Saudi women working at lingerie stores is a crime: Kingdom's mufti

Ahram Online, Saturday 31 Dec 2011

Going against a government directive, Saudi Arabia's grand mufti has declared it criminal for women to work in lingerie stores

Photo: Reuters

"Employing women in shops selling female accessories is a crime and disrespectful," Al-Hayat newspaper reported, citing Saudi Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdulaziz Al-Sheikh.

Al-Sheikh’s remarks came at a sermon yesterday at a mosque in Riyadh, the newspaper reported.

Saudi Arabia’s Labour Ministry issued a directive in July demanding that lingerie and cosmetics stores replace salesmen with women.

Saudi senior assistant at the Labour Ministry, Fahd Suleiman Altekhefi, stated that more than 28,000 Saudi women have applied for work in the women's accessories sector, which reached 7353 stores across the Saudi Kingdom, as part of a government plan to replace men with women in these stores, the Saudi newspaper Al-Ektsadya reported Saturday.

The Saudi Labour Ministry threatened that lingerie shops that have not replaced all their male staff within six months could be shut down.

In 2005, the Labour Ministry ordered that lingerie shops to hire Saudi saleswomen to replace foreign salesmen. However, the order was mainly ignored, until in July tougher guidelines and a deadline were set.

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