Relations among the Arab Gulf states are usually warm. They’ve even formed a Gulf Cooperative Council to make those relations formal. Yet a Saudi cleric seems bent on making enemies out of friends.
According to Saudi-owned Al Arabiya TV, a Saudi cleric, Sheikh Mohamed al-Shanar, issued a fatwa warning women from traveling to Dubai… it’s like Sodom on the Gulf, in the sheikh’s eye. Not just unaccompanied women should avoid the emirate, but all Saudi women.
Needless to say, this raised a few eyebrows and a whole lot of ire.
A Saudi cleric has sparked controversy when he issued a fatwa (religious edict) this week barring travel to Dubai because of the spread of “immoralities” there.
Sheikh Mohamed al-Shanar used his Twitter account to answer a question by a woman on whether a woman can visit Dubai without a male guardian.
“A woman asks me if it she may go to Dubai without a guardian. I answer her saying: going to Dubai is forbidden, whether she was accompanied by a guardian or not [because of the spread of immoralities], and sins increase if traveling without a guardian was not a necessity,” the cleric said on his Twitter account.
In Saudi Arabia, woman usually must be accompanied by a male guardian to be able to travel.
His fatwa prompted a wave of reaction from social media users and even from other religious scholars, with many criticizing him as “odd” and “offensive.”