The Washington Times - June 12, 2009, 12:46PM

DOHA, Qatar — Aisha Almannai, Dean of College of Sharia at Qatar University, holds a controversial position as the first female head of sharia studies in the Gulf region. She said there was an outcry when her position was announced. But after hearing from her yesterday, I would say her views are quite in line with what I know of traditional Muslim culture.

I am no expert in Islam, but I have studied the Koran, read various pieces and talked with numerous Sunnis, Shiites and Ahmadiyyas about their faith. From a two-hour lecture and conservation with her, it is clear she is devoutly Muslim and believes strongly in gender roles within Islamic Qatar.

She condemned a female imam in New York City who led a mixed-gender group to prayer, saying such an act defied the proper role women play in the faith, a role that is unexplainable because it is a decree from God. She said a woman is allowed to work outside the home, but it is traditionally her place to stay put and allow a man to attend to her needs.