only by senior scholars: Saudi Ruler
In a move that can probably work as a model for the Muftis in India,
Saudi King Abdullah has issued a royal order saying only approved
scholars can issue religious edicts or decrees popularly known as
fatwas. "As part of
One of Saudi Arabia's largest supermarket chains has reversed a
decision to employ female cashiers, in a religious dispute which saw
the king issue a reprimand Thursday to a conservative scholar.
Facing pressure from strict religious groups, the Panda group, owned
mostly by Saudi Prince Walid bin Talal, said it would not continue
to employ the 11 women.
Yousef al Ahmed, a conservative scholar, used an appearance on a
satellite television station recently to call for a boycott of the
chain if it did not remove the women from their jobs.
A group on Facebook, the international social networking Website,
joined his cause and started a petition against the cashiers.
While Panda backtracked and the women left the tills, King Abdullah
issued a strong reprimand of Al-Ahmed. The monarch also demanded he
stop issuing religious decrees, or fatwas, without approval from the
official Saudi Institute for Religious Scholars.
Earlier this month, King Abdullah issued a decree that allows only
officially-appointed scholars to issue public fatwas, in the
kingdom's first such large-scale reform of the rulings.
The monarchy was also mulling the idea of setting up an official
television channel and radio station for accredited Muslim scholars
to issue fatwas.
Saudi's economy allows for women to work in only specific sectors,
including education, banking, and medicine. They face other
restrictions, such as not being allowed to drive motor vehicles.