Female teachers and lecturers in Saudi Arabia have been banned from pursuing studies or scholarships abroad, reportedly due to fears of Islamophobic attacks on Muslim women

Saudi Arabia's education ministry has reportedly instructed all ministries to not enrol women lecturers and teachers into scholarships programs for studying abroad on the directive of the kingdom's Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdul Aziz Al-Asheikh, Arab News reported. 

The decision was taken in view of the murder of a Saudi woman in the United Kingdom last year. 

Saudi student Nahid Almanea was attacked and killed on 17 June last year while she was walking to her university in Essex, UK.

According to a report in Al Jazeera, the UK Metropolitan police revealed in September that Islamophobic attacks had risen in the country by 70% since last year, and 60% of the victims were women. 

The Saudi education ministry reportedly said that women who do not find courses in universities in the kingdom can study abroad only if accompanied by a mehram ( a male family member) for the entire duration of the programme. 

The move by Saudi Arabia comes just months after women were finally allowed to travel abroad without being accompanied by their male guardians. 

The Islamic country imposes several restrictions on women, including banning them from driving. 

Recently, the Saudi authorities restricted women contesting in the upcoming municipal elections from directly interacting with voters.