Saudi female appeared wearing skirt is under investigation
A woman who appeared in videos touring one of Saudi Arabia’s heritage sites dressed in a skirt and crop top is being investigated by the kingdom’s religious police.
The woman, who is identified as Khulood, appeared in a series of clips on Snapchat over the weekend at the deserted Ushaqir heritage village in the religiously conservative province of Najd, about 100 miles (160km) north of the capital, Riyadh.
In a statement marked urgent on Tuesday, the general directorate of public security said the woman had been questioned by police while investigations continue. It said it had been monitoring the videos under laws aimed at tackling “information crimes”.
To westerners, her outfit is that of a typical summer tourist – sunglasses, a short skirt, short T-shirt and her head uncovered. But it breaches Saudi Arabia’s strict dress code requiring women to wear headscarves and abayas (full-length robes) in public. Most also cover their face with a black veil, though exceptions are made for visiting dignitaries.
The videos, filmed in a region home to many of Saudi Arabia’s most conservative tribes and families, appeared to be a deliberate protest against clothing rules and has prompted calls for the woman to be prosecuted. But according to Saudi news agencies the woman has told the authorities that the videos were posted without her knowledge.
Versions of the videos went viral on YouTube, Facebook and Twitter amid a furious debate about dress and the treatment of women in Saudi Arabia.
The woman apparently told police that she had been accompanied by a male relative – or muharam – at all times during her visit, in accordance with Saudi’s male guardianship system. She confirmed she had appeared in the videos, but insisted she did not post the clips herself.
Saudi Arabia’s religious police, the Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice, said they were also investigating.
Their official Twitter feed said they were aware of the video and in contact with the relevant authorities.
(Source: The Guardian)
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