Saudi woman minister removes face veil
Saudis rush to defend Al Awad after some users attacked her on social media
Intellectuals and writers in Saudi Arabia have come forward to defend the kingdom’s Deputy Minister for Girls’ Education Haya Al Awad after she appeared in public without her niqab.
No details were provided about Al Awad’s decision to lift the niqab that kept only a gaping slit for her eyes.
While a few users on social media attacked her for “not keeping up with religious and social traditions” many others, including religious figures, praised and defended her insisting she did not do anything wrong.
“Dr Haya Al Awad is living according to her convictions within the framework of significant jurisprudence pluralism,” Sulaiman Al Tareefi, a religious preacher, said.
“Our jurisprudents have decided that the matters of ijtihad, the independent reasoning as opposed to imitation, cannot be dismissed.”
Saud Al Musaibeeh, a media and education adviser, said that he “hailed Al Awad for adopting the stance of religious scholars who allowed women not to cover their faces. She is following what she believes is right regardless of what she has to endure from those who oppose her view.”
Dr Haya Al Awad without niqab (left), and wearing it (right).