Muslim Cleric Says Women Don't Have To Wear Long Robe-like Dresses

Saudi women need not wear abaya

Saudi women need not wear abaya

Changes are not coming fast enough for many campaigners.

A senior religious cleric said women should not be forced to wear abayas - the full-length robe that women don in public to cloak their bodies.

Sheikh Abdullah al-Mutlaq, a member of the Council of Senior Scholars, said that women should dress modestly but that it could be achieved without the abaya - which is now mandated by law in the Sunni Muslim-majority country.

He continued to say that 90 percent of Muslim women in the Muslim world do not wear an abaya and do not even know it.

The kingdom has seen an expansion in women's rights recently, such as the decision passed to allow women to attend mixed public sporting events and the announcement that Saudi Arabia would grant them the right to drive. Activists have blasted the country's guardianship system, which requires a male family member to grant permission for a woman to study overseas, travel and other activities. "So we should not force people to wear abayas", Sheikh Mutlaq said on Friday.

More news: President Trump, Kim Jong Un lookalikes at Olympics 'want peace'
More news: Arsene Wenger Better on Players than Jose Mourinho — Henrikh Mkhitaryan
More news: The reasons North Korean athletes won't defect

It is aimed at giving more freedom to Saudi women, who face strict gender segregation rules, and follows the historic lifting of a driving ban in September 2017.

Last summer, the kingdom announced the construction of a luxury resort on the Red Sea where women will be allowed to wear bikinis.

It has also been reported this week that the kingdom's Public Prosecution will begin hiring Saudi women as investigative officers.

The progressive developments are being ushered in by Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, 32. Women can also now be appointed to the Shoura Council and run in municipal elections. Last year, however, a woman was interrogated by police - she was released later and not charged - after a brief Snapchat video of her wearing a short skirt and midriff top was seen online.

What can Saudi women still not do? In order to travel or open a bank account, women need a "guardian's permission" to be signed by the husband or a male family member. A Saudi woman can not open a bank account without her husband's permission.

Recommended News

  • North Korea had frank, candid talks with South's president: KCNA

    Moon has always expressed a desire to reach out to North Korea. "I clearly said so to President Moon", he said. Both Kim Yong Nam and Kim Jong-un's sister, Kim Yo Jong , also sat in Moon's box.
    Moon holds near 3-hour meeting with N. Korean delegates

    Moon holds near 3-hour meeting with N. Korean delegates

    Later, he skipped a formal dinner at which he was due to share a table with North Korea's ceremonial head of state Kim Yong Nam. But the North was welcomed with open arms to what South Korean President Moon Jae-in called "Olympic games of peace".
    NBC apologies after analyst comment about Japan

    NBC apologies after analyst comment about Japan

    Tokyo only formally lukewarm-apologised two years ago for the sexual enslavement of thousands of Korean women during World War II. His incorrect and insensitive comment about Korea's history has enraged many of its people.
  • Pence awkwardly avoids North Korean delegation at Olympics

    Pence awkwardly avoids North Korean delegation at Olympics

    If it does take place, the meeting would be the first time the heads of state from North and South Korea have met for a decade. The meeting and luncheon, not disclosed to the media, lasted for about three hours at the presidential complex.
    Isaiah Thomas to come off bench vs. Mavericks in Lakers debut

    Isaiah Thomas to come off bench vs. Mavericks in Lakers debut

    Ingram started his fifth straight game at the position and scored 22 points while knocking down four of five 3-pointers. The Lakers like to switch defensively quite often, and that left Thomas in some really bad situations defensively.
    Mourinho Warns Real Madrid: De Gea Is Not For Sale

    Mourinho Warns Real Madrid: De Gea Is Not For Sale

    De Gea has developed into one of the world's top goalkeepers after initially struggling at United following an £18.9million move from Atletico Madrid in 2011.
  • Omarosa Compares Big Brother Co-Stars to White House

    Omarosa Compares Big Brother Co-Stars to White House

    Asked by Matthews if the nation should be anxious , she nodded yes, adding tearfully, "It's not going to be OK. Omarosa helped with Trump's presidential campaign and he made her one of his aides after being elected.
    IndiGo grounds three A320 neo planes on engine woes

    IndiGo grounds three A320 neo planes on engine woes

    Airlines with A320neos that have the affected engines will have to ground some of their planes, the Journal said. This is the second time that IndiGo has been forced to ground planes because of P&W engine problems.
    Why Tyga wants a DNA test done on Kylie's first born baby

    Why Tyga wants a DNA test done on Kylie's first born baby

    KoKo's sisters, Kylie Jenner and Kim Kardashian recently became mothers as well. "A source said: "[Kylie is] still over the moon. She didn't admit to it at all and instead, she just stayed in hiding and even avoided doing the family Christmas pictures.
  • Time, TV schedule, and how to watch Sunday's figure skating online

    Time, TV schedule, and how to watch Sunday's figure skating online

    After two of three days in the figure skating team event, the US sits in third at the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018. That's why she wears headphones, so she can listen to '80s classic rock, like AC/DC and Boston, that pumps her up.
    NY Attorney General sues Harvey Weinstein, his company

    NY Attorney General sues Harvey Weinstein, his company

    But when she arrived Weinstein allegedly appeared naked under a bathrobe and asked the employee for a massage. Telephone and email messages seeking comment from Weinstein were not immediately returned.

    South Korea's President Moon invited by N. Korea to visit Pyongyang

    Two South Korean presidents, both of them progressives, have gone to Pyongyang for summits before, both with Kim Jong Un's father. The Games has seen better ties between the two Koreas despite tensions over the North's nuclear programme.

We are pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news.
Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper.
Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.