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Saudi Arabia: Women in Saudi are free to choose to wear Abaya, headscarves

Riyadh: Saudi Arabia is increasingly expanding women’s rights in all aspects with allowing them to attend mixed public sporting events, the right to drive cars starting this summer and now the Saudi women need not to compulsorily wear head scarfs or the regular abaya as long as their attire is “decent and respectful,” said the kingdom’s crown prince.

These changes in the Muslim Kingdom indicate new progressive change moving towards modernization.
Speaking at an interview, the Crown Prince said, “The laws are very clear and stipulated in the laws of sharia (Islamic law): that women wear decent, respectful clothing, like men.”

“This, however, does not particularly specify a black abaya or a black head cover. The decision is entirely left for women to decide what type of decent and respectful attire she chooses to wear.”

A senior cleric had also told last month that women should dress modestly, but this did not mean it is necessary to wear an abaya.

With the rise of reform-minded 32-year-old Crown Prince coming to Kingdom’s throne against its previous elderly successors is indicating the Muslim country is about to bring in a change in its centuries-old tradition of women of strict dress code while at the same time women in other countries are choosing to don this dress code to stay away from perilous eyes.

This centuries-old practice of women covering themselves in abayas, wearing headscarves, covering their faces in Saudi Arabia has been enforced by the judiciary to keep the tradition alive in these modern times which now remains unclear if this is a new enforcement in women’s dressing code in the Saudi Kingdom.

For the past few years, Saudi women are donning colourful abayas against the only black coloured. Few women are also wearing open abayas over skirts or even jeans.

Recently a group of women in Jeddah marked International Women’s Day on March 8 by going for a jog, enjoying their newly acquired freedom.

Meanwhile many activists are against Kingdom’s guardianship system which requires permission from a male family member before a woman can go for travelling, study abroad or do any other activities, UN Rights advisor last week called on Saudi Arabia to end injustice towards women, Daily Sabah reported.

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