A well-known Saudi Islamic scholar triggered controversy when he sent gifts to 100 female TV hosts and actresses, departing from the long-standing general practice by scholars not to deal with unveiled women working in such mixed-gender fields.
Sheikh Mohammed Al Uraifi said on his Twitter page that he had sent a perfume bottle, a book and the holy Koran book to the 100 TV hosts, broadcasters, actresses and singers. “We have sent such gifts to 100 of them so far…we thank them for accepting these gifts,” said Sheikh Uraifi, one of the most outspoken scholars in the region.
His office said two of those who received the gifts were Al Arabiyya TV newsreader Suhair Al Qaisi and Jordan TV host Ula Faris.
“The Sheikh’s initiative has been received with applause and criticism by social network users…those who criticized the Sheikh Said he always lectures others not to deal with those women while he himself deals with them,” the Saudi Al Weaam daily said.
“On the other hand, those who applauded the Sheikh’s overture said he is trying to spread the message of Islam through wisdom and urged other scholars to follow suit.”
The Saudi Ajel newspaper quoted Al Qaisi as saying :”I would like to thank Sheikh Al Uraifi for his gift…I am very pleased to receive these items and I promise to read the book you sent me…may God preserve you.”
Al Qaisi slammed those who criticized Uraifi for sending the gifts by saying:”Even a man of virtue and religion has not been saved by your mouths.”