The Schmooze

Saudi Arabia Puts the Breaks on Fatwas

Remember that advice your mother used to give you? That’s right, don’t open your mouth unless you’ve got something nice to say.

These days, it looks like Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah is taking a maternal role when it comes to some of the country’s more virulent Islamic clerics. In order to curb what are seen as misguided fatwas, the Los Angeles Times reports, a royal decree issued last week says that religious edicts can only be announced by “Saudi clergy approved by King Abdullah.”

In the eyes of royal authority, some fatwas issued by Saudi clerics — on the fringe and in the mainstream — threaten to undermine the country’s social and religious order. In one edict, Sheikh Abdel Mohsen Obeikan, a royal adviser, said that for unrelated men and women to socialize in public, the man must drink the woman’s breast milk so as to “establish a maternal bond.”

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Saudi Arabia Puts the Breaks on Fatwas

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