Police in the conservative kingdom of Saudi Arabia arrested a model Khulood who posted pictures on social media dressed in a mini skirt and crop top, deemed offensive and against the country’s strict dress code for women. The woman, identified by the first name only as Khulood, had posted a short video on Snapchat that went viral soon as folks supporting her right to dress as she pleases shared it, as did people who were offended by the display of skin. The attention led to an investigation by authorities, with the Saudi police turning her over to the public prosecutor’s office in Riyadh.
The state-run Alekhbriya TV reported the development on its Twitter page, adding a hashtag that roughly translates as “We demand a trial for the model Khulood.” In the short video, filmed mostly with her back to the camera, Khulood is seen walking through the ruins of an old fort in Ushaiager, a town in Najd Province. The Naid Province is the birthplace of the hardline Wahabi movement. The Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice has also stated on its Twitter feed that it was opening an investigation after “intercepting” the clip of the woman objectionable clothing. Saudi laws impose a strict dress code on women that does requires them to cover everything except the feet, hands and face. They are also not allowed to drive, and can not be seen in public with men they are not related to, meaning that they have to have a male chaperone with them at all times in public places.
The clip has sparked extensive debate online in a country that is tightly controlled by a retrograde monarchy and the moral police enforcing the Sharia laws, with many citizens calling the woman brave for exposing the humiliating restrictions that women in the country have to face, and the often hypocritical view that the Saudi civil society takes on such matters. The woman herself, however, has reportedly told police that she was with a legal male chaperone in the video and it was put online without her knowledge.
— فاطمة العيسى (@ALessiFatima) July 16, 2017