Over the weekend, a young woman from Saudi Arabia posted a video of herself in a miniskirt and a crop top walking around in public. The video has caused a stir on social media, with many calling for her arrest and others defending her.
On Monday, websites connected to the Saudi state reported that officials in the country are looking into taking action against the woman, who violated the kingdom’s dress rules. Legally, women in Saudi Arabia are mandated to wear long, loose robes known as abayas in public. Most cover their hair and face with a black veil, although exceptions are made for visiting dignitaries, CBS News reported.
The video, first shared on Snapchat, showed the woman walking around an empty fort in Ushaiager, a village north of Saudi Arabia’s capital, Riyadh. The fort is in the desert region of Najd, where many of Saudi Arabia’s most conservative tribes and families are from.
Here is the video, posted on Twitter.
The video sparked debate on Twitter, with one hashtag calling for the woman’s arrest and another asserting that women’s fashion should not be a crime.
Ibrahim al-Munayif, a Saudi writer with a large following on Twitter, argued that allowing people to disobey the law leads 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.
Some Saudis defended the woman, however. Another hashtag revolved around President Donald Trump’s visit to Saudi Arabia in May. During the visit, Trump’s wife Melania and his daughter Ivanka dressed conservatively, but technically broke the Saudi laws.
Melania and Ivanka Trump wore high necklines and long sleeves, but refused to wear either a head covering or the abaya.
During Trump’s visit, pictures of Ivanka sparked a Twitter hashtag with Saudi men admiring her beauty and referring to the president as “Abu Ivanka.”
One Twitter user superimposed an image of Ivanka’s face on the young Saudi woman’s body, writing, “Enough already, the situation has been solved.” This message received more than 1,700 retweets. Many suggested that if the woman had been a foreigner, people would be talking about her beauty, but because she is Saudi, they demanded her arrest.
The Saudi Okaz website reported that Ushaiager officials called on the region’s governor and police to take actions against the woman. Sabq, another Saudi news website, reported that the kingdom’s morality police had corresponded with other agencies to investigate the matter.
Yes, this country has morality police — in 2017. Saudi Arabia is even more interesting, given that more than half of its population is under 25 years old. Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the 30-year-old heir to the throne, has pushed for greater openings for entertainment, but has not reformed the country’s strict gender segregation rules and other restrictions on women’s movement.
As PJ Media’s own Bruce Bawer noted, the Left’s pecking order seems to prioritize the concerns of Muslims over those of homosexuals, who face death sentences for acting on their sexual orientation. Indeed, the largest Roman Catholic university in America banned signs with the message “Gay Lives Matter,” which advertised an event focused on the threats gay people face in the Muslim world.
Will American feminists overlook the struggles of women who are not allowed freedom of dress, due to strict religious laws?
It is important to emphasize that, just as not all Muslims condone terrorism, not all Muslims support laws criminalizing homosexuality or enforcing strict dress codes. Champions of freedom like M. Zuhdi Jasser exist, but the best way to help them reform Islam is to acknowledge that Islamism in all its oppressive forms exists and should be combatted.
Terrorists do carry out attacks because of their belief in Islamism, Muslim countries do put homosexuals to death because of their faith, and countries like Saudi Arabia penalize women for what they wear.