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Saudi report: Women driving could end virginity

Saudi report: Women driving could end virginity
Prince Turki Al Faisal of Saudi Arabia discusses the evolving role and rights of women in Saudi Arabia, including King Abdullah's decision to grant women the right to vote in 2015; in Washington on November 15, 2011. UPI/Roger L. Wollenberg | License Photo

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia, Dec. 2 (UPI) -- If women were allowed to drive in Saudi Arabia, sex and pornography would surge and homosexuality would be more prevalent, conservative Muslim scholars said.

Academics at the Majlis al-Ifta al-Aala, the country's top religious council, said relaxing the rules concerning women drivers would eventually lead to "no more virgins," The Daily Telegraph reported Friday.

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The scholars, working with a former professor at the conservative King Fahd University, presented their conclusions in a report to the country's legislative assembly.

The report said allowing women to drive would "provoke a surge in prostitution, pornography, homosexuality and divorce."

Saudi Arabia is the only country that bans women from driving. Women caught driving can be lashed.

In September, Shaima Jastaniya was sentenced to 10 lashes after she was caught driving in Jeddah. International outrage about the sentence prompted King Abdallah to overturn it.

Despite criticism about the law by rights organizations and other leaders, resistance to reform is strong within the conservative royal family and among clerics.

The Saudi government is considering a proposal to ban women from displaying their eyes if they are deemed too "tempting," the Telegraph reported. Women already must cover most of their bodies in public.

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