Four women seen playing a board game in the premises of Mecca’s holy mosque sparked online controversy across Saudi Arabia on Monday.
According to Al Arabiya, this came after an image of them went viral on social media.
Just hours after the photo started circulating online, Saudi authorities issued an urgent statement on the matter. In it, a spokesman for the holy mosque’s governing authority said:
“At 11 pm last Friday, a few of the holy mosque’s security officers spotted four women playing a board game called ‘Sequence,’ inside the premises. We then dispatched female officers to the scene and they advised the women not to do such things out of respect to the sanctity of the place. They cooperated with authorities and immediately left the area.”
Even after authorities issued their statement on the matter, hundreds continued to share and comment on the photo online.
The now-viral image caused quite the stir on Saudi Twitter
— هاشتاق العرب (@TheArabHash) February 19, 2018
The image has amassed thousands of reactions, with many deeming the women’s actions “inappropriate,” given the sanctity of the place.
However, not everyone agreed. Here’s a little of what people had to say:
A few expressed their shock over the incident
معقووولة ما أصدق يمكن فوتوشوب
— Nane (@Nane5__) February 18, 2018
“Is this even possible… I can’t believe it, maybe it’s photoshopped.”
Others were outraged by it
بصراحه هذه اهانه للدين
في ناس تعيش بآخر الدنياتجمع فلوس سنين علشان تزور الحرم تعتمروتحج
هذا بيت الله ،الا تخجلون!!!
— Dr.Reem (@respect10985) February 19, 2018
“They must be held accountable for this, it’s an insult to religion. There are people who live their entire lives saving up to come visit the holy mosque, this is a place of worship, don’t you have any shame?!!!”
Many didn’t understand what the whole fuss was about though
احسه عادي واذا
— Manar..👸💖 (@rnkatokash) February 19, 2018
“I think it’s absolutely OK what they did.”
“I don’t think such games are prohibited in the area”
انا عن نفسي مااعرف وش المقصود بهذي اللعب بس مااعتقد انه ممنوع الواحد يلعب مثله مثل استخدام الجوال للمكالمات او التصوير او اللعب فيه
بعد مايخلص من الصلاة تكون فترة ترفيه
— برنسيسه👸🏻 (@prnsesa_12) February 19, 2018
“Even though I didn’t get their point, I don’t think such games are prohibited in the area. People are allowed to play games on their mobile phones and take photos in the holy mosque.”
“We always used to play in the holy mosque’s outdoor areas, you also did too”
ياما لعبنا في ساحة الحرم وياما لعبتو فيها 🙄
— zlatan Hetrie (@ZlatanHetSC) February 19, 2018
“Let them play, it’s better than talking behind people’s backs”
يلعبون احسن من الغيبه والنميمة
— سحر القحطاني (@saDhalq) February 19, 2018
“You made a big deal out of this for nothing”
مكبرين موضوع على فاضي. اللي صور بنات ونشر هذا شخص فاضي
— رجاوووي 🇸🇦 (@aarreejj5522) February 19, 2018
“The person who published this photo has nothing better to do with their time.”
“They did absolutely nothing wrong”
ما سووا شي غاط
— anoosksa (@anoosksa) February 19, 2018