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Saudi King 'fires official over fashion show in Riyadh'

The kingdom has some of the world's tightest restrictions on women [Twitter]

Date of publication: 4 December, 2017

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The Saudi King has fired a senior official after he attended a fashion show, which prompted a backlash online.

The Saudi King has fired a senior official after he attended a fashion show, which prompted a backlash online.

King Salman issued a royal decree on Sunday, removing Ghassan al-Sulaiman, a senior advisor in the Ministry of Commerce, from his post.

The statement carried by state-run media gave no reason for the dismissal, however, Sulaiman attended a controversial fashion show in the capital last week.

The event, which featured models without headscarves for a mixed-gender audience, was organised by a beauty academy in Riyadh.

A video of the models dressed in black robes walking on the catwalk was widely circulated online, prompting condemnation from religious conservatives in the country.

Sulaiman, who heads the General Authority for Small and Medium Enterprises, was interviewed by local media at the event, praising the "beauty" of the show.

Following the backlash, he took to Twitter to condemn the "unIslamic" show and said the Authority was not aware it was going to take place.

The kingdom has some of the world's tightest restrictions on women and on segregation of the sexes in public.

The kingdom's powerful Crown Prince has Mohammed bin Salman, however, has pledged a "moderate" Saudi Arabia, long seen as an exporter of a brand of puritanical Islam espoused by militants worldwide.

Last month, authorities said they would allow women into sports stadiums for the first time from next year.

The announcement is in line with bin Salman's ambitious reforms shaking up the kingdom, including the decision to allow women to drive from next June.

Under the crown prince, the kingdom is also expected to lift a public ban on cinemas and has encouraged some mixed-gender celebrations - something unseen before.

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