Saudi Woman Allegedly Told To Cover Her Face Despite Wearing Headscarf

Muna Abu Sulayman was wearing a hijab. Yet, a clerk at the justice department refused to deal with her unless she covered her face.



A woman in Saudi Arabia sparked a heated social media debate after she posted about her experience at the justice department in Riyadh where a clerk allegedly refused to deal with her because she wasn't wearing a face veil.

Muna Abu Sulayman, who is a co-host of a popular talk show on MBC, said she was wearing a hijab, yet, the clerk told her not to "show off her face."

Abu Sulayman responded by reminding the staffer about Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's recent statement during a CBS interview, in which he said it wasn't necessary for women to wear abayaas, traditional loose-fitting robes, in order to perform day-to-day tasks. She also told him she wasn't wearing any makeup and her eyes were covered with sunglasses.

“I told him that [Crown] Prince Mohammad [Bin Salman] said that covering the face was not necessary," she posted on her Twitter account. "However, when he replied, ‘But the religious …’, and I told him that I was inside a public institution, so please give me the required document."

"The era of scaring women that they will not be served unless they cover their faces is over,” she further tweeted.

Gulf News reports she deleted her tweets after she received an apology from the department.

“They were very eloquent in their apologies and gracious in their understanding of my reaction," she said during a talk show.

She also said men who get offended by women's uncovered faces should not opt to work in places where they have to interact with public, according to Saudi daily newspaper Okaz.

Saudi Arabia is an ultraconservative Islamic country that imposes a strict dress code for both men and women. In fact, there is an entire police squad to ensue the public complies with the religious dress code in public. While Saudi women are required to wear abayas and cover their hair, wearing a face veil, called "niqab," is not compulsory. Yet, as Abu Sulayman claimed in her case, some women are reportedly criticized for not covering their faces.

Banner/Thumbnail: Reuters

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