SAUDI ARABIA: King's co-ed university slammed

A prominent Muslim cleric has criticised a new Saudi university launched by King Abdullah for allowing men and women to take classes together, reports Associated Press. Sheik Saad Bin Naser al-Shethri, a member of the powerful government-sanctioned Supreme Committee of (Islamic) Scholars, was quoted last week in the Al-Watan daily as demanding an end to co-ed classes at the newly opened King Abdullah Science and Technology University.

"Mixing is a great sin and a great evil," al-Shethri was quoted as saying. "When men mix with women, their hearts burn and they will be diverted from their main goal (which is) ... education." His comments indicate there may be significant opposition to the country's first fully integrated co-ed university among the kingdom's powerful religious establishment.

The multi-billion dollar postgraduate institution, which officially opened its doors to students the week before last, has been touted by King Abdullah as a "beacon of tolerance". The school boasts state-of-the-art labs, the world's 14th fastest supercomputer and one of the biggest endowments in the world.
Full report on the Associated Press site