Women in Saudi Arabia should not be forced to wear the abaya – a loose-fitting robe – when they are in public, a senior cleric from the country’s highest religious body said, according toAFP.

“More than 90% of pious Muslim women in the Muslim world do not wear abayas,” Sheikh Abdullah al-Mutlaq, a member of the council of senior scholars, said during a radio programme on Friday. “We should not force people to wear abayas.”

While Saudi Arabia requires women to wear the garment by law, this is the first time a senior cleric has made such a statement, the BBC reported. The government, however, has not yet said whether it is planning to change the law.

The cleric’s comments come at a time when Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has been introducing pro-women reforms. In January, the country allowed women to enter a football stadium for the first time to watch a game, and four months earlier, in September 2017, Saudi Arabia ended its ban on women driving.