IT'S one of the most unremarkable things to do.

In blazing heat, wander around a tourist attraction in sunnies and a short skirt.

But a video of a woman doing just that has rocked one country and gone viral. There are even calls for her arrest.

Why? Well, in deeply religious Saudi Arabia it is not the done thing for a woman to wear a short skirt and bare her arms. In fact, it's strictly forbidden.

The BBC has reported that the woman, a model who identifies herself as 'Khulood' was filmed, seemingly with her consent, walking through the historic fort of Ushayqir.

The video was uploaded to social media site Snapchat but has been widely distributed via Twitter

Khulood wears a skirt that ends just above the knees and a short sleeved shirt. She is mostly filmed from behind but at one point turns to the camera, large sunglasses hiding much of her face.

It's not just the clothing that has raised eyebrows - it's also the choice of location.

Close to the nation's capital of Riyadh, Ushayqir is in a conservative region where one of the founders Wahhabiism - a strict form of Islam practised by the Saudi royal family - was born.

Saudi newspapers, reporting on the video, have even taken to pixelating out the woman's bare arms and legs as they comment on her "indecent clothing".

If found, she could be charged with flouting the country's laws

These regulations, based on sharia law, demand that a woman wear loose full length robes known as abayas plus a headscarf.

It is not necessary for women to cover their faces and accessories are not legislated so it is not uncommon to see a designer handbag being carried by a woman sporting a black robe.

However, women cannot drive and cannot be seen in the company of men they are not related to.

Some have called on the religious police to track Khulood down. One person on social media said a country's laws should be respected.


"In France, the niqab is banned and women are fined if they wear it. In Saudi Arabia, wearing abayas and modest clothing is part of the kingdom's laws."

newspaper in Saudi Arabia reported the woman was wearing "indecent clothes" and was "indifferent to the teaching of religion and imposed by tradition".

But others have commended her bravery.

Wael al-Gassim, a writer and philosopher, said the reaction to the video was ridiculous. "I thought she had bombed or killed somebody. The story turned out to be about her skirt, which they did not like."

In recent years, a number of female leaders visiting Saudi Arabia, including former First Lady Michelle Obama and UK Prime Minister Theresa May, have shunned head scarfs with little apparent concern from their hosts.

This is despite even foreign women being subject to some of the laws covering clothing - including wearing head scarfs when in public.

But for Saudi women the rules are still enforced.

The country's religious police, the Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice, have said they are investigating the video and who was in it.

News Corp Australia

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