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Is sex halal? Saudi Twitter debates sexual revolution after 'pickup' video goes viral Open in fullscreen

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Is sex halal? Saudi Twitter debates sexual revolution after 'pickup' video goes viral

Saudi women face many restrictions under the the guardianship system [Twitter]

Date of publication: 20 October, 2017

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Saudis have flocked to social media to debate a call for a "sexual revolution" in the ultra-conservative kingdom, where adulterers can be sentenced to death.

Saudis have flocked to social media to debate a call for a "sexual revolution" in the ultra-conservative kingdom, where adulterers can be sentenced to death.

On Thursday, Twitter users launched an Arabic-language hashtag, declaring that people had the right to engage in sexual intercourse that is deemed unlawful according to Islamic law.

The campaign comes as a short video of women being picked by a group of men riding a 4X4 vehicle has gone viral, prompting local authorities to arrest the owner of the car, local news websites reported.

One popular cleric, commenting on the clip, has suggested that women are the "cause of harassment and adultery", sparking an online backlash.

Amid the controversy, some Twitter users have come to the defence of the arrested man, arguing that having sex is a "personal freedom" that should not be punished.

Adulterers and homosexuals can be sentenced to death in Saudi Arabia, while people proven to have had premarital sex can be flogged under the country's strict interpretation of Islamic law.

"So it's forbidden for two adults having consensual relations and its permissible for a man to marry off his underage daughter and let a man the same age as him sleep with her against her will the rest of her life," said one commenter.

Other users have expressed shock at the idea of Saudis having sex freely.

"The people backing this campaign have been poisoned by Western influence. Not even in the time before Islam did people behave like this," argued one Twitter user.

Saudi women have recently hailed the news they will be able to drive their own cars from next June, but they still face many restrictions.

Chief among those is the guardianship system, which requires a woman to get permission from a male family member for some of the most important and even mundane decisions of her life.

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