Saudi cleric: Even young girls should be covered

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RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) — A Saudi cleric says even girls who have not yet reached puberty should be covered from head to toe, citing instances of child molestation in the ultraconservative kingdom and elsewhere.

Sheik Abdullah Daoud made the remarks on the satellite channel al-Majd. He says many viewers watching the program had probably come across instances of sexual harassment as children.

He is not affiliated with the government nor considered a senior sheik.

Judge Mohammed al-Jazlani, a senior sheik, said Monday that such talk denigrates Islam and may push non-Muslims to view Islam negatively. He urged Saudis to ignore unofficial fatwas, or edicts.

Separately, a spokesman for Saudi Arabia's religious police said online that the force can oblige a woman to cover her face "if her eyes are seditious." He did not elaborate.

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