Saudi Arabia's grand mufti has objected to women working in lingerie shops, despite the labour ministry's approval and rising complaints from female customers about male-only staff, papers said Wednesday.
"Women are entrusted to us, we should not involve them in matters far from their nature," mufti Abdul Aziz al-Sheikh said.
The mufti's disapproval came after the powerful religious police, the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, announced on Tuesday it does not oppose women sales personnel in lingerie stores as long as they worked in malls restricted to women and did not come in contact with men.
Saudi women have long complained that they feel uncomfortable having to buy lingerie from men and would prefer female sales assistants.
But the kingdom's ultra-conservative religious leaders have opposed allowing saleswomen in shops where men are allowed on the grounds that it would violate restrictions on contacts between opposite sexes not from the same family.