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TAWASOL,(Saudi Arabia), AL-ARABIYA (UAE), AL MOHEET (Egypt)

Worldcrunch

RIYADH - A Saudi cleric says babies and young girls should be covered from head to toe as a way of protecting them from sexual abuse.

Sheikh Abdullah Mohamed Daoud made his statement on the al-Madj satellite station in October last year, but the video was only recently picked up by social media, reopening the debate in Saudi Arabia about the religious obligation for Muslim women to cover their heads or faces, reports Al Moheet.

Daoud justified his position by saying that hospitals report hundreds of cases of children who have been sexually molested and that the veil would protect children from such crimes.

Sheikh Mohammad al-Jzlana, a former Saudi judge and Islamic cleric told Al-Arabiya that such a fatwa could only come from a pervert. He added that people like Abdullah Daoud were denigrating to Islam and Shariah and made Muslims look bad. He also said that he felt sad he saw families walking around with a veiled baby, describing that as injustice to children.

Jzlana also urged people to ignore unregulated fatwas and explained that only Saudi authorities could rightfully administer religious edicts and appoint those who were entitled to issue them.

The Al Tawasol website, which is accredited by the Saudi Ministry of Culture and Communication, called Daoud this week to discuss the issue. The cleric defended himself by saying the buzz around the al-Madj video was an attack by liberals aiming to destroy his respectable image.

During his interview with Al Tawasol, he added that 26% of children between six and 10 in Saudi Arabia were victims of child abuse, and called for what he described as a “necessary prevention.”

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