Saudi women need not wear abaya robes: Senior cleric

Sheikh Abdullah Al-Mutlaq

Riyadh -- Saudi women should not have to wear the loose-fitting abaya robe, a senior cleric said.

"More than 90 percent of pious Muslim women in the Muslim world do not wear abayas," said Sheikh Abdullah Al-Mutlaq, a member of the Council of Senior Scholars, the Kingdom's highest religious body.

"So we should not force women to wear abayas," he told a radio program broadcast on Friday.

Sheikh Al-Mutlaq was answering a question by a Saudi woman on the ruling for wearing "the abaya. "