FRI 14 - 8 - 2020
Date: Nov 14, 2019
Source: The Daily Star
Saudi backpedals on video labeling feminism 'extremism'
Agence France Presse
RIYADH: Saudi authorities have distanced themselves from an official video that sparked controversy after it branded feminism, homosexuality and atheism as extremist ideas.

Saudi Arabia's state security agency posted the animated video on Twitter last weekend at a time when de facto ruler Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is seeking to open up the austere kingdom to foreign tourists and overhaul its ultra-conservative image.

The tweet has since been taken down.

The security agency said the video contained "many mistakes" and suggested that those behind it would face a formal investigation, according to a statement posted late Tuesday by the official Saudi Press Agency.

It also rejected a report in Al-Watan, a local daily, that said feminists will be jailed and subject to flogging.

In a separate statement, the kingdom's Human Rights Commission stressed that "feminism is not criminalized" and that it accords "the utmost importance to women's rights".

The two statements made no mention of homosexuality or atheism, which are both illegal and punishable by death in the Muslim kingdom.

The video had sparked criticism from campaigners, with Amnesty International saying it was "extremely dangerous" and had "serious implications for the rights to freedom of expression and life, liberty and security in the country".

Saudi Arabia has long faced international criticism over its treatment of women.

Prince Mohammed has sought to ease restrictions on women with multiple reforms including a historic decree that ended a decades-old ban on female motorists.

In August, Saudi Arabia also allowed women to obtain passports without seeking the approval of their "guardians" – fathers, husbands or other male relatives.

The move, part of Prince Mohammed's plan to revamp the national image, ended a longstanding rule that prompted some extreme attempts by women to flee the kingdom.

But observers say loopholes still allow male relatives to curtail their movements and, in the worst cases, leave them marooned in prison-like shelters.

Alongside a string of pro-women reforms, Saudi authorities have also cracked down on female activists.

Nearly a dozen women campaigners, arrested just before the ban on women driving ended last year, are currently facing trial that has drawn criticism from Western governments.

Readers Comments (0)
Add your comment

Enter the security code below*

 Can't read this? Try Another.
Related News
Federal suit filed against Saudi crown prince by ex-official
UN investigator calls on Saudi Arabia to free female activists
Turkey to try Khashoggi murder suspects in absentia: fiancee
Saudi Arabia pressures former intelligence official’s family, seeks access to documents
Six killed in Saudi Arabia in shooting incident
Related Articles
For U.S.-Saudi ties to thaw, MBS needs to answer on Khashoggi
Fighting 'Radical Islamic Terrorism' Begins with Saudi Arabia
MBS and May: Partnerships, policy and progress
Crown prince performs shock therapy on Saudi Arabia
A door opens in the kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Copyright 2020 . All rights reserved