We recently discussed the latest outrage a protest by Malak Al Shehri, who decided to do what most women around the world do without a second’s thought: she went out into public without covering herself up with a veil or hijab. Malak then posted herself on a public street. The result was outrage with some calling for her to be beheaded or “thrown to the dogs.” Now she has been arrested under the medieval Islamic Sharia system — religious orthodoxy masquerading as a legal system and imposed by “judges” who are little more than clerics coercing citizens to adhere to their religious views.
A student from Dammam using the name of Sara Ahmed shared the shot showing Malak wearing a black coat over a calf-length dress. Sara captained the picture in a way that captured the absurdity of the situation for modern women: “A Saudi woman went out yesterday without an Abaya or a hijab in Riyadh Saudi Arabia and many Saudis are now demanding her execution.”
The calls for Malak’s arrest were heeded by the Saudi officials who acted on complaints brought by the religious police.
Various people posted demands that she face the ultimate punishment for daring to assure her right to shed the medieval cover imposed on women. A police spokesman said that Malek was also accused her of “speaking openly about prohibited relations with (non-related) men”. She will be tried for “violations of general morals” under Sharia law.
The arrest is the latest outrage of the Sharia system that forces people to adhere to a religious code under the threat of punishments that can include death. As discussed earlier, these young women (and those fighting for the right to drive and leave their homes without male approval) are the Saudi “Seneca Falls” generation of courageous human rights advocates. We will continue to follow and highlight their struggle. They are a reminder that the rights that we take for granted remain only aspirations for many around the world.