Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah has removed a top cleric who criticized gender mixing of students at a new university.
The king issued a royal order Sunday relieving Sheikh Saad al-Shithri of his position on a top council of religious scholars.
The royal order gave no reason for the action, but the decision came after Shithri publicly criticized gender mixing at the new King Abdullah University of Science and Technology.
The university, located on the Red Sea north of Jeddah, is part of King Abdullah's plan to equip Saudi Arabia to conduct advanced scientific research.
Saudi Arabia is governed by Wahabism, a strict interpretation of Islam that, among other prohibitions, makes it illegal for a woman to be in the company of men outside her immediate family.
Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.