Manama: A group of Saudi medics said that they would sue a blogger for posting a derogatory tweet.
The blogger has reportedly tweeted that anyone who allowed his daughter, wife or sister to work in a hospital was “a cuckold.”
“Several people, men and women from the profession, but also supporters and activists are joining us in filing complaints against the offender,” Dr Sabah Abu Zanada, a medical consultant, told Saudi news site “Sabq”.
“So far, more than one hundred people, including some high-profile figures, said that they would complain to the Governor of Makkah, the information minister, the health ministry and the investigation commission,” she said.
Dr Sabah said that both men and women should stand together against social network and microblog users who target honest working women.
“We want a genuine coalition between rights and media people to support our case against whoever posts remarks targeting Saudi women who have demonstrated their competence at all levels,” she said.
Saudi women are facing an uphill struggle in their conservative society as they seek to break out of traditional moulds and look for work in public places other than all girls schools.
Earlier this month, a drama unfolded in the Saudi blogosphere after a blogger posted a tweet addressed to the labour minister.
“You should stop corrupting the society. We will be your enemies on Resurrection Day. Our women are now waitresses at Hardee’s in Jeddah,” the blogger posted.
However, a woman blogger blasted him for the remark.
“Being a waitress and doing an honest job is better than begging or prostitution,” she wrote.
However, the blogger insisted on his view.
“A waitress at the beginning of the work shift, and a prostitute at the end. The frequent mixing of women with men leads them to sitting together easily and to dating.”
The tweet sparked outrage on the Saudi internet as web users called for punitive action against the blogger and supported the call by the legal consultant to take legal action for “insulting the Saudi women.”
“Insulting honest women is to be punished, the Sharia texts say,” Jood Al Sineen, a blogger, remarked. “People are working honestly to make some money, but others are attacking them. I really wish the law be applied.”
Another online comment by a blogger under the moniker of Rare Pearl said that honest women did not need any custody or honour testimonies.
“An honest woman will always remain honest wherever she goes. Nobody should accuse women of anything unless they witnessed it. That is the rule,” she said.
For Ahmad The Human Being, a Saudi blogger, the real issue is about intentions. “These women have applied for an honest work to earn a living so they should not be bothered by criticism. Those who do not like it should be honest with themselves and apply their convictions by not allowing their wives, sisters or daughters to speak with foreign men when they place their orders in restaurants,” he posted.
A Saudi legal consultant said that women working in a fast-food restaurant should sue the blogger for calling them “prostitutes.”
“Those who felt insulted by the tweet targeting their honour and dignity should go to the court and demand the application of the law dealing with IT crimes in Saudi Arabia,” Ahmad Al Muhaimid said. “The law is also intended to protect public interests, ethics and morals, as well as the national economy. The law thus criminalises assaulting or defaming people or targeting their private lives,” he said.