[QODLink]
Middle East
Saudi king sacks adviser over gender comments
Royal adviser fired after denouncing mingling of men and women in court, and judges seeking to "Westernise society".
Last Modified: 13 May 2012 04:46
King Abdullah granted women the right to vote and run in municipal elections in September 2011 [AFP]

Saudi King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud has sacked an adviser who was an outspoken critic of the sexes mingling outside the home, something banned in the conservative kingdom.

The state news agency SPA published the decree on Friday, announcing the dismissal of Sheikh Abdelmohsen al-Obeikan, an adviser to the royal cabinet, without providing further details.

The move comes several days after Obeikan, speaking on local radio, lashed out at the interaction of men and women in court, accusing the judges of seeking to "Westernise society".

"Women suffer from gender mingling and harassment in the courts," said the sheikh, a former judge, while demanding the segregation of the sexes in court.

"Some influential people have plans to corrupt Muslim society by seeking to change the natural status of women," he said, accusing judges he did not name of "wanting to replace justice based on [Islamic] law with secular laws".

His comments provoked an outcry in the Saudi press, with the daily Al-Jazeera newspaper asking in an editorial: "What is the point in having an adviser ... who behaves with such recklessness?"

The Saudi monarch in January sacked the head of the kingdom's powerful religious police, who enforce the application of the strict Saudi version of Islam, replacing him with a more moderate cleric.

The religious police prevent women from driving, monitor their clothing and enforce gender segregation in public.

Source:
Agencies
Topics in this article
People
Country
Featured on Al Jazeera
Your chance to be an investigative journalist in Al Jazeeraís new interactive game.
An innovative rehabilitation programme offers Danish fighters in Syria an escape route and help without prosecution.
Street tension between radical Muslims and Holland's hard right rises, as Islamic State anxiety grows.
Take an immersive look at the challenges facing the war-torn country as US troops begin their withdrawal.
Featured
Led by students concerned for their future with 'nothing to lose', it remains to be seen who will blink first.
Taipei has sided with Hong Kong's pro-democracy protesters as relations with Beijing continue downward spiral.
Some say they've 'lost everything' after a toxic spill in August, which was followed by leaks caused by heavy rain.
Many orphanages ignore government orders or operate under the radar, and there are only four inspectors nationwide.
Palestinian citizens of Israel are blocked from living in Jewish communities for lacking 'Zionist vision'.