A video of a Saudi woman, known only as “Khulood the model”, went viral on social media yesterday. The video depicts a Saudi woman walking through an empty street in the historical town of Ushayqir, said to be the birthplace of Wahhabism, wearing a crop top and miniskirt, in violation of Saudi Arabia’s strict laws on what women, particularly Saudi women, are supposed to wear in public.
After the video caused outrage on social media, the spokesperson for the Presidency of the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice (Saudi Arabia’s moral police) said they were monitoring the issue and taking the necessary steps. Under new directives issued in 2016, the moral police in Saudi Arabia can no longer detain people they accuse of violating the country’s code of moral conduct, but must instead report these instances to the police. Saudi police have detained the woman in the video and questioned her. She says that “the viral videos were published by an account attributed to her without her knowledge”.
Of course, events like these always make you think of a State and its police forces’ priorities. This week in India, we’ve been seeing lots of reports highlighting the absurdity of the speed and alacrity with which the Mumbai police took it upon itself to file a case of defamation against All India Bakchod for posting a meme on Narendra Modi, while a woman named Aftab Siddique has ben struggling for over 16 months to have a similar defamation case filed with the Mumbai police on people harassing her with defamatory comments on Twitter.