A mixed-gender Ramadan event attended by social media celebrities in Saudi Arabia is causing quite the stir on Twitter.
The suhoor gathering, which took place over the weekend, was hosted by Saudi media company Sahwa and brought together popular Snapchat stars who shared short video segments on social media.
The footage angered many in the ultra-conservative kingdom. Some even criticized the event organizers, saying mixed-gender functions go against the country's values and traditions.
Videos of the event prompted Saudi tweeps to launch a now-viral hashtag against it, titled "a mixed-gender party in Ramadan."
A few people criticized the hashtag for labeling the event as a "party" when in reality it is just a suhoor get-together.
Many online users argued that such events regularly take place during and outside of Ramadan in the kingdom. But, it seems their statements fell on deaf ears.
Some tweeted out their disdain and were particularly upset over the fact that the mixed-gender gathering was held during Ramadan. Others stated that regardless of the timing, such events are unacceptable in the kingdom.
"They started to make light of the holy month"
"Mixed-gender event, women not wearing the veil, silly behavior, music and skits. Their excuse to host this mixed-gender party is bringing successful people together - the Sahwa team did all this."
"Did a law permitting mixed-gender parties come out in the kingdom?"
A few reported the event to the kingdom's public prosecution
"Have you not seen the mixed-gender party in Ramadan?"
"There's no party involved, just a few young people who had a meal together."
Some couldn't fathom the backlash
"Until now I can't see where's the problem in this..."
"What's wrong with this event? If it took place a few years back, we would've said that it's unacceptable because the kingdom wasn't as open as it is now. But at this point, why are we shocked to see such a gathering?"
Mixed-gender events tend to spark controversy in Saudi Arabia
This certainly isn't the first time a mixed-gender event divides people in the kingdom - which still imposes gender segregation in several of its public spaces including schools and universities.
Backlash against such gatherings often prompts authorities to take action against individuals or companies who host them. In 2017, authorities in Saudi Arabia's Jazan Governorate ordered the immediate closure of a resort that hosted a licensed concert attended by both men and women.
In 2018, a cafe in Jeddah was shut down because it hosted a "loud mixed-gender party."