- Associated Press - Monday, January 2, 2012

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia — Saudi Arabia says starting Thursday, only females can work in women’s lingerie stores.

The 2006 law banning men from working in female apparel and cosmetic stores has never been put into effect, partly due to hard-liners in the religious establishment who oppose the whole idea of women working where men and women congregate together, like malls.

The Labor Ministry says that over 28,000 women have already applied for the sales jobs.

Saudi’s Arabia’s most senior cleric, Sheik Abdul-Aziz Al Sheikh, spoke out against the decision in a recent sermon, saying it contradicts Islamic law.

He argued that wrongdoing may occur when a woman stands face to face with a man and sells without embarrassment.

The country follows an ultraconservative interpretation of Islam called Wahhabism.

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