Saying it would prevent sexual exploitation of baby girls in Saudi Arabia, a cleric there has proposed completely covering them in a long robe-like garment commonly known as a burka, which includes a face veil.
In statements just being picked up by social media sites, Sheikh Abdullah Daoud last summer explained to Islamic al-Majd TV how female babies should be covered to protect them from predatory men, according to Al Arabiya News
. He had cited reports of young girls being molested in the kingdom.
The report is now triggering wide condemnation from fellow Saudis and other Muslims from around the world.
Commenting on the criticism of Daoud's proposal, Sheikh Mohammad al-Jzlana, a former judge at the Saudi Board of Grievances, told Al Arabiya the edict was detrimental and denigrated Islam and Shariah Law.
Jzlana instructed Muslims to ignore such unregulated "fatwas," adding that he felt sad when he came across a veiled baby, describing it as an injustice to children.
The discovery of Daoud's comments comes at the same time a shocking instance of child abuse in Saudi Arabia has received international attention, largely due to the light sentence the perpetrator received for his crime.
On Feb. 2, after serving a little over a year in prison, a Saudi cleric was released and ordered to pay blood money to the mother of his five year-old daughter who he was convicted of raping, torturing, and eventually killing, Gulf News
Much like commenters on social media websites, Al Arabiya readers expressed outrage over Daoud's proposal.
"Unbelievable, I think all cleric's should wear burkas. Child abuse happens all over the world but this is not the solution," said one user.
"If Sheikh Mohammad Al-Jzlana believes Dauod’s ruling is denigrating to Islam and Shariah and makes Islam look bad, I wonder how he feels about the denial of basic civil rights to woman," another reader wrote. "If walking around with a veiled baby is an injustice to the child, what about adult woman required to walk around in burkas. What hypocrisy!"
In Saudi Arabia, which governs under Sharia Law – Islam's strict moral code and religious law – all grown women are already required to wear a burka.
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