On one man’s decision to ‘shield his wife’ in Saudi Arabia

The recent incident in which a man covered a frosted glass with his shemagh (traditional Arab headwear) in a restaurant to prevent people from seeing his wife sparked a debate among Saudis and others. It has become a fashionable to discuss Saudi affairs. This may not be a shameful event but it’s also not so typical.

The picture showed the man sitting in a restaurant in front of his wife in an area that was also divided by frosted glass. The glass was blurry and prevented anyone from seeing whatever was behind it.

What could be seen, however, was that the man had taken off his shemagh and spread it on the side where his wife was seated to ensure that nothing is visible from the outside. The point is even otherwise nothing could be seen due to the frosted glass.

It is the society’s duty to safeguard people’s right to exercise choices as long as they haven’t violated laws or someone’s dignity

Turki Al-Dakhil

Truth be told, it is the right of the husband and his wife to do whatever they deem fit as long as they don’t violate a law, harm someone or trespass someone’s freedoms or rights. Although many people considered the man’s behavior blatantly wrong. I think it is his right to do what he thinks as appropriate.

Tweet trend

However, discussing this after it started trending on Twitter shows how involved we are in trivial affairs and how distracted we are from significant matters.

It is the society’s duty to safeguard people’s right to exercise choices as long as they haven’t violated laws or someone’s dignity. The man reserves the right to cover his wife with his shemagh.

If western Christian societies accept that Muslim women wear the niqab, or the headscarf, then why are we surprised that a man covered his wife with his shemagh especially that she has not complained about this to anyone who discussed the matter on Twitter?!

This article was first published by Okaz on Mar. 28, 2016.
Turki Al-Dakhil is the General Manager of Al Arabiya News Channel. He began his career as a print journalist, covering politics and culture for the Saudi newspapers Okaz, Al-Riyadh and Al-Watan. He then moved to pan-Arab daily Al-Hayat and pan-Arab news magazine Al-Majalla. Turki later became a radio correspondent for the French-owned pan-Arab Radio Monte Carlo and MBC FM. He proceeded to Elaph, an online news magazine and Alarabiya.net, the news channel’s online platform. Over a ten-year period, Dakhil’s weekly Al Arabiya talk show “Edaat” (Spotlights) provided an opportunity for proponents of Arab and Islamic social reform to make their case to a mass audience. Turki also owns Al Mesbar Studies and Research Centre and Madarek Publishing House in Dubai. He has received several awards and honors, including the America Abroad Media annual award for his role in supporting civil society, human rights and advancing women’s roles in Gulf societies. He tweets @TurkiAldakhil.

Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:50 - GMT 06:50
Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Al Arabiya English's point-of-view.