TEL AVIV – Two Saudi men who protested against a woman poet’s recital were forcibly removed from the literary event by security officers.
A video clip of the incident shows a man standing up in protest of the Saudi poet, Ashjan Al Hindi, as she recited a poem at the Jeddah International Book Fair. Watch the video below:
The man told security guards that it is unacceptable for a woman to address men in a public forum. One security guard responded that he was welcome to file a complaint after the meeting and then proceeded to usher the protestor out of the hall.
A second man stood up as Hindi began to recite the poem and started shouting his opposition to the recital. As an officer approached him, he turned to the audience and asked them, “Are you satisfied with what is happening?”
The answer from the audience was affirmative, so the second man too was asked to leave the event.
The video has been making the rounds on social media with comments praising the decision to remove the two men. Hindi is a Saudi poet born in Jeddah who received her doctorate in Arabic Literature from SOAS University in London. She returned to Jeddah where she works as an assistant professor in the Arabic Department of King Abdulaziz University.
The incident comes on the heels of Saudi Arabia’s historic election in which women were allowed to run for office as well as cast votes for the first time ever.
Nearly 81 percent of 130,000 female registered voters came out to cast ballots and at least 20 women candidates won seats in regions throughout the country.