Saudi Arabia or Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) is a conservative and predominantly Muslim country. The strictness and religious rigidness against women is quite evident. The nation had even imposed a ban on women which stopped them from driving in the country. However, in an attempt to change the image globally, the nation decided to lift this three-decade-old ban.
But a debacle over a Saudi TV reporter’s apparently ‘indecent’ dress has made it clear that the country has a long road ahead when it comes to woman equality and freedom.
Shireen Al-Rifaie is a reporter and presenter for Dubai based news outlet Al Aan TV. As women in Saudi rejoiced in their freedom to drive, Shireen was busy covering the ban lift news. The reporter was wearing a white abaya (a loose robe) while shooting for the video.
As seen in the video below, the wind blew the abaya aside and exposed her clothing underneath, a top and trousers. Have a look here:
#Saudi General Authority for Audiovisual Media investigates anchor Shereen Rifai “for violating regulations and instructions” by “wearing indecent clothing” during a report she present on ending the ban on women driving in #SaudiArabia according to Okaz newspaper pic.twitter.com/3PDvRwVe2q
— Zaid Benjamin (@zaidbenjamin) June 26, 2018
The Saudi TV reporter also covered her head with a loose white scarf which left her hairline and hair exposed. Check out the pictures below:
According to Muslim laws, it is mandatory for women to wear an abaya and cover their heads. Many propagators of female decency found Shireen’s clothes to be inappropriate and labeled her ‘naked’. The video also gave arch-conservatives an opportunity to criticise women on social media. They started a hashtag ‘naked women driving in Riyadh’ which soon began trending.
Even the Kingdom’s General Commission of Audiovisual Media held Shireen responsible for violating the laws by dressing indecently. They then launched an inquiry into the matter.
As soon as the news of the inquiry reached Shireen, she fled her country. Shireen reportedly posted an image of a flight ticket on snap chat, revealing that she was planning to flee.
However, Shireen dismissed the basis of the inquiry and was reported by Saudi news website Ajel as saying this:
“I was wearing decent clothes, and God will reveal the truth of what has been said about me.”
Following this incident, many others started mocking Muslim conservatives for calling her ‘naked’ for no good reason. What are your views on this debate?