A Saudi cleric has sparked outrage by declaring that baby girls must wear the burqa. Sheikh Abdullah Daoud, who said all female newborns should wear the veil, insisted the burqaswould help to protect the infants against the threat of sexual attacks.
His comments, made in an interview with an Islamic television station that has surfaced online, have been widely condemned as ‘disturbing’ and harmful to the religion.
Sheikh Daoud cited instances of babies being sexually molested in Saudi Arabia, and quoted unnamed medical and security sources.
After the footage suddenly spread across the Internet this week, commentators called for the cleric to be held accountable for his unregulated fatwa, which they said was damaging to Islam.
Islamic law holds that women should wear the veil after they reach puberty. Sheikh Mohammed al-Jzlana, a former judge at the Saudi board of grievances, told the news channel that Sheikh Daoud’s remarks had made the faith look bad.
He urged people to ignore unofficial religious edicts, which he said were administered under special regulations set by Saudi authorities, which also appoints those entitled to issue them.
The former judge said covering baby girls with burqas was ‘an injustice’ to children.