Saudi authorities have arrested a man and woman who were seen dancing on the streets in the city of Abha.
The pair was arrested after their video made rounds on the internet.
In the footage, the man can be seen dancing in a Saudi robe. He is accompanied by a woman whose face is fully covered with a veil as she goes around him in circles.
Meanwhile, surprised bystanders filmed them on their cell phones.
The ultraconservative Islamic kingdom is extremely strict about gender-based segregation. In fact, there is a separate police force to make sure there is no gender-mixing in public.
In addition, Dancing in public, for both genders, is not allowed. In fact, just last August, a 14-year-old boy was detained after he was filmed dancing to the 1990s hit song Macarena at a street crossing in Jeddah.
Therefore, the recent clip of a man and woman dancing in public has, predictably, prompted widespread outrage in the country.
Saudi Arabia's Prince of Assir governorate, Faisal bin Khaled, ordered an immediate investigation into the matter. The head of Assir governorate's media and communications office, Saad Al Thabet, confirmed news of the arrests.
He mentioned the man seen in the video told investigators the woman seen with him was his sister.
An investigation into the case is ongoing and the kingdom has called for the public prosecution of the two people.
According to a spokesman, the couple’s “unethical behavior” goes against the “Islamic etiquette, customs and traditions.”
Many people on social media opposed the senseless decision, pointing out how the kingdom ignores pertinent issues of the society and focuses on a dance that did not harm anyone.
“I don't know why you don't accept people who are just living normal lives. Where's the problem in what they did? It's their personal freedom," said a Twitter user.
"A teacher beating up his student, that's acceptable. A drug addict father abusing his child, beating his head against a car, that's fine, you'll say he's just disciplining him. A husband hitting his wife and dragging her across a street, that's normal, you'll say she deserves it. A woman covered from head to toe, dancing with a man who's standing two meters away from her in a street, that's an unacceptable, scandalous act," said another one.
A few people were in favor of the authority’s decision backed by norms and traditions.
"I don't know why you don't accept people who are just living normal lives. Where's the problem in what they did? It's their personal freedom," said a person in favor of the decision.
Thumbnail/ Banner Credits: Reuters, Fahad Shahdeed