Twitter Debates Sexual Harassment During Hajj in Mecca

Published August 14th, 2019 - 12:42 GMT
(Ahmad al-Rubaye/AFP)
(Ahmad al-Rubaye/AFP)


As more than two million Muslims have performed Hajj during the weekend in Islam’s holiest place, Mecca, Saudi Arabia, a photo of Turkish pilgrims surrounding female pilgrims in a bid to protect them has gone viral on the internet for confusing reasons.


The photo that showed a group of Turkish male pilgrims surrounding women while performing one of the Hajj rituals in Mecca. The main aim of sharing it was to hail those men for protecting women, yet, not everyone saw it that way.

Many have considered this photo as offensive as it highlights one of the biggest issues women face during Hajj as they are in danger of being assaulted and sexually harassed in a sacred place such as Mecca, where pilgrims are meant to be performing religious rituals.

Some women have even shared their own experiences of being assaulted during Hajj on the thread.

Meanwhile, others have discredited stories of harassment.

This is not the first time the issue of sexual harassment during Hajj is brought to the spotlight.

Earlier in 2018, dozens of women have spoken up about being groped and sexually harassed by men during Hajj in a wave prompted by the Egyptian-American feminist and journalist Mona Eltahawy, who was the first ever to speak about her experience in the 1980s when she was sexually assaulted twice while performing Hajj with other family members.

Following the steps of Mona, stories of other women started to flow narrating details of their horrifying experiences in Mecca using hashtag #MosqueMeToo. The hashtag has gathered momentum again in 2019 as pilgrims have started performing Hajj in Mecca in August.

Earlier last year and after more women have jumped on the campaign and shared their stories, Saudi Arabia was prompted to pass an anti-harassment law criminalizing sexual harassment and punishing all violators.

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