Saudi social media users defend woman who faced death threats after being pictured not wearing a hijab or abaya

'I'm amazed by the courage and the resilience of Saudi women'

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The Independent Online

Social media users in Saudi Arabia rushed to the defence of a woman who faced death threats for being pictured in public wihout an abaya or hijab.

Some Twitter users reacted with outrage after the emergence of the image allegedly taken in capital city Riyadh, with one person demanding: “Kill her and throw her corpse to the dogs”.

The photo was reportedly first posted by an account under the name of Malak Al Shehri, which has since been deleted, reports the International Business Times.

An unnamed student who reposted the image told the website that Ms Al Shehri had announced she was going out to breakfast without either a hijab or abaya; a traditional Saudi body covering. 

The student said she started receiving death threats after posting proof in response to followers who had asked to see a photo.

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"So many people retweeted it and what she did reached extremists, so she got threats,” the student said. “She deleted her tweets but they didn't stop, so she deleted her account."

One user wrote “we propose blood", while another demanded a "harsh punishment for the heinous situation".

Despite the outrage, far more users in the country came out in support of the woman’s actions.

The controversy comes amid an escalating row over ending a ban on women driving in the Kingdom.

Saudi Arabia is the only country on the planet that still bans female drivers, but a member of the royal family has proposed changing the decades-old rule.

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