Police in Saudi Arabia have been working tirelessly this week to track down a criminal who had broken the law. A murderer, perhaps? A thief? No, it was a young woman who posted a video of herself walking alone outside in a short skirt.
The woman, thought to be a model called Khulood, was a prime target for religious authorities in the country after she posted a clip of herself on Snapchat at the fort of Ushayqir, a historic landmark in the conservative province of Najd.
According to state TV, police in the country’s capital, Riyadh, had arrested the woman for wearing “immodest clothes”.
The whole debacle has sparked serious debate around the world via social media this week. Some herald the model as a feminist heroine and have praised her bravery, while a minority of others have called for her prosecution.
For those who aren’t already aware, Saudi Arabia has a strict dress code for women, which dictates that they must only wear full-length “abayas” robes in public with an accompanying headscarf or face criminal action.
— UN Watch (@UNWatch) July 18, 2017
Many have commented that during US President Donald Trump’s visit to the county, Melania Trump defied the dress code in a dress and uncovered head. She also praised the Saudis for empowering women, but that’s a whole other mind blowing story of mindlessness.
“If she was a foreigner, they would sing about the beauty of her waist and the enchantment of her eyes… But because she is Saudi they are calling for her arrest,” one user commented.
Some of you may remember the similar story of Malak al-Shehri, a Saudi fashion blogger who posted an Instagram photograph of herself without a headscarf and with a long skirt on Instagram last year. She was arrested in December after calls for her execution. It is thought she faced a violent punishment – a public lashing – for her apparent crime.
It is as yet unclear what kind of punishment Khulood faces, but human rights groups, such as UN Watch, have already raised public concerns over her safety.