এথিস্ট সংবাদ

SAUDI WOMEN LAUNCH PROTEST AGAINST ABAYA BY WEARING GARMENT INSIDE OUT

Women in Saudi Arabia have launched a protest
against the abaya, a full-length robe worn by
some women in parts of the Muslim world,
by wearing the garment inside out.

A
traditional abaya is black and covers the entire body, leaving the head, feet
and hands visible.

Earlier this year, the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman stated that women in
the country need not feel obliged to wear the abaya, as long as they dress in a
“decent and respectful” manner.

 “The laws
are very clear and stipulated in the laws of sharia [Islamic law]: that women
wear decent, respectful clothing, like men,” Mr Salman said in an interview
with CBS.

“This,
however, does not particularly specify a black abaya or a black head cover. The
decision is entirely left for women to decide what type of decent and
respectful attire she chooses to wear.”

However,
many women in the country have stated that they still feel required to wear the
garment, which is why the “inside-out abaya” movement came about.

“Because #Saudi feminists are endlessly creative,
they come up with [a] new form of protest and given it [the] hashtag
‘inside-out abaya’,” activist Nora Abdulkarim tweeted.

“They are
posting pictures of [them]selves wearing their abayas inside-out in public as a
silent objection to being pressured to wear it.” 

Amani
Al-Ahmadi, a Saudi activist based in Seattle who works with the
Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor, believes this protest could help to
enact significant change for women in the country.

“To see another woman in flipped abayas – it builds
solidarity between women and shows that they are not alone,” she tells
the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

“It is
keeping the conversation going and could lead to change.

“It is
another form of dehumanisation for women. It forces women to cover up their
bodies in order to fit into society and the role of being inferior to men.”

Earlier this year, the longstanding ban on women being allowed to
drive in Saudi Arabia was abolished. 

Despite the
jubilance with which many Saudi women responded to the announcement, some may
still not be able to drive unless they’re granted permission to do so by their
male relatives.