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Saudi Arabia: Royal Decree Limits Authority to Issue Fatwas

(Aug. 25, 2010) In August 2010, King Abdu Al Aziz bin Saud issued a Royal Decree limiting the authority to issue fatwas (religious opinions concerning Islamic law) to Muslim scholars who are members of the Grant Scholars Association. The purpose of this decree is to prevent confusion generated by the issuance of fatwas by different religious scholars in Saudi Arabia.

In compliance with the aforementioned decree, the Saudi religious radio station suspended two famous religious scholars who used to provide religious consultation to many Muslims from Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries through a live radio program. One of these two scholars was well known for his unique religious views, including his fatwa on rules governing the relationship between Muslim males and females in the workplace. (Saudi Suspends a Scholar from Issuing Fatwas in Live Programs, [in Arabic] AL EMARAT AL YOUM (Aug. 18, 2010),