Saudi crown prince: Saudi women should have choice whether to wear abaya robe

  • Women in Saudi Arabia need not wear headcover or the black abaya – the loose-fitting, full-length robes symbolic of Islamic piety – as long as their attire is “decent and respectful”, the kingdom’s reform-minded crown prince said.
  • The changes have been hailed as proof of a new progressive trend towards modernisation in the deeply conservative Muslim kingdom, although the gender-segregated nation continues to be criticized for its continued constraints on women.
  • “The laws are very clear and stipulated in the laws of sharia (Islamic law): that women wear decent, respectful clothing, like men,” Prince Mohammed said in an interview with CBS television aired late on Sunday.
  • A senior cleric said last month that women should dress modestly, but this did not necessitate wearing the abaya.
  • On March 8, a group of women in the Saudi city of Jeddah marked International Women’s Day by exercising one of their newly acquired freedoms: the right to go for a jog, paying no heed to bemused onlookers.

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