RIYADH, Saudi Arabia – Saudi Arabia's top cleric has warned against the mixing of the genders, saying that any attempt to violate a strict separation threatens female chastity and endangers society.
Grand Mufti Sheik Abdul-Aziz Al-Sheik said in his traditional Friday sermon that authorities must adhere to Shariah, or Islamic law, by ensuring men and women are separated as much as possible.
Al-Sheik said it is forbidden for women to unveil in front of men, warning that this will destroy the morals and values of society. The veil refers to the full face covering worn by most women in the ultraconservative kingdom.
Religious leaders in Saudi Arabia have spoken out against reforms introduced by King Abdullah, including allowing women to join the country's main advisory body and work in female apparel stores.