RIYADH // A YouTube video of a woman defying orders by religious police to leave a mall because she is wearing nail polish has gone viral, attracting more than one million hits in just five days.
The video, posted on Wednesday, shows members of the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice telling the woman to "get out of here [the mall]".
But she refuses to comply, saying: "I'm staying and I want to know what you're going to do about."
"It's none of your business if I wear nail polish," the unidentified woman, who captures the footage from her point of view, is heard shouting at the feared religious force.
"The government has banned you from coming after us," she told the men, adding "you are only supposed to provide advice, and nothing more."
In January, King Abdullah appointed a moderate to head the religious police raising hopes that a more lenient force will ease draconian social constraints.
Two weeks into his post, Sheikh Abdullatif Abdel Aziz Al Sheikh banned volunteers from serving in the commission which enforces the kingdom's strict Islamic rules.
And in April he went further prohibiting the religious police from "harassing people" and threatening "decisive measures against violators."
Please note the translation errors
At 0.41-0.43 She said: "I'm not getting out"
At 0.43-0.48 He said: "Look at all the honourable women around you, Allah be praised, they are not showing as much as a single hair … and you’re putting on all that nail polish …" She said: "I’m free to put on nail polish …"
At 1.13-1.18 it says "You represent an official authority, don’t you? You’ve received a complaint from a citizen about harassment, so it shouldn’t matter if it was done by government officials or not."
1.55-1.58 She said: "and it will reach Abdullatif Aal Sheikh, and he will know how to deal with your nonsense."
2.09-2.14 She said: "You're not my guardian."