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‘I’m lost in his eyes:’ Saudi woman who flattered a football player stirs debate

Published: Updated:

A Saudi woman’s booth at a heritage festival was removed after a video of her flattering a foreign football player appeared online.

The woman, who reportedly goes by the name Oum Nayef (meaning 'mother of Nayef'), sold traditional food at the Majma’ah festival and was barred from further participation following complaints from irate social media users about her behavior as being immodest.

Oum Nayef can be heard in the video saying: ‘‘I am so lost in his eyes… come Mr. Beautiful Eyes. Come eat before anyone else does.’’

Twitter user @grbaloveddd questioned why the Saudi community should support Oum Nayef when she is acting "vulgar and ill-mannered." He added that respectful woman should not flirt in public.

@5_mm1413rh assumed that Oum Nayef hails from an area "full of widows," which explains why she is "desperate and lusting over the opposite sex." He also asked that she "fixes her act up without being morally crude."

Meanwhile, an online campaign, #SupportOumNayef, was launched on social media to counter attempts to tarnish the woman’s reputation. The decision to dismiss Oum Nayef has since triggered online debate over issues like gender inequality.

@Al_Hanan_ tweeted: ‘‘If it were Abu Nayef (father of Nayef) instead, it would be a different case. Unfortunately, our society does not accept that a woman laughs, jokes, speaks, and works like a man does."

@ABDUOSH7R’S showed his support using humor: "In my opinion, what the beautiful Oum Nayef said that night (I want him, I am lost in his eyes), is among the greatest the greatest lines of all romantic poetry.”

Oum Nayef’s supporters believe that she did not deserve the punishment she received and that an alternative to cutting her source of income could have been found. They stressed that the lady did not make any vulgar remarks and that her ‘‘cat-calling’’ was light-hearted, especially that the soccer player she spoke about does not understand the language. The player was visiting the historical site with his team.

The director of public relations and media in the municipality of Al Majma’ah, Moussaed Ghadir stated that Oum Nayef is an ‘‘honorable old lady who has all the consideration and respect from everyone. However, it was unnecessary for her to post the video on Snapchat. It didn’t do her any good.’’

He added that he had spoken to Oum Nayef a day after she had posted the video because authorities were concerned about her safety, and stressed the removal of her booth was important for preventing the online dispute from spilling over into the festival.

“We don’t want her to be a real-life target for insults that this controversy has stirred online," he said.

He also said that when asked her permission to be absent, Oum Nayef responded that she was not going to attend the last day anyway.

Watch video here:

A similar case involving a Saudi teenager named Abu Sin took place in 2016 when he was arrested for his objectionable online behavior with the then 21-year-old American personality, Christina Crockett.