Saudi women should not have to wear the abaya, a long loose-fitting robe used to cover their bodies in public, a top religious cleric has said. Sheikh Abdullah al-Mutlaq, a member of the Council of Senior Scholars, said women should dress modestly, but this did not have to mean wearing the abaya.
This has generated intense reaction online with one Twitter user saying “The abaya is a matter of tradition in one of our regions and has become applicable to all. It is not an issue of religion,” wrote Mashari Ghamdi.
The abaya is a matter of tradition in one of our regions and has become applicable to all. It is not an issue of religion
Women who do not wear the abaya in places where they may be seen by men who are not related to them face being chastised by the religious police. Sheikh Mutlaq’s intervention follows earlier moves to modernise Saudi society, part of a social reform plan spearheaded by Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who has pledged to transform the country with the government’s Vision 2030 programme.
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Source Credit: BBC News