The case of a young Saudi lawyer who was kicked out of a courthouse in Riyadh, simply because she wasn't wearing a face veil, is causing quite the stir on social media.
The story went viral after it was highlighted on Wednesday night's episode of MBC's show Ma'ali Al Mowaten.
During the episode, Abdul Rahman Al Lahem, a lawyer who hired the young Saudi woman as an intern at his firm, revealed details of the shocking case.
"During a session at Riyadh's public court house, we were all sitting in an office, working on filing routine reports, when a judge walked in and saw us. Angered by the fact that my colleague wasn't wearing a face veil, something he believes is haram (unacceptable) in Islam, he called security and police authorities on her. They then arrived and forcefully removed her from the building," Al Lahem said.
When Ali Al Aliani, the show's presenter, asked the lawyer if that was the only reason behind the incident, Al Lahem confirmed that it was and stressed on the fact that the woman was not in a courtroom when the incident took place, but in one of the courthouses' offices.
"It's like this judge is telling people, I won't serve you or work with you, if you go against my own personal beliefs and that's unacceptable, especially given the fact that it happened in a courthouse. This is a place where people come to seek justice," he added.
Al Lahem said the woman has now filed a lawsuit against the judge and he will follow up on the case with her.
Authorities also weighed in on the matter
During the same episode of Ma'ali Al Mowaten authorities responded to the woman's case.
In his statement on the matter, Sheikh Abdul Rahman Al Qassem, assistant deputy minister of Saudi Arabia's authority for Judicial Affairs, said:
"The story isn't as Mr. Al Lahem reported it, there are other layers to it that are currently under investigation. The initial information I have is that the young lawyer didn't have the correct ID documents to enter the building she was in. This, along with a few other things, led security officers to escort her out of the building."
Al Qassem added that the woman has now filed a lawsuit and her report will be taken into consideration.
"The authorities involved in the case will investigate it further," he added.
The case has gone viral on social media
Soon after Ma'ali Al Mowaten's episode aired on MBC, the woman's story went viral on social media, sparking a heated debate among users.
Some were angered that the show highlighted the case and said the judge wouldn't have asked the woman to leave the building had she been wearing "appropriate attire".
Others defended her, saying that no matter what the details of the case are, she shouldn't have been thrown out of the building.
Many are criticizing MBC for running the story
"I am confused by the fact that they choose to bring up such a trivial issue and never focus on covering other more important cases linked to judicial corruption."
Others are outraged over the episode
"Why don't you interview the judge? Why host this liberal man who's probably planned this whole thing out with the female lawyer."
A few are even blaming the woman for not wearing a face veil
"No one would insult her if she goes to work wearing a proper hijab and modest clothing."
Many are also defending her though
"Keep your personal religious beliefs to yourself... don't enforce them on others."
Some are calling on authorities to take action against the judge
"The insult this woman was subjected to is unacceptable and must not be ignored by the concerned authorities."
Not the first time this happens...
"This isn't the first time this happens to a woman. So many of my friends were kicked out of their workplaces because they weren't wearing a face veil."
The face veil is not mandatory in Islam
It's not mandatory for women to wear the face veil, and they are not forced to wear it in the kingdom.
However, there have always been differing opinions among Muslim scholars when it comes to the garment. While most believe it is not obligatory, some think it is.
Speaking to ABC News Australia, Dr. Raihan Ismail, a lecturer in Middle East Politics and Islamic Studies at the Australian National University, clarified a few points about the controversial face veil.
"The Koran does not explicitly say you have to cover yourself in this manner," she explained.
"Some scholars argue that it is a religious obligation, particularly the more conservative factions within the Muslim world. There are many variations and interpretations," she added.
When asked why women would choose to wear any kind of veil, including the niqab (full body covering with a slit for the eyes) or the burqa (full body covering with mesh over the eyes,) Dr. Ismail said: "Some women wear it because they strongly believe it is their religious obligation."
She also conceded that others "may be pressured into covering themselves".