|One could see how there might be a problem of getting to the cashier job!|
...as it was an extremely urgent matter and it would be unthinkable to have women involved in the decision making.
The ruling was signed by Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdul Aziz al-Sheikh, the head of the Senior Scholars Council, and six other members of the fatwa committee...
Meanwhile - in other news ~ Brazil elects first woman president.
The Council of Senior Scholars, the official fatwa issuing body, said that "it is not permissible for a woman to work in a place where they mix with men," the news website Sabq.org said.
"It is necessary to keep away from places where men congregate. Women should look for decent work that does not make it possible for them to attract men or be attracted by men," it said.
The fatwa was in response to a question – published with the ruling – asking specifically if women should work as cashiers in supermarkets, Sabq reported.
The ruling was signed by Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdul Aziz al-Sheikh, the head of the Senior Scholars Council, and six other members of the fatwa committee.
The fatwa came some four months after the labour ministry quietly authorised stores in the western city of Jeddah to employ women as cashiers, in an attempt to open up opportunities for women who are forcibly segregated from men under the strict Saudi version of Sunni Islam.
The first to test the policy was the Saudi-owned Panda chain, which started by putting 16 Saudi women to work at one store in the Red Sea city to test the concept.
At least two other popular chains, Marhaba supermarkets and Centrepoint, a general department store chain, also moved to employ women cashiers.
The decision comes after a conservative preacher was reprimanded in August for violating a government-mandated restriction on fatwas by calling for a boycott of supermarkets employing female cashiers. Saudi King Abdullah has been trying to clamp down on ultraconservative ideology as part of his bid to modernize the kingdom. But his efforts appear to be challenged by the influential religious scholars, who play a key role in the monarch's legitimacy. [TC]