2 Oct 2012

Women's images removed from Ikea catalogue

12:01 pm on 2 October 2012

Women are present in corresponding images in the firm's English-language catalogue.

The firm attributed the gaffe to the fact its Saudi operation is run by a franchisee.

It said excluding women from the Saudi Arabian version of the catalogue is in conflict with the company's values.

Islamic Sharia law is applied strictly in Saudi Arabia, where the ruling Al Saud family espouses a fundamentalist interpretation of Islam known as Wahhabism, the BBC reports.

Women live under various restrictions, including no right to drive, and must be covered whenever they are outside the home.

Saudi leader King Abdullah is seen as trying to cautiously introduce reforms, some aimed at loosening restrictions on women's right to vote.

Ikea operates three branches in Saudi Arabia.