- Saudi women are not allowed to carry out most activities without accompaniment from their male guardians, which could be a husband, father, brother or son
- Colleagues should be able to joke or eat or do anything else among the general relations of humans
An Egyptian man in Saudi Arabia has been arrested after a video of him having breakfast with a woman has gone viral on Twitter.
The man was detained at a hotel after he filmed himself having breakfast with a female colleague, the country’s labour minister has said.
In the video, a man can be seen eating breakfast beside a woman wearing a full face veil, or burqua, who many have assumed to be of Saudi nationality, and at one point feeds him some food.
The scene contravenes Saudi law, which states that women and single men must sit in separate areas in public spaces such as restaurants and hotels.
Despite a slew of modernising laws introduced by Prince Mohammed bin Salman, which include a law that allows women to drive which was passed earlier this year, the country remains deeply conservative.
Women are not allowed to carry out most activities without accompaniment from their male guardians, which could be a husband, father, brother or son.
The Saudi Ministry of Labour and Social Development, which arrested him, accused him of:
Committing several violations and taking up a post exclusively reserved for Saudis.
The clip quickly went viral accompanied by the hashtag ‘an Egyptian having breakfast with a Saudi’.
Many Saudis on social media were highly critical of the pair, and were particularly outraged at the moment where the woman feeds the man breakfast.
The BBC reports that many Saudis wondered why the man was the focus of the criticism. One Twitter user, named Malak reportedly said:
I need to understand why men are constantly punished and not women.
I am a Saudi [woman] and I swear I want them to punish her with him. Laughter, eating at the workplace… where are your limits?
Others however thought that the fuss over the clip was overblown, and didn’t understand why women and men can’t eat together. According to the BBC, another female Twitter user called Tarek Abu Alazi said that colleagues should be able to eat, drink and laugh together, whatever their gender: