A university talent show which included mixed gender performances and western music has caused a scandal in Saudi Arabia.
Although its content might appear unremarkable, many Saudi observers were angered and began piling criticism on the show using the hashtag “University of Corruption, Shame and Vice, Effat”.
#جامعه_الفساد_والخزي_والعار_عفت— s,mutairi . (@yusha_616) 3 April 2016
استغفرالله ، م صار تعليم .
God forgive us... What's become of education?
Some called for the organisers of the event to be punished, or even demanded the university be shut down in response to what they called the deteriorating moral situation there. The scandalous behaviour they objected to included “racy” music, girls appearing without hijab, and the intermixing of men and women.
We seek refuge from the wrath of God. Is this a university or a nightclub? It's reached such a degree of terrible degradation.
#جامعة_الفساد_والخزي_والعار_عفت القادم يخووووووف .. السؤال : من صنع هذا الجيل ؟ من خطط ليصبح هلامي شهواني هواوي بلا هوية وطنية حتى !؟— رجب الحمداء (@9118alhmdar19) 3 April 2016
What's coming is scaaaaary... Who made this generation? Who planned this lustful, carnal generation without even a national identity?
Outrage, however, wasn’t universal and many Saudis took to twitter to defend the students.
Why do people feel the need make problems ya5i live in piece stop the hate let people do whatever #جامعه_الفساد_والخزي_والعار_عفت— Jeddah thing (@JeddahThing) 2 April 2016
What a time to be alive. Wonder when we'll move into the 21st century #جامعه_الفساد_والخزي_والعار_عفت— Fawzia Hersi (@Fawzia_Hersi) 2 April 2016
#جامعه_الفساد_والخزي_والعار_عفت كل يوم اتأكد ان بعض الناس في السعودية عندهم فوبيا من السعادة— ٰ (@HAJREN_rimas) 3 April 2016
Every day I'm reassured that many saudis have a phobia of happiness.
By the following day, the hashtag was dominated by people supporting the university and the students, and asking what the fuss was about. Some argued that the university had more serious issues to worry about.
#جامعة_الفساد_والخزي_والعار_عفت— عمرو بن طلال (@AmrTSa) 3 April 2016
كم مليار تم اختلاسها؟
كل واسطة تم اعتمادها؟
كم مغتصب قاصرة تم الحكم عليه بسجن بضع سنوان؟
How many billions have been embezzled?
All the nepotism?
How many rapists have been given only a few years in prison?
Others praised the university, and the talent show.
#جامعه_الفساد_والخزي_والعار_عفت والله انها احسن جامعه في تنظيم الايفينتز و يعرفو كيف يخرجو بناتهم متدربين و جاهزين لسوق العمل— jawaher (@jawaher_mu) 3 April 2016
Effat is the best university for event planning, and they know how to graduate trained women who are ready to compete in the job market.
For some, the social conservatism of those that criticised the university was the real scandal.
جهل و تخلف للأسف، لا تحكمو على شي ماشفتوه #جامعه_الفساد_والخزي_والعار_عفت— basiljadallah (@basiljadallah1) 3 April 2016
Ignorance and backwardness unfortunately. Don't judge something you haven't seen!
Although the performance was shut down after the Twitter reaction, the University also backed its students. The administration tweeted that it had been forced to cancel the performance because the videos of the show violated of the privacy of performers, and apologised to the attendees and the organisers.
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