Riyadh: An unusual act by well-known Saudi Islamic scholar and professor at King Saud University triggered controversy when he sent gifts to 100 female TV hosts and actresses which was against the general practice by scholars not to deal with unveiled women working in such mixed-gender fields.
According to Emirates 24/7, scholar Sheikh Mohammed Al Arifi tweeted that he had sent a perfume bottle, a book and the holy Quran 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 Arifi, one of the most outspoken scholars in the region.
Mixed reactions emerged in the Kingdom. 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 one of the TV host as saying :”I would like to thank Sheikh Al Arifi 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.”
She slammed those who criticized Arifi for sending the gifts by saying:”Even a man of virtue and religion has not been saved by your mouths.”
Al-Arifi is known for his controversial statements and has a large following on Twitter and YouTube.