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Saudi women's abaya protest spirals in social media
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Saudi women's abaya protest spirals in social media

Saudi women's abaya protest spirals in social media
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A woman is seen wearing an abaya inside out, as she participates in a protest against wearing this long loose-fitting robe in public, in Saudi Arabia, November 15, 2018 in this picture obtained from social media November 17, 2018. Source: Reuters

 

Saudi women have launched a protest against their strict abaya dress code, and it’s gaining massive traction on social media.

More than 5000 tweets have been sent out so far, including image posts by women wearing the garment inside out with the hashtag #insideoutabaya as a protest against coercion to wear the abaya.

For decades, Muslim women in the Kingdom were required to wear abayas and a headscarf in public. However, in March, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman told CBS Television in an interview that women only needed to dress modestly and were not obligated to wear the abaya.

“The laws are very clear and stipulated in the laws of Shariah, that women wear decent, respectful clothing, like men.” But, he added, this “does not particularly specify a black abaya. [It] is entirely left for women to decide what type of decent and respectful attire to wear.”

The women posting pictures of inside-out abayas claim that nothing has changed and that they are still forced to wear abayas.

Amani Al-Ahmadi, a Saudi activist with the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor, called the protest a "brilliant move" that could create real change, Thomson Reuters reported.

"To see another woman in flipped abayas - it builds solidarity between women and shows that they are not alone. It is keeping the conversation going and could lead to change," Thomson Retuers quoted Amani as saying.

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