10 years of any lifting of the ban being lifted, the report found, there would be “moral decline” as can already be seen in Muslim countries in which women are allowed to drive.

“In the report,” reported the Telegraph, “Professor Subhi described sitting in a coffee shop in an unnamed Arab state where ‘all the women were looking at me. One made a gesture that made it clear that she was available. This is what happens when women are allowed to drive.”

In September, Shaima Jastaniya, 34, a Saudi woman, was sentenced to 10 lashes with a whip after being caught driving in Jeddah.

There has been strong protest in the country about the sentence, which was later overturned by King Abdullah, and about the law generally but resistance to reform remains strong among the traditionally conservative royal family and clerics.

The Saudi government is currently considering a proposal to ban women – already forced to cover up most of their body in public – from even displaying their eyes, if they are judged too “tempting.”