By TAREK ABBAS
Women and girls in Saudi Arabia are posing photos of their naked legs in solidarity with the model Khulood, who was arrested and released without charges after she appeared on a widely distributed Snap Chat video wearing a short skirt. Below is the original video that went viral around the world:
Khulood appeared in the video wearing a skirt that ends just above her knees and a short sleeved black shirt, and she is mostly filmed from behind but at one point turns to the camera, showing her face with large sunglasses. She was subsequently arrested.
Women began posting photos of their naked legs on Twitter in solidarity with Khulood, encouraged on social media by Saudi males as well, who tweeted questions about the reason that she arrested for.
“I thought she had bombed or killed somebody. The story turned out to be about her skirt” the writer Wael AlGassim wrote.
Saudi women still cannot legally drive their own cars or be seen in a company with a man whom they are not related to, according to the Kingdom’s Islamic laws. Recently, however, the Saudi government decided to district the authority of Islamic police in the Kingdom, and they no longer be able to arrest people. Protests over the driving law are now widespread.
In the Saudi Kingdom women still have to cover their hair in public, although the law is not enforced for foreigners, and female world leaders who have visited the area have shunned head scarves. They include former First Lady of the US, Michelle Obama, UK Prime Minister Theresa May, and Melania and Ivanka Trump.
Under “Shariah” law, women must also wear full clothing that covers their bodies, except for the face and hands. In some places they also must cover their faces with “Neqap” and wear gloves in the public places.
People upset by the Snapchat video asked the police to track “Khulood” and arrest her.
But the video had already gone viral, reaching most Arab countries where some women decided to protest by posting photos of their own naked legs, and asking the Saudi government to give more freedom to women.
Others rejected the naked legs photo campaign, considering it an attack on Islam from non-Saudi women. They say they are defending the rights of divorced and poor women instead of nakedness.
Either way, the conflict demonstrates that women’s hair, legs, and car driving are still an explosive issue in this part of the world and that Saudi Arabia exceeds every country, including Iran, in its repression of women.