“Women Asked to Leave Seminar” by Raid Qusti for Arab News:
RIYADH, 22 November 2006 “” A presenter from King Saud University at an international medical seminar at the King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Center caused a stir yesterday when he insisted that all women “” including medical and media
professionals “” leave the room before he would enter the room to give his presentation.
Initially some women expressed consternation at the request, but later relented and left the room so the doctor and orthodox man could give his presentation about Islam and the ethics of organ donation and end-of-life issues.
Prior to the presentation by Dr. Yousef Al-Ahmed, the audience was informed that the doctor would not be in the same room with women when he spoke about medical ethics.
“We had to ask the female medical staff to leave the hall based on the sheikh’s request,” said a member of the organizing committee who preferred to remain anonymous.
“This is ridiculous,” said one woman, a medical professional and Muslim. “In the Grand Mosque in Makkah men and women pray together. Why are we being asked to leave? This guy knows a hospital is a mixed place. He should have realized that before he came,” she said. “I am being put in a very embarrassing situation.”
Actually, the Saudi clerics recently tried to restrict women there, too.
A Saudi woman who specializes in neuroscience said the doctor had no right to ask women to leave.
“We had every right to be there,” she said on condition of anonymity. “We were attending a scientific medical symposium. If he did not want to attend the symposium because it was mixed with men and women medical experts doing their job, that is his problem, not
After Al-Ahmed persisted on his request that women not pollute his presentation with their presence, event coordinators began urging women to leave so the event could continue. Two women reporters from Saudi Arabian Television Channel One and Saudi
satellite channel Al-Ekhabriya were also told to leave the hall.