Thursday, August 26, 2010

Saudi cleric slammed over fatwa on women cashiers

Saudi cleric slammed over fatwa on women cashiers - Yahoo! News

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia – A conservative Saudi cleric was told to stop giving unauthorized edicts after he called for a boycott of a supermarket chain that employs women as cashiers, the office of the kingdom's most senior religious leader said Thursday.

The move is the first public reprimand of a prominent cleric following a royal decree that limits the issuance of fatwas to the country's most senior group of clerics. Fatwas are religious edicts that provide guidance in matters of everyday life to pious Muslims.

Sheik Youssef al-Ahmed had urged people not to shop at Panda Supermarket because women there work in jobs that allow for the mingling of the sexes, which the cleric said was a violation of Islamic law.

Saudi media reported that al-Ahmed's fatwa forced the supermarket management to reassign 11 of its women employees to other positions on Wednesday. The chain could not be reached for comment.

Grand Mufti Sheik Abdul-Aziz Al Sheik's office said Thursday he had summoned al-Ahmed and ordered the cleric to refrain from issuing unauthorized fatwas.

The office said it "received a pledge from al-Ahmed not to issue any fatwas" without approval.

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