A Saudi cleric, Sayeed Bin Farwa, has said in a Friday sermon that men who let their female relatives work, study medicine and pharmacology are “cuckolds”. He made the provocative statement whilst criticizing situations of gender mixing in universities.
The comments have sparked considerable anger in Saudi Arabia, and elsewhere in the Muslim world, after a video was shared widely on social media.
Hashtag “Sayeed Bin Farwa is degrading society” has been trending on Twitter.
#سعيد_بن_فروه_يقذف_المجتمع—بنت الوطن(@eoa7777) November 30, 2016
مهنة الطب مهنة شريفه من يمارسها على قدر كبير من الوعي الديني والاخلاقي وهناك امثله كثيره مشرفه
رضيت او انرضيت
The medical profession is an honest profession practiced with a great deal of religious and moral awareness and there are many examples of this. Do you consent or not?
#سعيد_بن_فروه_يقذف_المجتمع— Dr. Ali Alarabi (@aliarabi2) November 29, 2016
لي في الطب ٣٥ سنه عملت مع طبيبات من خيرة النساء أدبا وعلما والحمد لله بنتي طبيبة واقول له التعميم لغة الجهلاء
I have been in medicine for 35 years and worked with the most respectable female doctors and scholars, and, thank you God, my daughter is a doctor. I say to him that generalization is the language of the ignorant.
Criticism of the speech extended beyond Saudi Arabia, with one Iraqi-American journalist sharing the video on his Facebook page:
Tag students. We went to universities in America and it wasn't like that. The female students were mostly respectable people. People are in the middle of exams, studies and crises of feeling and tension, and all this guy is talking about gender mixing.
Not everyone has been critical, however:
%90 من المغردين يقذف سعيد بن فروه وهو ماسمع الخطبه— عبدالعزيز بن عبدالله (@a_aA15) November 30, 2016
وكلامه واقعي عن الاختلاط كيف ترضى محارمك تجلس مع الرجال ؟
90% of the commentators have been criticizing Sayeed Bin Farwa without listening to his sermon, and his words about gender mixing are true: how can you allow your women folk to sit with men?
Women face many restrictions on their everyday lives in Saudi Arabia because of the guardianship system which requires them to seek permission from a male relative for the most ordinary activities. Since the summer, a powerful social media campaign has called for the end to this. Saudi society remains, however, highly conservative and tightly in the grip of the religious authorities.
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