Saudi, slamming Qatar for Extremism, arrests Model for wearing Skirt in Public

By Juan Cole | (Informed Comment) | – –

The intrepid Yaroslav Trofimov of WSJ said it all:

Saudi Arabia is leading a propaganda campaign falsely accusing Qatar of supporting extremism in the Middle East, but it just arrested a young model named Khulud for taking a walk at a historic site in Najd wearing a halter and a skirt. The Saudi government insists, despite temperatures of 111 F. in the shade, that women cover themselves up in black robes.

That big black robe accompanied by a complete face veil, called a niqab, is actively forbidden in modern urban societies such as Egypt.

One of the reasons even Middle Eastern governments are afraid of the niqab is that it obscures identity. The state, as James Scott argued, wants its citizens to be transparent to it. Hence, the demand for a first and last name (that was imposed on Iran in the early 1930s by military dictator cum shah, Reza the Great). When somone is wearing a niqab you don’t know their real gender or age. Guerrillas in Algeria during its war of independence from France used to fool the police by dressing as women in niqab. You’d be surprised what you can hide in those robes.

Making women non-transparent, as Saudi Arabia routinely does, renders them second class citizens.

The extremists who kill women and children in acts of terrorism first strip them of any human identity, which is easier if they are in essence already buried under a niqab and its robes.

The extremists who traffic in and enslave women, who beat and abuse them, are in part inspired by a Saudi/Wahhabi vision of gender relations. Women are erased in public, which therefore means woman are second class citizens. They cannot move around without a male guardian.

Khulud maintains that she had a male guardian when she visited the antiquities. She also says that someone posted the video of her in a skirt (the shame!) on her snapchat account without her permission.

Some Saudis on social media are making fun that a pron site is the 19th most visited in the kingdom but people are freaking out that a Saudi man might catch a glimpse of a clothed woman.

But it isn’t funny, it is tragic, and points to a deep problem at the center of Saudi society. The Saudi officials who spread around Wahhabism or Salafism, the puritan form of Islam, are in danger of thereby also spreading around extremist ideas, in Europe and the Middle East. They seem not to realize that while Wahhabis inside Saudi Arabia are quietists, when the same ideas meet a dynamic Wsestern socity, it can turn youth to some brave endeavor.


Related video added by Juan Cole

Saudi woman’s miniskirt sparks outrage

15 Responses

  1. Saudi Arabia is one of the biggest hypocrites in the ME. It is unbelievable that the US is so cosy with it, while it is guilty of human rights abuses, that the US accuses other’s of. Whether it is oil, or Saudi money, the fact that the US continuously ignores the stoning to death for adultery, primitive laws, and women not allowed to drive, and not condemning their sword dancing friends, for these inhumane rigid laws. At least in Iran the women are allowed to drive and walk around unescorted.

  2. The US and the collective West have empowered Saudi Arabia since the beginning of the last century.

    This and other manifestations of Saudi Intolerance and Hypocrisy is merely the result.

    The Saudis and others like them can now do what they want with impunity because the US is so eager for their petro-dollars and basically has no influence over them, sword-dances or no sword-dances.

    This is not peculiar to the Trump administration.

    America is bending over backwards (or is it forwards) to appease the Arabs. It’s too far gone now to turn back.

    • She was ONLY released after telling investigators that the social media video upload of her in a mini-skirt was done WITHOUT her knowledge.

  3. I keep wishing the U.S. would pull out of Saudi Arabia but they don’t seem to any where close to doing that. I also keep hearing Saudi Arabia is running out of oil. I assume once they are out of oil the U.S. will leave, maybe. So when is Saudi Arabia going to run out of oil? I can’t stand how evil and suppressing Saudi Arabia is and at the same time the U.S. wants to nuke Iran.

      • Oops. I thought the U.S. had many air bases inside Saudi Arabia. Still, I want to see the U.S. pull its support from that repressive country/kingdom that harshly mistreats woman.

        • Dear Derick,
          The US may no longer be flying F-15s with the stars and bars insignia out of bases in Saudia Arabia. But the US still has lots of assets inside of Saudi Arabia.
          The purpose of these assets is not to help the Saudi ruling criminals oppress their population though. The purpose of those assets is to make sure that those Saudi druling criminals continue to persue policies that support the objectives of the US MIC.
          Of course this does not get said publically because it can not be verified. But then when it comes to reporting what is true and not reporting what is not true consider this.
          In WW 2 the Germans got about one third of the iron ore that they used during the war from Sweden. Another large percentage came from Spain. Also consider that outside of uboats the Germans had no navy to speak of. In addition Franco the leader of Spain did not at all want to get involved in the 2nd world war. These two assertions are easily verifiable.
          Add all this up and it means that once the US got involved in the war the western allies could have defeated Germany so fast it would have made the Russians do summersaults.
          Why western leaders chose not to is a longer story.
          So if those important truths from the second world war can be buried any important truths can be buried to those who are not looking for them.
          When I combine this pattern of western institutions burying important information and the pattern of policies that the Saudi government pursues I come to the conclusion that the Saudi government has no more independence than a state in the United States. My conclusion is certianly not widely supported in the world’s institutions..
          Could it be possible that many people actually share my conclusion, but simply do not find it helpful to make their thoughts on the matter public?

  4. One thing western News Media never mentions that Saudi Arabia is one of the most safest country in the world. Almost crime FREE. Last 4 day weekend saw 101 shootings & 14 dead in Chicago. Saudi Arabia does not 14 murders in a year.

    Here is the Karen Hughes visit to Saudi Arabia in 2005 to teach equality to Saudi women.

    “Making women non-transparent, as Saudi Arabia routinely does, renders them second class citizens.” Juan Cole

    Saudi Women Have Message for U.S. Envoy
    By STEVEN R. WEISMAN SEPT. 28, 2005

    JIDDA, Saudi Arabia, Sept. 27 – The audience — 500 women covered in black at a Saudi university — seemed an ideal place for Karen P. Hughes, a senior Bush administration official charged with spreading the American message in the Muslim world, to make her pitch.

    But the response on Tuesday was not what she and her aides expected. When Ms. Hughes expressed the hope here that Saudi women would be able to drive and “fully participate in society” much as they do in her country, many challenged her.
    “The general image of the Arab woman is that she isn’t happy,” one audience member said. “Well, we’re all pretty happy.” The room, full of students, faculty members and some professionals, resounded with applause.

    Link to full article.
    link to

    • authoritarian countries are often low-crime. If you spy intensively on everyone, it is harder to commit certain kinds of crime. Embezzlement is still big, apparently.

    • @Shahid Shahid,

      Yes – almost crime-free

      Routinely chopping off limbs and heads, stoning, whipping etc will tend to make it so. Also the randomness of such “justice” adds to the excitement, would you not agree ?

      Saudi Law also does not apply equally to all.

      As for the women, yes, if one is unaware of other paradigms, then one may be considered to be happy.

      Many times on boarding a flight out of KSA, Saudi women have boarded clad in Abaya. Upon disembarking., nary piece of Black Fabric to be seen – And yes, :) I do know the difference between a domestic worker and a Saudi

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