06 May 2018

Saudi Arabia 'will not end gender segregation' in public spaces

Saudi authorities have backtracked on plans to end gender segregation in public places and mandatory prayer-time closures for businesses as a part of a sweeping modernisation drive.

Saudi Arabia on Thursday launched a project, dubbed "Quality of Life Program 2020," designed to turn the deeply conservative kingdom into an entertainment hub.

A document handed out to journalists that outlined the programme called for lobbying to legalise gender mixing and allow shops to open during prayers.

The items were removed from versions posted online later.

Pro-government Sabq news website on Saturday denied that authorities had ever called for the divisive reforms, citing "informed sources". [The New Arab] Read more