A Saudi woman, Taraf Alasiri, recently posted a photo of herself without the niqab on social media. Her picture started a movement on Twitter: other women got inspired by her post and posted pictures of themselves without the hijab or niqab as well.
— grace (@yangeliii) September 17, 2018
Saudi Arabia has been a topic of discussions for many years now. Most of the times it’s about women and the way they have to dress in the kingdom. The niqab, or face-veil, and the hijab has been part of the woman’s clothing tradition in Saudi Arabia for as long as it existed. The Saudi law says that women, both foreign and local, have to wear a hijab and abaya in specific parts of the kingdom.
However, Taraf Alasiri wants to change these traditions and laws. She removed her niqab, cut her hair and posted a picture of herself with a Snapchat filter on Twitter. According to her, the veil was preventing her from being free.
— ترف العسيري. (@tarif_77) September 14, 2018
“I cut my hair and removed the niqab. I wondered why I’ve been covering my face this whole time. I realized it’s because of silly habits and traditions that don’t allow me to be free.”
Many women showed their support for Taraf Alasiri by posting pictures of themselves without the hijab or niqab. Manal Al Sharif, a famous Saudi women’s activist joined the movement. On Twitter both #SolidarityWithTaraf and تضامن_مع_ترف_العسيري# became trending.
— Manal al-Sharif (@manal_alsharif) September 19, 2018
This is not the first time Saudi women trended a hashtag on social media in order to voice their stance on the face-veil. Last year they started the hashtag “niqab doesn’t represent me”.
— Anon (@dontcarebut) July 20, 2017
Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman, spoke about the niqab in his interview with CBC News earlier this year. According to him, the Sharia law does not require women to wear the hijab and abaya. He explained that it only requires women to wear modesty, just like it does for men.
Unfortunately, but not shockingly, the movement is not entirely being supported. There are many Saudi women and men voicing that they disagree with the actions.