Muslim leaders condemned a recent string of attacks on young women in the Syrian capital Damascus, in which extremists throw acid on the lower part of girls' bodies if they disapprove of their clothing.
Syria News Network recently ran a report on the phenomenon, saying that extremists were throwing acid on "sensitive areas of women's bodies" if they did not follow the proper Islamic dress code.
Almost all the victims were wearing jeans and had acid thrown at them from a syringe, it said.
One of the victims, Reem, a civil engineering student at the University of Damascus, told AlArabiya.net that she was attacked as she left school, adding that a stranger spilled something on her pants.
"I thought it might be hot coffee, but it didn't cool down. When I examined it, I found out it was acid…By the time I reached home, my pants had totally dissolved."
Prominent Syrian scholar Sheikh Salah Kaftarou condemned the practice.
"Wearing the veil, as well as any religious practice, cannot be forced. Even if a girl does not abide by the Islamic dress code, we cannot hurt her.
"This is against religion and humanity and Arab civilization. These extremist ideas are imported from outside, and they infiltrate the minds of our youth."
Islamic preacher and mosque imam Sheikh Ahmed Ramadan called for the formation of a Committee for the Propagation of Virtue and Prevention of Vice to prevent abuses.
"Reform cannot be done by harming women," Sheikh Ramadan said. "The Committee will regulate that and will be supervised by the government."
(Translated from Arabic by Sonia Farid).