Dismissed for suggesting women and men should be allowed to mix
The members of the Haia office learned about the change only when the new chairman came to the office as the new chief, according to reliable sources.
Al-Ghamdi said he received the dismissal order by telephone from an official of the Haia head office in Riyadh.
He said he did not know why he was harassed by dismissal orders and reports of suspension and arrest over the past year.
Al-Ghamdi triggered a public outcry in the conservative Saudi society when he wrote a research paper on the hotly debated issue of gender mixing. He said that it is not against Islam for men and women to mix.Following the publication of his views last year an angry mob assembled in front of his house and quarreled with him. It was also rumored that Al-Ghamdi was arrested.
He also claimed that congregational prayer was not obligatory. According to him, it is only obligatory to perform the Friday prayer collectively. For the other five daily prayers, each Muslim can do them individually at home. “Whoever makes such a call (against congregational prayer) will actually be leading people to hell,” Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdul Aziz Al-Asheikh warned in a Friday sermon in Riyadh, according to a report in April 2010 in Al-Madinah newspaper.
However, Al-Ghamdi told Arab News that he had reached his conclusions after deep and considered research. Al-Ghamdi complained earlier that he was excluded from many Haia functions, saying it was wrong to gag others.
“This is not a good thing to do, especially between colleagues. Dialogue and freedom of expression is a global method which should be respected,” he said at the time. “It is not right to exclude people just because they do not have the same opinion as you. Differences should be settled by discussion and logical debate.”