The presence of Saudi women at the Saudi Super Cup match between Al-Hilal and Al-Nasr in London on Wednesday has a sparked a debate among Saudis on social networking sites.
As usual, liberals and conservatives had different points of view on the issue. While some have argued that the participation of Saudi women at the match is a reflection of their personal freedom, others disapproved of their presence, claiming they “appeared gaudy with too much makeup.”
Women’s rights activist Kholoud Saleh Al-Fahed wrote on Twitter that these opinions no longer have relevance or impact on the Saudi women.
“The world has turned away from discussing the finer points of the match and are now busy analyzing the Saudi woman, her rights and her face cover,” said Samar Khan, a researcher and doctor in London.
Walid Al-Howairini said: “Women who expose themselves and remove their cover are disobeying God, as wearing the hijab is a form of worship.”
“The incident has challenged the perception that young men act like animals and girls are always the victims,” said Ahmed on a social networking website.
According to Abdullah Al-Shaibani, if women attended the match wearing makeup, this does not grant anyone the right to speak of their behavior and intention. “Speaking poorly of others is worse than wearing makeup,” he said.
“The true embarrassment,” adds Ali Al-Mansour, “is that Saudis attended the match with no harassment or problems in the UK, where anti-harassment laws exist, but covered women in our country are constantly harassed.”
“Unfortunately, the match has led to the publication of photos of Saudi women without their knowledge or approval,” wrote Abdulsalam Al-Yemeni.
Some, like Abdullah Al-Dawood, have gone as far as questioning whether the event was purely a coincidence or pre-planned.
For the game’s enthusiasts, Al-Hilal emerged victorious, winning the match 1-0.