A young Saudi woman has sparked controversy after she posted a video of herself wearing a miniskirt and crop top in public. While some have rushed to her defence, some Saudis are calling for her arrest.
Saudi websites on Monday reported that officials in the Kingdom are looking into taking action against the woman because she violated the rules of dress. In Saudi Arabia, women are supposed to wear abayas in public with their hair and face covered. Exceptions are made for visiting dignitaries.
The video was first shared on social media app Snapchat which showed the woman walking around a historic fort in Ushaiager, a village in Riyadh. Many of the Kingdom’s most conservative tribes and families come from Ushaiager.
Soon, competing Twitter hashtags emerged. One user demanded the woman’s arrest and the other said freedom of dress should not be a crime.
A Saudi writer, Ibrahim al-Munayif wrote that people disobeying the Kingdom’s law will lead to chaos. “Just like we call on people to respect the laws of countries they travel to, people must also respect the laws of this country,” he wrote.
Others defended her by posting images of visiting dignitaries, including those of Melania and Ivanka Trump. While both were modestly dressed, they forewent the head covering and abaya.
The Saudi Okaz news website reported that officials in the village had called on the region’s governer and police to take actions against the young woman. News website Sabq reported that the Kingdom’s morality police was corresponding with other agencies to investigate the incident after the video was brought to their attention.
More than half of the country’s population is under 25-years old and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has called for opening for entertainment to appease the youth. However, strict gender segregation rules and restrictions on women’s movement still remain in place.