Malak Al-Shehri, a Saudi national in her 20s, defied Saudi dress code causing a huge backlash that ultimately left her arrested. Many are calling for her to be executed, but her supporters are comparing her to Rosa Parks.
Saudi Arabia has always imposed a strict dress code on women in public. Malak tweeted a picture of herself outdoors without the body-length robes and head scarf that are the required clothes.
A Saudi woman went out yesterday without an Abaya or a hijab in Riyadh Saudi Arabia and many Saudis are now demanding her execution. pic.twitter.com/gPMOz5bRAr
— Anon (@dontcarebut) November 29, 2016
Last month when the tweet surfaced of her announcing that she would leave her house without her abaya (a long loose-fitting robe) and headscarf, it prompted many to call for her execution. They said, “We demand the arrest of the rebel Angel Shehri” – that was her moniker online. One posted, “Kill her and throw her corpse to the dogs”. Another user wrote “we propose blood”, while another demanded a “harsh punishment for the heinous situation”.
The picture in the above tweet was taking on the street of al-Tahliya, in downtown Riyadh, and it led to someone filing a complaint with the religious police, and eventually led to Malak’s arrest, according to the local Arabic-language Al-Sharq newspaper.
“Police officers have detained a girl who had removed her abaya on al-Tahliya street, implementing a challenge she announced on social media several days ago,” the newspaper quoted Colonel Fawaz al-Maiman as saying.
He went on to say in a statement that the police had acted inline with their duty to monitor “violations of general morals”.
Malak has since taken down the tweet after it caused such a huge backlash from ultra-conservative critics online. She also deleted her Twitter account. However, there are some who support her:
— فرح العقاد • (@FarahAqqad) November 29, 2016
A brave Saudi lady decided not to wear her Abaya or Hijab out & about. Many praised her, others (males) said she should be killed for it… https://t.co/Swq30GKCcS
— Mikey Kay (@MikeyKayNYC) November 29, 2016
In September thousands of Saudis have signed a petition that demands the government abolish the system that prevents women from carrying out fundamental tasks without the permission of a male relative: called the guardianship system.
Women are also banned from driving and mixing with men that they are not related to. Although Prince Alwaleed bin Talalhas called for the ban on driving to be lifted
حان وقت قيادة المرأة للسيارةhttps://t.co/BBgyF8i1Gs
Stop the debate:
Time for women to drivehttps://t.co/6KAniFa4BT
— الوليد بن طلال (@Alwaleed_Talal) November 29, 2016