09/27/2014, 00.00
SAUDI ARABIA
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Video of a female rider reignites debate on the status of Saudi women

There are those who highlight her ability and patriotism (she is riding holding her country’s flag) and those who see her gesture as an insult to religion and tradition. There are even those who maintain that there is nothing wrong if a woman learns to ride a horse, but should do so in private and not in public.

Riyadh (AsiaNews / Agencies) -Debate on the status of women in Saudi society has been reignited by a video of a woman riding a horse. The clip, lasting 15 seconds (see here), was clicked 32 thousand times the day it was posted, but it has sparked debate dividing opinion between those who highlight her ability and patriotism (she is riding holding her country's flag) and those who see her gesture as an insult to religion and tradition.

Among the former, the blogger The Pen of the Truth states: "I testify that she is an accomplished rider and a patriot who did not hesitate to display her love and allegiance for the country. The nation should be proud of such people, and never of those who openly show they have no allegiance to the country by supporting the Muslims Brotherhood of Daesh militants".  " I wish I had been there to cheer her on" writes Abu Sihah, another blogger, "we should seriously think about opening equestrian clubs for women". And according to another, women should have a greater number of opportunities to go horseback riding.

On the opposite side, a blogger who calls himself Discovery, said, " This woman did something very dangerous since it challenged the religion and conservatives traditions." "It's true - he added - that women in the past rode horses, but it was for duty purposes, not to show off." Another, Abu Fahd, states that only liberals and leftists can approve that woman. "They want our women to drop their veils and mix freely in public places with men. But they will fail, like they are failing in allowing women to drive cars. These people are trying to fulfil the wishes of the West".

Finally, there are those who propose a kind of mediation. Hmood Al Otaibi argues that there is nothing wrong if a woman learns to ride a horse, but  should do so in private and not the public " She should do it on a private farm with her family, not among strangers who might take her pictures or post video clips of her on social networks," he said.

 

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