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Saudi Cleric Calls Mosque Segregation `Phobia of Women'

  • Adel Al-Kalbani is a former imam of Mecca’s grand mosque
  • Kingdom’s separation of men and women has relaxed recently
Muslim women pray outside Mecca’s Grand Mosque.
Muslim women pray outside Mecca’s Grand Mosque.Photographer: Mahmud Hams/AFP via Getty Images
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A prominent Saudi cleric is making the case for breaking down a major taboo in the kingdom, where social mores are evolving rapidly under 33-year-old Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman.

Gender segregation has reached the level of a “kind of phobia,” Adel Al-Kalbani said on a state-sponsored television channel this week, arguing that in the era of the Prophet Mohammad, men and women prayed together.