Female students at a Saudi Arabia university faces expulsion if they were to wear clothes or have haircuts that would be considered masculine, or more suitable to men. File pix by Aziah Azmee.

RIYADH: A Saudi university has threatened its female students with immediate expulsion were they to wear clothes or have haircuts that would be considered masculine, or more suitable to men, the Okaz local newspaper reported today.

China's Xinhua news agency reported that the Imam Mohammed bin Saud Islamic University in Riyadh sent the warning on Monday, while the ruling will be enforced staring next month.

The university stressed that students in violation of the ruling will be expelled immediately, without prior warning.

The decision covers women with “very short haircuts”, as such styles are considered by conservative Muslims as “imitating men”.

Saudi Arabia observes strict gender segregation in all aspects of life, including education, and female students at different education levels study in separate buildings from males. They are also strictly taught by females, except at universities.

If the teacher is male, female students must sit behind partitions or be fully covered in Islamic dress.

In 2002, fifteen girls were killed in a fire at their school in Mecca when religious police stopped them from escaping the building because they were not wearing the correct Islamic dress. -- BERNAMA

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