Nix on the niqab round - Morality cops bust Saudi beauty pageant

Published November 16th, 2014 - 08:38 GMT

Investigative authorities in Mecca summoned several women for their alleged involvement in organizing a beauty pageant in the holy city.

The women were questioned after leaflets calling on young women to participate in the pageant were found and reported by several angry citizens, Al-Watan daily reported.

Informed sources told Al-Watan that the Mecca governorate received a report from the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice (the Haia) confirming complaints by several citizens opposed to the pageant that was to start on Sunday.

The female organizers invited girls and women to participate in the pageant, which was supposed to take place over four consecutive nights before it was canceled by the Haia.

Sources said a Haia team interrogated an official at a wedding hall to confirm the hall had been booked for the pageant.

The official admitted that several businesswomen had booked the hall and paid associated fees upfront. Once they had confirmation, the Haia forced the wedding hall to cancel the event and started an investigation.

Al-Watan spoke to an official at the wedding hall who confirmed the booking but denied any wrongdoing.

“We were informed by the Haia that the function was canceled. The women who reserved the wedding hall did not disclose the activity and simply stated it was a ‘social activity. Management had no knowledge that a beauty pageant was going to be held at the hall,” he said while denying rumors that staffers at the wedding hall had been detained or summoned.

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