Dubai: A young Saudi woman’s video post sparked a sensation online over the weekend that shows herself in a miniskirt and crop top walking around in public, with some Saudis calling for her arrest and others rushing to her defence.
State-linked news websites reported on Monday that officials in the country are looking into taking possible action against the woman, who violated the kingdom’s rules of dress. Women in Saudi Arabia must wear abayas in public. Most also cover their hair and face with a black veil, though exceptions are made for visiting dignitaries.
The video, first shared on Snapchat, shows her walking around an empty historic fort in Ushaiager, a village north of the capital, Riyadh, in the desert region of Najd, where many of Saudi Arabia’s most conservative tribes and families are from.
Competing Twitter hashtags emerged, with one demanding the woman’s arrest and another asserting that freedom of dress should not be a crime.
Ebrahim Al Munayif, a Saudi writer with more than 41,000 followers on Twitter, wrote on his official account 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.
Others defended her by posting images from President Donald Trump’s visit to Saudi Arabia in May, in which First Lady Melania Trump and his daughter Ivanka, though modestly dressed in higher necklines and longer sleeves, shunned wearing a head cover or the abaya.
Ivanka Trump’s blonde tresses and attire sparked a Twitter hashtag during the president’s visit, with Saudi males commenting on her looks and referring to the president as Abu Ivanka, meaning Ivanka’s father.
One Twitter user, whose post was shared more than 1,700 times, superimposed an image of Ivanka’s face on the young Saudi woman’s body, writing: “Enough already, the situation has been solved.”